How to Fix the Cannot Insert Object Error in Excel

This article provides step-by-step solutions to fix the 'cannot insert object' error in Excel, along with software recommendations and helpful tips.

Nene Aly

By Nene Aly / Updated on March 4, 2024

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About the 'Cannot Insert Object' Error

The 'cannot insert object' error is a common issue that Excel users encounter when trying to insert certain objects, such as PDF files, into their spreadsheets. This error message indicates that Excel is unable to handle the requested object, leading to restricted functionality and potential loss of data.

Possible Causes of the Error

There are several potential causes for the 'cannot insert object' error in Excel:

  1. A corrupt or incompatible object or file format.
  2. An outdated version of Excel.
  3. Misconfigured settings in Excel.

Solutions to Resolve the Error

Solution 1: Ensure Compatibility and Correct File Format

Follow these steps to ensure compatibility and resolve file format issues:

  1. Verify that the object or file you are trying to insert is compatible with the version of Excel you are using.
  2. Convert the object or file to a supported format, if necessary.
  3. Remove any special characters or symbols from the file name, as they can cause compatibility issues.
  4. Try inserting the object or file into a new, blank Excel spreadsheet to rule out any worksheet-specific issues.
  5. Save the object or file in a different location, such as the desktop, to ensure there are no permission restrictions.

Solution 2: Update Microsoft Excel

If you are using an outdated version of Excel, consider updating it to the latest version. Follow these steps to update Excel:

  1. Open Excel and click on the 'File' tab.
  2. Select 'Account' from the left-hand menu.
  3. Click on the 'Update Options' button and choose 'Update Now'.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update process.
  5. Restart Excel and check if the 'cannot insert object' error persists.

Solution 3: Adjust Excel Settings

If misconfigured settings are causing the error, you can try adjusting Excel settings to resolve the issue:

  1. Open Excel and click on the 'File' tab.
  2. Select 'Options' from the left-hand menu.
  3. Go to the 'Advanced' section.
  4. Scroll down to the 'General' category and uncheck the 'Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)' option.
  5. Click 'OK' to save the changes.

Software Recommendation

We recommend using the 'PDFelement' software, which offers seamless integration with Excel and allows you to insert PDF files without encountering the 'cannot insert object' error. PDFelement offers user-friendly features and a wide range of editing capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Why am I getting the 'cannot insert object' error in Excel?

A: The 'cannot insert object' error in Excel can occur due to various reasons, including compatibility issues, outdated Excel versions, or misconfigured settings.

Q: Can I insert objects other than PDF files in Excel?

A: Yes, you can insert various objects, such as images, charts, and documents, into Excel. However, compatibility and file format compatibility should be considered.

Q: How can I convert an object or file to a supported format in Excel?

A: You can use online converters or dedicated software, such as Adobe Acrobat, to convert objects or files to supported formats like PDF or JPEG.

Q: Are there any other software recommendations to resolve the 'cannot insert object' error?

A: Yes, you can try using 'Adobe Acrobat' or 'Foxit Reader' as alternative software options for inserting objects in Excel.

Q: Does updating Excel resolve the 'cannot insert object' error?

A: Updating Excel to the latest version can potentially fix compatibility issues and resolve the error. It is recommended to regularly update Excel to ensure optimal performance and compatibility.

Q: How can I check if my Excel settings are misconfigured?

A: To check and adjust Excel settings, go to the 'File' tab, select 'Options', and navigate to the relevant sections based on the nature of the error.

Q: What are the benefits of using PDFelement?

A: PDFelement offers a user-friendly interface, extensive editing capabilities, and seamless integration with Excel. It allows you to insert and modify PDF files without encountering the 'cannot insert object' error.

Technical Terms Explained

1. Compatibility

Compatibility refers to the ability of different software versions or applications to work together effectively without any issues. In the context of Excel, ensuring compatibility involves using compatible file formats, versions, and settings.

2. File Format

File format refers to the specific structure and organization of data within a file. In Excel, commonly used file formats include XLSX (Excel Workbook), CSV (Comma-Separated Values), and PDF (Portable Document Format).

3. Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)

Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is a communication protocol used by Microsoft Office applications, including Excel, to share data between different software programs. It enables real-time updating and interaction between connected applications.

Tips to Avoid Future Errors

  • Regularly update Excel to ensure compatibility with new file formats and features.
  • Check file compatibility before inserting objects into Excel.
  • Keep backups of important spreadsheets to avoid data loss.


The 'cannot insert object' error in Excel can disrupt your workflow and limit the functionality of your spreadsheets. By following the provided solutions, updating Excel, adjusting settings, and using recommended software like PDFelement, you can resolve this error and regain full control over your Excel files. Remember to stay informed about file compatibility and keep your software up to date to prevent future errors.

Nene Aly
Nene Aly · Editor