Resources » Working With PDFs (Basics) » Working With PDFs and Microsoft Word

How to Convert, Insert, Edit, Add and Combine PDF and Word files

In this tutorial on PDF.Live, we explain how Word documents (.doc and .docx) work with PDF files. If you want to convert a Word doc to a PDF or PDF to .doc, we’ll cover that. As well, we cover how to insert elements from a PDF file into a Word document, and you’ll learn how to combine a PDF with a Word doc.  

PDFs and Word documents go hand in hand. As one of the premier document editing software applications, Microsoft Word (established in 1983!) has a lot of options for creating and formatting documents. Most documents that you create in Microsoft Word will use file formats ending in .doc and .docx. These file formats mean the document is editable with Microsoft Word. 

If your document is completed and you’re ready to share it, the .doc and .docx format are not always the best options. Why?

  • DOC files created in older versions of Word may not be compatible with newer versions, and vice versa.
  • Windows DOC files may not be 100% compatible with Apple DOC files, and vice versa.
  • Large DOC files may be too large to share via e-mail or other sharing platforms.
  • You might prefer to send a document as a “digital brochure” rather than a Word file. 

In all of these examples, the PDF is the file format of choice. PDFs are the best file formats for sharing documents across the web. They don’t have large file sizes, they maintain style/formatting settings when exported, and they work with almost any electronic device, regardless of age of the operating system or software. 

First, we’ll explain how to convert Word documents into PDFs and PDFs into Word documents. 

Converting Word to PDF and PDF to Word

PDFs are separate file formats from .doc and .docx, but they can work together. In the following tutorial, the assumption is that you have a Word document that you want to convert into PDF so you can share it. In the second example, the assumption is that you have a PDF, and you want to convert it to a Word doc so you can edit or make changes to it.  

Word to PDF

To convert a PDF to a DOC, you can do that online without special software. Use PDF.Live’s DOC-to-PDF converter to easily upload a Word document (no matter what version you used) and the online converter produces a PDF. The steps are easy, and we offer a limited number of daily conversions. Another way to convert a Word doc into a PDF is within Word itself. In most versions of Microsoft Word, you simply select File > Save as > Export Formats > PDF and name your file and choose where you’d like to save it. In the screenshot below, we used a Macbook Pro with Microsoft Word to save this .docx as a .pdf. Your experience may differ, depending on your device and the age of your Word app, but it will be similar. Most of these actions are driven from the File menu.

PDF to Word 

You can also convert a PDF back to a Word doc. Actually, you can convert any PDF into Word, regardless of what program it was originally created in. PDF.Live’s PDF to Doc converter will turn any PDF that you drag and drop into the tool into a Word doc. 

If you try opening a PDF directly with Microsoft Word, Microsoft’s built-in converter may lose some formatting that came with the original document. That’s why using an online converter is better for these types of conversions. 

In this example we used a single-page PDF brochure template that someone might use to sell kayaks:

This is what happens when you use Microsoft Word to convert from PDF to Word:

As you can see, some of the formatting settings like the dotted sections, image size, and text placement were changed and even lost during the conversion. 

In the next screenshot, you can see that the quality of the Word doc is much better when we used PDF.Live to convert from PDF to Word (rather than simply opening the PDF in Word and letting Word convert the file).

Inserting or Adding PDFs into Word Documents

Can you add a PDF to Word? For this use-case example, let’s say you are using Word to create a proposal and you’d like to insert a PDF or part of a PDF from another project. Maybe it’s an image, graph or graphic illustration, or a single page brochure. 

Before going any further, it’s important to understand: 

  • You can insert a single page of a PDF into a Word document. 
  • You cannot insert a multi-page PDF into a Word document, at least not without extracting pages.

Next we cover how to insert a single page from a PDF into a Word document, then we explain how to insert multiple PDF pages into a single Word doc. 

Inserting a single PDF into Word

To embed a single-page PDF to a Word document, as long as you are working with a more recent version of Word, Microsoft makes it easy. From your Word document, select Insert > Picture from file > and then locate your .pdf. Modern versions of Word recognize .pdf files as “pictures.” 

Now, just for “fun,” try inserting a multi-page PDF into your Word document. You will notice that only the first page of the PDF gets inserted. You can insert more PDF pages into a Word doc, but you’ll have to extract them first, saving them into their own files. Read on …  

Inserting a multi-page PDF into Word

For this use case, let’s say you have a 25-page PDF, but you want to insert only a few of those pages into your Word document. First, you’ll need to extract the pages from the PDF, which we explain in a related post, “How to Extract, Split, Separate PDFs.” 

In the example that follows, we extracted 4 pages from our kayak sales brochure, and we named them kayaks page 2, kayaks page 3, etc. 

From Word, select Insert > Picture from file > then locate your PDF and hit Insert. Do the same for embedding PDF in Word for pages 3, 4 and 5, and Save.

As we said, there may be some older versions of Word that don’t play nicely with PDF files. That’s what we’ll cover next — troubleshooting PDF-Word glitches.


PDFs might not be easily embedded into docs that were created by older versions of Word. If you try to drag and drop a PDF into a Word doc, you might get this message:

In older versions of Microsoft Word, if a PDF is just an image or a single page, you might need to convert that image or page into a .jpeg and then insert it. 

You might also try using a PDF to DOC converter and then extract the image by simply using COPY and PASTE to add it to your new Word document. 

Editing a PDF in Word (or Online)

PDFs are not fully editable without a special PDF editing tool. While they can be opened within a browser or with a PDF Reader, those software apps won’t necessarily allow you to make edits or changes to the PDF. 

Likewise, Word does not allow you to edit a PDF. Instead, you’ll need to convert the PDF to an editable .doc format or use an online PDF editing tool. Yes, you can open a PDF with Word, but Word’s PDF-to-DOC converter isn’t great. Expect to lose some formatting. Expect to feel frustrated!

Or, avoid the frustrations and format losses by using an online PDF editing tool to edit, comment, annotate, and make myriad changes to your PDF. Simply drag and drop the PDF that you want to edit into the tool to start making changes right now.

Merging PDFs and Word Docs

You cannot merge a PDF with a Word document. Both files must be the same type — either .pdf or .doc format — to combine them. So, in the world of file management, two files must of the same format (shared file extensions such as .pdf, .doc etc.) in order to be combined or merged. That said, not all file types can be merged. For example, in another resource page, we explain why you cannot merge JPEG files

Once you’re done editing your Word doc and want to turn it back into a PDF, PDF.Live has you covered. Use the Doc to PDF Converter to change your Word docs back to PDFs once you’re done making edits.