How to Create a Link in a PDF to Open in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a link in a PDF that opens in Excel is a handy skill to have, especially if you work with lots of data. It’s a simple process where you’ll insert a hyperlink into your PDF document that, when clicked, will open up an Excel spreadsheet. This is perfect for providing quick access to more detailed data or a working spreadsheet related to the content of your PDF.

After you complete the action, clicking the link in the PDF will prompt Excel to open the linked spreadsheet. This allows for a seamless transition between viewing the PDF document and analyzing the Excel data.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Create a Link in a PDF to Open in Excel

Before we start, you should have both your PDF file and Excel file ready. The steps below will help you create a link that connects the two.

Step 1: Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat

Open up your PDF document in Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Acrobat is a common tool for editing PDFs and will allow you to add hyperlinks.

Adobe Acrobat is a widely used tool for editing PDF files. It’s known for its user-friendly interface and range of features, including the ability to add hyperlinks to your document.

Step 2: Select the ‘Edit PDF’ tool

Once your PDF is open, select the ‘Edit PDF’ tool from the right-hand pane. This will enable you to make changes to your PDF.

The ‘Edit PDF’ tool is straightforward to use and doesn’t require any advanced knowledge of PDF editing.

Step 3: Choose the text or image for your link

Within your PDF, choose the text or image that you want to link to your Excel file. You can highlight the text or click on the image.

Keep in mind that the text or image you choose will be what users click on to open the Excel file, so it should be relevant to the data in the spreadsheet.

Step 4: Add the hyperlink

Right-click the selected text or image and choose ‘Create Link.’ In the dialog box that appears, set the link appearance and select ‘Open a web page’ for the link action. Then click ‘Next.’

Creating the link is the most crucial step, as this is where you’ll input the path to your Excel file. Make sure to set your link to open a web page, as this will allow you to link to files on your computer.

Step 5: Enter the file path to your Excel file

In the ‘URL’ field, enter the file path to your Excel file. The file path should look something like ‘C:My DocumentsMy Spreadsheet.xlsx’. Make sure the path is correct and then click ‘OK.’

The file path must be accurate for the link to work properly. Double-check it to ensure it leads directly to your Excel file.

Step 6: Save your PDF

After inserting the link, save your PDF. Test the link to make sure it opens your Excel file as expected.

Always test your links to ensure they work as expected. This is an essential step to avoid any frustration for the end-user.

Tips for Creating a Link in a PDF to Open in Excel

  • Ensure Adobe Acrobat is updated to the latest version for best performance.
  • Double-check the file path to your Excel file to ensure accuracy.
  • Consider the relevance of the text or image you’re linking from for a seamless user experience.
  • If the PDF and Excel file are to be shared, ensure the file path will work on another user’s computer.
  • Test the link in different PDF readers to ensure compatibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the link doesn’t work?

Make sure the file path is correct and that there are no typos. Also, ensure that the Excel file is not moved from the location it was in when the link was created.

Can I link to a specific cell or tab in Excel?

Yes, by modifying the file path to include a specific cell reference or sheet name, you can direct the PDF link to open a specific part of your Excel workbook.

Do I need Adobe Acrobat to create a link in a PDF?

While Adobe Acrobat is a popular choice, there are other PDF editing tools available that also allow you to insert hyperlinks.

Can the linked Excel file be edited?

Yes, the link will open the actual Excel file, allowing for edits to be made if the user has the necessary permissions.

Can I create a link in a PDF on a Mac to open in Excel?

Yes, the process is similar, but make sure you use the correct file path format for Mac.


  1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Select the ‘Edit PDF’ tool.
  3. Choose the text or image for your link.
  4. Add the hyperlink.
  5. Enter the file path to your Excel file.
  6. Save your PDF.


Linking a PDF to an Excel file is a valuable skill that can enhance the user’s experience by providing easy access to related data. Whether you’re creating a business report, a research paper, or any document that could benefit from additional data, knowing how to create a link in a PDF to open in Excel can set your work apart from the rest.

Remember to keep your files organized, test your links thoroughly, and always consider the end-user’s perspective. With this guide, you’re now equipped to create seamless transitions between your PDF documents and Excel spreadsheets. Happy linking!

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