Complete guide on how to insert a PDF into Powerpoint

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

PowerPoint is a popular tool that business professionals use to present information, images and graphics in an engaging way. You can even include a PDF in a PowerPoint presentation to provide additional information to your slides. There are multiple ways to achieve this, regardless of whether you use a Windows PC or a Mac. In this article, we explain how to insert a PDF into PowerPoint and highlight the benefits of doing so.

Related: How to start a presentation and keep the audience interested

Using PowerPoint and PDFs

PowerPoint is a presentation tool that's commonly used in the professional and educational sphere. This program allows you to create presentations in the form of slide shows and aims to allow you to produce engaging and interesting digital presentations. These presentations can contain text, graphics, tables and other graphic elements. PowerPoint presentations allow you to put forward information and knowledge using slides that contain pictures, videos, PDFs and website links.

The Adobe System Company developed the Portable Document Format in 1993. These files can contain images and/or text. This type of file is commonly used because it retains the author's original layout and appears the same on any computer system. To open a PDF, you need a compatible programme. If you have information in a PDF that you want to share in a PowerPoint, you can use these two tools together to create one cohesive presentation.

Related: Top 9 basic computer skills and why they're useful

How to insert a PDF into PowerPoint

The steps to insert a PDF into PowerPoint presentation may vary slightly depending on your computer's operating system. The following sections provide step-by-step instructions on inserting a PDF into a PowerPoint presentation in several ways:

How to insert a PDF as a slide

If you wish to insert a PDF document into PowerPoint as a slide in your presentation, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Convert the PDF into a PowerPoint. Convert the PDF into a PowerPoint by using a free online conversion tool. Upload the PDF to the tool, download and then open the new presentation.

  2. Copy the slide you want to insert into the presentation. Select the 'Slides' panel in the new presentation. Go to the thumbnail of the slide you want to insert into the presentation and click, Then copy it to your clipboard.

  3. Paste the slide into the presentation. Open the presentation you're creating. Go to the 'Slides' panel, right-click between the slides where you wish to insert the new slide and click 'Paste'.

A benefit of using this method is that you can edit the content once the PDF pages become slides. For example, you can delete a picture or click into a text box to edit the text and customise the details in the PDF depending on your presentation.

Related: How to take your presentation skills to the next level

How to insert a single section of a PDF into PowerPoint

If you wish to insert a single section of a PDF into your presentation, you can take a screenshot and paste it into your slide. This method is advantageous for displaying graphs, images or text that backs up your main points. Here are some steps you can follow to insert a specific section of PDF into PowerPoint:

  1. Access your PDF. Pull up the PDF on your computer and locate the specific information you wish to add to the presentation. If necessary, zoom into the content to make it more visible.

  2. Open PowerPoint. Open PowerPoint to the exact slide you want to add the PDF while ensuring the PDF window remains open and not minimised.

  3. Select 'Screenshot'. Go to the 'Insert', select 'Images' and then choose 'Screenshot'.

  4. Click 'Available windows'. Your PDF is the first thumbnail in the 'Available windows' gallery. But if not, switch to the PDF and then immediately back to PowerPoint.

  5. Select 'Screen clipping'. Once you select 'Screen clipping', you see an opaque version of your PDF on the screen.

  6. Capture the clipping. Perform a left-click while highlighting the content you want to include in your presentation. As you release, a screenshot of your specific area enters the slide.

Once the image is in the slide you can format and edit it. It's possible to resize, move and crop the image. Alternatively, you can choose the picture and go to the 'Picture tools format' tab. You can retake the screenshot if it's too small to read or blurry. When taking the screenshot, ensure the image is clear by resizing accordingly.

Related: How to end a presentation effectively: a step-by-step guide

How to insert a full PDF into PowerPoint

This process is different depending on whether you use a PC or a Mac. Here are the steps on how to insert a whole PDF into PowerPoint for both Windows and Mac OS devices:

Via Windows

These are the steps to insert an entire PDF into PowerPoint on a PC:

  1. Select 'Object'. Click 'Insert', then click 'Object' in the text group.

  2. Click 'Create from file'. When you attempt to insert an object, the default is 'Create new', navigate instead to 'Create from file.'

  3. Choose file. Select 'Browse' and find the PDF you want to insert into your presentation. Click 'OK' and the cover of your PDF appears in the slide.

  4. Add an action. Go to 'Insert' and click 'Links', then click 'Action' and select either 'Mouse click' or 'Mouse over'. The 'Mouse click' option allows the PDF to open when you navigate to the PDF cover of your presentation whereas the 'Mouse over' option opens the PDF as you hover the cursor over the cover.

  5. Select 'Object action'. Once you have completed the previous steps, a pop-up box appears, click 'Object action:' and then select 'Open' from the menu. Then select 'OK.'

With this method, there are a few customisation options available. You can select how you'd like the PDF to display. As a default, the PDF is set to appear as the cover page. When you select 'Display as' in the 'Insert object' tab, your PDF appears as an icon within the slide. You can use the automatic icon or choose 'Change icons' if you wish to change it. If you wish to keep the PDF as a separate document, select the 'Link' box in the 'Insert Object' tab. If you have selected this option, the PDF opens in your presentation showing all changes you made to the original PDF document.

Via Mac OS

If you're a Mac user, here are the instructions to follow to insert a whole PDF into PowerPoint:

  1. Drag and drop the PDF onto a slide. The first step is to open your presentation and the Finder command. Locate the PDF you want to insert and drag it onto a slide in your presentation.

  2. Click 'Action'. Next, select the ‘Insert' tab and click the 'Action' option.

  3. Choose 'Mouse click' or 'Mouse over'. Here you'll have the choice of two options. Decide whether you want your PDF to open as you click the PDF cover and if so, select 'Mouse Click' or open your PDF by hovering the cursor, then select 'Mouse over'.

  4. Hyperlink. Click on the radio button next to the option 'Hyperlink to'. From here, select 'Other file.'

  5. Locate the PDF file. You now select the PDF file from Finder, which opens automatically once you complete the previous step. When you have located the PDF file, click 'OK and click 'OK' again

Why insert a PDF into PowerPoint?

Professionals may choose to insert a PDF into PowerPoint for several reasons. You may wish to add visual interest to your presentations, to break up large chunks of text and keep them engaging for the audience. You may also find it easier to share a document in its entirety in your presentation. The addition of the PDF can further support the content of your presentation. You can also add PDF documents as links within your presentation, which allows it to contain multiple files.

The addition of a PDF into a PowerPoint presentation can be helpful in a variety of situations. For example, when training employees, a PDF page can display policies or guidelines and training information. After the presentation, you can send the presentation via email, and the addition of the PDF and link to the PDF allows the employees easy access to the information that has previously been discussed.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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