How to Attach File in Excel (4 Easy Methods)

In this Excel tutorial, you will learn to
– Attach a file in Excel as an object
– Attach new and existing updated files in worksheets
– Use the context menu to attach files
– Insert image files in Excel

We have used Microsoft 365 to prepare this article. But you can apply the methods in versions from Excel 2007 onwards.

To attach a file to an Excel workbook, you can use features like object embedding, or hyperlinks. In the following image, you can see some attached files in an Excel worksheet.

Attach file in Excel

When Do We Attach File in Excel?
How to Attach a File
 Attach Existing File as Embedded Object
 Create a New File for Attachment
 Use Context Menu to Link a File from Computer Storage
 Update Attached Files Automatically
Insert Image Files
Things to Remember
Frequently Asked Questions
Attach File in Excel: Knowledge Hub

What Is Attachment in Excel?

Sometimes you need to insert a Doc, PDF, ZIP File, Text File, or Even Another Excel File as an attachment. Attaching files in Excel allows you to include extra documents or information. This simplifies the process of explaining the data in your worksheet and makes it more accessible for others to work with.

When Do We Attach File in Excel?

There are some cases when you actually should attach files in Excel.

  • When you are making a budget plan, then you need a lot of resources. If you want to create an expense report, you need information, charts, reports, and money receipts. So, you can create a single PDF file including them. You can even store the images or tables in PDF format. Then you can attach this PDF file in a single workbook.
  • Again, say, you want to present a research work. In this case, if you have all the source files together then you can give your best in the presentation. Excel has these amazing features, that you can add different types of files and can open them with one click!
  • Sometimes you may need to use references for some calculations, or data analysis. In that case, you can attach the reference files.

How to Attach a File in Excel? (4 Easy Methods)

You can attach an existing file or create a new file for attaching it as an embedded object in Excel. If you want to update the attached file automatically when you modify the source file, you have to link the embedded file to the source file. You can also hyperlink an existing file from your computer storage into any cell or shape.

1. Attach Existing File as Embedded Object

In this method, Excel embeds the file into the icons. That means the attached file has no connection with the source file. So, you can easily share it with everyone. You can see the detailed steps below with images.

  • Select cell C5 where we will keep the file.
  • Now, select Insert tab >> Text group >> Object.

Inserting Object

  • In the Object dialog box, go to Create from File >> click on Browse >> then choose your file from Browse dialog box >> check Display as icon >> press OK.

Browse the file for attachment in Excel

Note: If you check the ‘Link to file‘ option, then the attached file will be updated automatically if you change any information in the source file. If you don’t want any updates, then you need to uncheck this option.
  • After that, adjust the size of the icon by dragging the cursor.

Attached the file

Note: You can also right-click on the inserted object >> from Context Menu >> go to Format Object >> Properties >> check Move and size with cells.
  • Repeat the procedure to attach multiple files in Excel.

multiple attached files in Excel

2. Create a New File and Attach It to Excel

You can create a new file, edit and attach it to Excel. To attach new files, you need to insert them as objects from the Create New option. The steps are given below:

  • First, select C5 cell. Choose your preferred empty cell where you want to preserve the file.
  • Second, select Insert tab >> Text >> Object.
  • From the Object dialog box >> go to Create New >> Object type >> select the file type >> check Display as icon >> press OK.

Creating new file

  • As I have chosen the Microsoft PowerPoint Slide, a new PowerPoint window appeared.
  • Prepare your new file as you need.
  • Then, close the window and you will get this file in the C5 cell.

Editing New Slide

  • Below, I have attached different types of files in the same way.

Attach New files

Note: In the Create New option, if you choose the Object type like PDF format, then you need to select an existing file from your PC. You can’t edit this type of file at the time of attachment. While adding an existing file in Excel, I suggest you use method 1.

3. Use Context Menu to Link a File from Computer Storage

Whenever you open the Context Menu, there is an option called Link/Hyperlink. We can use that option for linking files.

  • Go to a blank cell >> Right-click on it >> from the Context Menu >> choose Link.
Using Context Menu Bar for Linking a File

Click the image to see a detailed view

  • After that, from the Insert Hyperlink dialog box >> Go to your target folder >> select the file >> press OK.
Insert the hyperlink of the file

Click the image to see a detailed view

  • Then you will get the file link in your Excel sheet. By clicking the link, you can go to that file.

Attach a file as linked in Excel

Our work here is done. But, we can do another interesting thing. We can also link a file to a shape.

How to Insert Link into Shape:

  • Go to a preferable cell >> from the Insert tab >> go to Shapes >> insert a shape.

Inserting shape

  • Now, you can link the file to this shape from the context menu. Use the same steps we described above. Here, I have also written “Click Here” on the shape.

Link files to shape

You can click on the shape and get the file.

Note: This method will work if the links and Excel file are on the same PC. So, while sharing a file from one PC to another, you can’t use this method.

4. Attach Files in Excel and Get the Updated Version

To get the updated version of an attached file in Excel, you should check the Link to file option of the Object tool. Let’s see the steps below:

  • Select a cell >> go to Insert tab >> Text >> Object.

steps to insert object in Excel

  • From the Object dialog box >> go to Create from File >> click on Browse.

Attach file from storage

  • Now, from the Browse window, select the file and click on Insert.

Attached file from browser

  • After that, check both Link to file and Display as icon options >> press OK.

Attach a file with the link

  • You will get the attached files as linked objects.

Attach Different Types of Files in Excel as Link

Now, every time you update anything in the source file, these attached files will also be updated automatically.

Note: The source files and the Excel file must be on the same PC. Otherwise, you won’t be able to open the attached files.

Read More: Attach Documents in Excel

How to Insert Image Files in Excel?

To insert image files, we need to use the Pictures feature from the Insert tab. Here are the details of the procedure:

  • From Insert tab>> under Illustrations group >> go to Pictures drop-down >> select This Device (or the suitable one for you).

Attaching Image

  • Then, the Insert Picture dialog box will appear. Select your PNG or JPG formatted file >> press Insert.

Inserting PNG format file

  • Finally, get the picture in your worksheet. You can move or resize it by dragging the cursor.

Attach Image in Excel

Sometimes moving images in Excel may break links or remove them. In that case, you need to reinsert the picture.

Note: Excel can’t handle GIF or BMP files directly. So, you must convert them. However, converting images can be time-consuming and might reduce the quality.

Read More: Attach Screenshot , Insert PDF as Image

What Are the Things to Remember?

  • If you want to share your Excel file along with these attachments, you should not check the Link to file option. For more information, you can see method 1 or method 2.
  • While you are creating a link to the original file for attachment, if you move or delete the original file, embedded objects will vanish.
  • If you insert large size of images, then Excel can slow down.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I insert a notepad file into Excel?

To do so, save the notepad file first then,

  • Open workbook >> select a cell >> from Insert tab >> go to Text >> select Object
  • From the Object dialog box >> select Create from File >> click on Browse
  • Select the Notepad(.txt) file in the Browse dialog box >> check Display as icon >> press OK.

2. Can I attach a PDF file in Excel?

Yes, of course, you can attach a PDF file in Excel. To do so,

  • Open workbook >> select a cell >> from Insert tab >> go to Text >> select Object
  • Then from the Object dialog box >> select Create from File >> click on Browse
  • Select your PDF file from the Browse dialog box >> check Display as icon >> press OK.

3. How do I send an attachment in Excel?

  • Go to the top ribbon >> from File tab >> select Share
  • Upload your workbook in Onedrive >> write the Email address >> press the Send button. Also, you can share the workbook link.

Practice Section

You can download the practice workbook from the beginning of this article and try the methods yourself.

Practice Section

Download Practice Workbook


In this article, we have shown how to attach a file in Excel. I have discussed the attachment of different types of files. So, you can work with your preferred one. When you are attaching multiple files, try to display the icons also. So that, the user can easily get the type of file. If you have any queries, feel free to communicate with us through comments or email.

Attach File in Excel: Knowledge Hub

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Musiha Mahfuza Mukta
Musiha Mahfuza Mukta

Musiha Mahfuza Mukta is a marine engineer who loves exploring Excel and VBA programming. To her, programming is a time-saving tool for dealing with data, files, and the internet. She's skilled in Rhino3D, Maxsurf, C++, MS Office, AutoCAD, and Excel & VBA, going beyond the basics. With a B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, she's shifted gears and now works as a content developer. In this role, she creates techy content exclusively focused on Excel... Read Full Bio

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