PDF plugins provide wonderful ways for you to engage viewers on your WordPress site or eCommerce store. There are a number of different scenarios in which offering a PDF file for users to view or download would enhance the user experience on your site, such as by giving viewers opportunities to download posts as PDFs so they can access the information from their devices later on.
If you have long-form content you’d like to add to your site, such as a book or manual, you can embed a PDF viewer directly in your WordPress post to save yourself the trouble of having to add and style it manually in WordPress. You can even include PDFs in WooCommerce stores in the form of invoices, detailed product information on product pages, packing slips and more.
Adding PDF Files to the Media Library
Adding PDF files to the media library and inserting links to them in posts is a feature built into WordPress by default. All you need to do is click the Add Media button as if you were uploading an image, upload the PDF file, and click Insert Into Post. This inserts a link to the PDF file into your post.
When a user clicks this link, they’re taken to their browser’s PDF viewer. You can click the PDF link in the WordPress editor to edit it as you would with any other link. This allows you to change its display name and choose whether or not it opens in a new tab.
You can even enhance WordPress’ default PDF features by generating thumbnails for PDF files using the PDF Image Generator or PDF Thumbnails plugins or by enabling a search function that allows users to search for specific content in a PDF using the SearchWP plugin.
These features are great, but they may not be what you, your readers or your customers are looking for. So, without further ado, here are 15 best PDF plugins for WordPress.
PDF Embedder is a free plugin that allows you to embed a PDF file directly into your WordPress post. It uses “smart” functionality to re-adjust widths and other sizes automatically. You can also set the width to anything you like. The height resizes accordingly. The embedding feature uses PDF files you’ve uploaded to the media library, so it does not require third-party services in same the way embedding videos from YouTube or Vimeo does.
This is a free PDF plugin that integrates with WooCommerce. It allows you to attach PDF versions of invoices to emails automatically when customers complete purchases. You can even download and print PDF invoices and packing slips for physical orders from your store’s admin page.
Real3D FlipBook is a premium plugin that allows you to create an interactive magazine out of a PDF file. All you need to do is enter a shortcode into the WordPress post editor to insert your flipbook into a post or page. You can customize colors of buttons and menus, shapes, sizes, borders, shadows, and more.
Vanilla PDF Embed is a free plugin that allows you to embed PDF files you’ve uploaded to the media library in posts and pages. All you need to do is enter the URL of the PDF file’s attachment page. It’ll embed itself into the WordPress post editor automatically. You can use “shorttags” to adjust the width, height, title and more.
PDF Viewer for WordPress is a premium plugin that acts as an enhanced version of the default PDF embedder. It uses a PDF viewer similar to the viewer Chrome uses and comes with a number of additional features, such as social sharing, the ability to translate your files into over 100 languages and the ability to track when readers view your PDFs in Google Analytics.
WooCommerce PDF Invoices is a free plugin that allows you to attach PDF versions of invoices to emails automatically. You can also create invoices manually and customize the layout to suit your needs. You can also connect the plugin to one of four cloud storage solutions, including Google Drive, Dropbox and One Drive.
WooCommerce PDF Invoice is a premium PDF plugin that allows you to generate PDF invoices for WooCommerce orders automatically. It comes with a few advanced features, such as a setting that generates a new invoice when changes are made to an order. It also comes with premium support, a must-have for businesses.
Gravity PDF allows you to generate PDF files from completed forms made with Gravity Forms. Many businesses use this plugin to automate the process of sending policy documents or contracts to clients. All of the data entered in a form gets added to the PDF automatically, keeping the business owner from having to create one manually.
PDF & Print is a free PDF plugin that allows you to generate PDF files from your posts. Moreover, this plugin allows you to add a Print button to a post users can use to view and print the post as a PDF. You can even customize the header style, footer style and overall appearance PDF files use. Buttons can be generated as an image, text or an image with text.
PDF Product Catalog for WooCommerce is a premium PDF plugin that allows you to create PDF files from your store’s catalog. Users can download these files to view your store’s entire catalog or, if you have a large store with multiple categories, a single category’s catalog.
DK PDF is another free PDF plugin that allows site visitors to convert posts into PDFs with the simple click of a button. Buttons can be added to any post, page or custom post type with a memorable shortcode. You can customize the header and footer, add a custom logo, implement custom CSS, and more. The plugin even includes shortcodes for removing content and inserting page breaks.
BSK PDF Manager is a simple and lightweight PDF plugin that allows you to manage large amounts of PDF files and organize them into categories. PDF files can then be inserted into posts with a simple shortcode. You can even filter your list of PDFs by category to make searching quick and easy.
WP Advanced PDF is another free PDF plugin that allows site visitors to generate PDFs from the posts on your site. You can even limit access to this feature to registered users who are logged in. This plugin includes the ability to use custom headers, footers and logos just as the other plugins do, but you can also use custom fonts.
This is a free PDF plugin ideal for those who don’t wish to upload and embed PDF files from their own servers. This plugin works in a way that’s similar to the way uploading images works. All you need to do is click the Add Drive File button in the WordPress post editor and select the file you’d like to embed.
Easy FancyBox isn’t a dedicated PDF plugin, but it does support PDF files. It displays any media file you embed as a link into a post in an aesthetically-pleasing lightbox. This allows you to embed a PDF file in your post and have it appear in a lightbox rather than taking the user to a different page.
Final Thoughts on PDF Plugins
PDF plugins provide a wonderful way of enhancing the user experience on your site, even if just a little. It can even provide a way for you to “train” your audience to engage with your site by implementing a simple call to action encouraging them to download a PDF file on every post. This can make it easier for you to get your audience to take action when you need them to later on, such as during a product launch.
Which plugin(s) you go with is entirely dependent on your needs. WooCommerce shops should strongly consider adding PDF versions of invoices and catalogs to their sites to enhance their customers’ shopping experiences.
Sites or bloggers that focus on long-form content should consider a plugin that allows them to embed a PDF viewer directly within a WordPress post. PDF files also tend to be quite large, so if you don’t want to host them on your own server, go with Google Drive Embedder or connect your site with Amazon S3 and serve them from there.
If you want simplicity, go with a plugin that allows users to convert your posts into PDFs. You can’t get more simple than that.