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How to Enable PDF Downloads for WordPress Posts and Pages

How to Enable PDF Downloads for WordPress Posts and Pages

Providing your readers with the ability to download a PDF copy of your posts is a useful and efficient way to get them engaged with the long content. Besides, for sites like food blogs with recipes and music sites sharing music score or lyrics, allowing the qualified people to print content in the PDF format is especially important for building the brand awareness and reputation.

Also, as the downloadable version of your valuable posts is a great resource, you can make content upgrades with PDF downloads to build your email list. If you are interested in content upgrades, learn more in this tutorial.

To enable PDF downloads for WordPress posts, you will either need a local PDF generator, or a generator installed on your WordPress site. In this post, we have analyzed both occasions so that you can choose a solution based on your preference.

Solution 1: Manually Make PDF Files for Posts and Offer Downloads

If you have enough time, creating PDF copies of your posts manually and then adding download links to your WordPress site is the best solution because this gives you complete control over the content and format. For example, you can:

  • Choose which content to be included in a PDF download.
  • Adjust the image alignments.
  • Place the page breaks properly.
  • Add additional content and watermarks.

The possibilities are unlimited since all decisions are yours. Besides, you don’t have to rely on a plugin to offer the functionality that you need exactly.

Create PDF files

Creating a PDF file is easy. Almost all popular word processing applications, from Word to Google Docs, offer an option of exporting documents as PDF files. So all you need to do is to properly format your content and images in an application, and then export them to a PDF file. The process may take some time because you need to manually edit each individual WordPress post and page that you want to make downloadable.

If you don’t like the built-in exporting-as-PDF option, you can also save posts as Word documents, and then convert them to PDF by using an online PDF converter.

Upload PDF files to WordPress and display download links

After creating your PDF files properly, you can upload them to the media library of your WordPress site in the same way you upload any image. Upon successful uploading, find a file in the media list and click on the “Attach” link.

Attach PDF File

In the popup, select the post or page to which you want the PDF file to be attached.

Select Post or Page

Now you will see that the file is properly attached to a post/page.

Attach the PDF File to a Post

As the next task is to display a link to the attached PDF file, you can download this plugin and install it on your WordPress site, or copy the code in the plugin and paste it in your theme’s functions.php file. With the plugin activated or the code added, a link to the PDF file will be displayed automatically in the post that the file has been attached to.

As an alternative to displaying links, you can also add content lockers for your PDF files to increase the social shares and traffic.

Solution 2: Enable PDF Downloads with WP Advanced PDF Plugin

If you don’t need the flexibility and control provided by the solution above, and instead, you want a super easy way to provide readers with the ability to download any post or page as a PDF file, then the WP Advanced PDF plugin should be the way out.

There are a number of PDF plugins you can use, while the one mentioned here is among the most easy-to-use options. It generates PDF files automatically and places a PDF download button to your posts. Also, it offers various options for controlling the content and style of the PDF files. As soon as you set it up, there is no other manual thing to do.

WP Advanced PDF

After installing the plugin, you can find its settings in Settings > WP Advanced PDF. There you will see all the options available in the plugin. Firstly, you need to choose whether to display the PDF download button on the frontend of your site, in the admin panel, or both. You can make the choice according to your needs.

Also, you are able to decide who can see the button – all visitors, or only the logged-in users – by changing the availability.

WP Advanced PDF Settings

In addition, you can open the accordion settings to check whether there are options you would like to change. Below are some of the settings you may want to deal with.

  • General: Select the post type (post, page, or both) that is covered by the plugin, choose the default file name (the post id or post name), and display the post date.
  • Button Positioning: Choose the alignment and placement of the PDF download button. Also, you can upload your own image for the button.
  • Body, Header & Footer: Select the margins, page size and font, and add a custom footer text with your brand information.
  • Watermark: Add an image or text as the watermark.

Plugin Options

After saving the settings, you can visit your site to see whether the PDF download button is displayed in the way you want. Clicking on the button, you will get a PDF copy of the post downloaded automatically. For anything that doesn’t meet your expectation, go back to the plugin settings to make changes.

Add PDF Download Button to Posts


Joyce is a professional writer & SEOer who loves trying new things and sharing the experience through blogging. She loves clean design, playing with different WordPress themes, SEO, etc. Very often, you could find her in various WordPress event as invited speakers.