Accessing Excel through a PDF File

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 10, 2014)

Moira has a Word document that contains embedded Excel worksheets. When the Word file is saved in PDF format, the user is no longer able to access the Excel worksheets; Excel will not open. Moira wonders if this is normal and if there is a way the user can still access the Excel worksheets.

Yes, this behavior is normal, but it can be modified depending on how you create the PDF file. PDF files are meant to be—for the most part—static, not dynamic. You can, however, create PDF files that do incorporate some types of dynamic behavior, such as the ability to fill in forms and, within bounds, embed information that can be changed.

In order to take advantage of these advanced features, you must have a copy of Adobe's top-of-the-line version of Acrobat. The built-in printer drivers (such as those that create PDF files by "printing" from Word) won't allow you to utilize the advanced features.

One possible way around the problem (at least partially) is to include in the Word document a hyperlink to where the Excel workbook is located on the Web. PDF files rather routinely include hyperlinks, and the hyperlink to your Excel file would be no exception. The reader of your PDF file could then access the workbook through the hyperlink, but any changes made to the workbook would not be reflected in the PDF file.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6468) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Picking a Number Format For an Axis

Microsoft Graph is a handy way to add charts to your document if you don't have access to Excel. Here's how to adjust the ...

Discover More

Upside-Down Text with PostScript

Got a printer that understands PostScript? You can use some simple PostScript coding to turn text completely upside down on ...

Discover More

Inserting Rows

As you are developing a spreadsheet, you'll often have the need to insert additional rows into your data. Sheets makes this ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Converting PDF to Word Documents

One way that documents are commonly shared with others is in the form of a PDF file. Getting information from a PDF file back ...

Discover More

Processing Information Pasted from a PDF File

When pasting information copied from a PDF file, you can end up with a paragraph for each line of the original document. It ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 + 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.