One of my pet hates about WordPress is it does not allow you to embed PDF files into your posts and pages. Sure, you can add links to them, but you cannot physically insert and display the document where you want it. Thankfully, a range of WordPress PDF plugins has evolved to overcome this deficiency in the platform, and it is those I will be looking at today.
If you’re not familiar with PDF documents, before reading on, I suggest you first read the article “Everything you need to know about the PDF” written by Adobe, the creators of the format.
What Is a WordPress PDF Plugin?
As you probably know, WordPress is a highly versatile platform that originally evolved primarily for blogging. It has since metamorphosed into something much more, and nowadays, it is highly customizable thanks to the sheer number of plugins that have grown up around it
Those plugins exist because the platform in its basic form has several limitations. Actually, ‘limitations’ probably isn’t the right word because WordPress is now used for such a massive range of applications that it could never be a ‘one size fits all’ solution needing no plugins whatsoever.
In the context of this article, two things that the core WordPress platform lacks are:
- the ability to embed and display PDF files in posts and pages, and
- the ability to create PDF documents from content.
Thankfully, there are plenty of WordPress PDF plugins to help overcome one or both these deficiencies.
When Do You Need a WordPress PDF Plugin?
There are many instances when you may want to embed PDF documents into your posts and pages.
For example, business websites are probably the prime example, where there is often a need to display PDF reports or articles.
Another example is a musician who may want to display PDFs of their music scores in articles.
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On the flip side, there are times when creating or editing instead of just displaying PDF files is desirable.
For example, if you have an eCommerce store, the ability to generate print-friendly PDF invoices and packing notes can be an absolute time-saver.
Alternatively, you may be a blogger that wants to allow people a convenient way of downloading your articles (or portions thereof) in a format that cannot easily be plagiarized, and protected PDFs are a great way of doing that.
My Suggested WordPress PDF Plugins
Many plugins are available to embed PDFs into your WordPress site posts and pages, create them from your content, or both.
The following are my suggestions for WordPress PDF plugins that you can use to add good PDF functionality to your site quickly, easily, and (in many cases) for free.
PDF Viewer Block for Gutenberg
PDF Viewer Block for Gutenberg is a simple, lightweight plugin that adds a new PDF viewer block to the embeds menu of the Gutenberg editor. That makes inserting PDFs into your content an absolute breeze.
By default, the PDF viewer is preset to the entire width of your content. However, it is possible to configure the height and width to your preferences. Furthermore, the plugin is responsive, so embeds display optimally regardless of the screen they are being viewed on.
- An easy way of adding a basic, but neat PDF viewer to your content
- Configurable sizing and alignment
- PDF Viewer Block for Gutenberg is entirely free.
Other features of this plugin include a theme that adapts to dark and light mode (but only if the browser supports dynamic CSS), customizable buttons, PDF zoom, search, password protection, and more.
- Good feature set for a freebie
- PDF.js Viewer is a free plugin.
EmbedPress is an easy-to-use freemium WordPress PDF plug for adding and displaying PDF files on your site. Documents can be uploaded directly into your media library and placed wherever you need them in your content.
EmbedPress is not restricted only to PDFs – it can also embed a range of other media types such as videos, sound clips, and documents from various sources, including YouTube, Vimeo, Google Docs, Google Maps, and many more.
- The free version has the functionality you need for embedding PDFs and other document types. Pro adds features mostly related to video content
- Gutenberg compatible with 14 blocks included
- Pro has a 14-day moneyback guarantee
- Rather over the top if you only need it for PDFs, particularly the Pro version
- The core EmbedPress plugin is free. Pro currently costs $39 for a single site or $79 for unlimited domains.
WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips
There are no prizes for guessing what WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips does! Yup, this WordPress PDF plugin extends the functionality of your WooCommerce store to create email or print-ready PDF invoices and packing slips.
With this plugin, you can automatically add invoices to emails of your choosing, plus there are plenty of customization possibilities for everything. What’s more, eighteen languages are currently supported.
Upgrading to the Professional version adds credit note and proforma invoice options, plus more customizations and the ability to save everything in Dropbox.
- The free version is great for creating simple invoices and packing slips
- Detailed documentation
- Proactive support
- None found
- The core WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips plugin is free. The Professional upgrade costs €59 for a single site license, €119 for three, and €249 for up to twenty-five. Note those prices are in Euros, not US Dollars.
PDF & Print by BestWebSoft
PDF & Print by BestWebSoft allows you to embed buttons in your pages, posts, and widgets that enable users to create, print, and save PDFs of your content. Users love this because printing from webpages using the browser print function is rarely ideal as it includes lots of extra ‘junk’ on the pages.
The free version of PDF & Print by BestWebSoft includes excellent functionality. With it, expect to find things like button customization and placement options, user role restrictions (great if you only want to allow registered users to create PDFs), plus basic customization options for the actual PDFs.
The Pro version adds tons more customization possibilities. However, one feature I really like about Pro is it lets you add your own watermark to PDFs, thereby helping safeguard your content’s copyright.
- The free version is an excellent starting point for giving your users the option to create and print PDFs from your content
- Documentation includes video tutorials
- Pro comes with a 30-day moneyback guarantee
- You may need to experiment a little with the settings to get the PDFs looking exactly how you want them
- Per domain pricing of Pro gets expensive if you have multiple sites
- PDF & Print by BestWebSoft is available for free in the WordPress plugin directory. However, should you wish to upgrade to the Pro version, that currently costs $43 per year or $310 for a lifetime subscription. All prices are per domain.
DearFlip 3D Flipbook
I love the DearFlip 3D Flipbook plugin as it allows you to add flipbooks to your WordPress posts. Those are great for creating books, magazines, and newsletter-type posts where users can ‘turn’ the pages on the screen rather than just scrolling through them. Such a feature adds a level of interactivity and visual impact that is much more engaging than regular ‘flat’ PDFs.
Creating flipbooks with the plugin is very easy – just upload the PDF into the plugin’s admin panel, paste the auto-generated shortcode where you want the flipbook to appear, and you’re done.
The free version includes some great features, such as a content table generator for the PDFs, thumbnail previews, and more. Furthermore, the Pro version adds more customization possibilities, zoom controls, paper stiffness, etc.
- The free version offers good functionality out of the box
- PDF flipbooks are more interactive and visually appealing, which helps drive user engagement
- Very easy to use
- Proactive support from the developer
- Pro version has a 30-day moneyback guarantee
- None found
- DearFlip 3D Flipbook is a freemium plugin with free and paid (Pro) options. The Pro version for one domain costs $39 per year or $119 lifetime. Furthermore, annual and lifetime plans are also available for five or thirty sites.
3D Flipbook is another great freemium plugin for adding flipbook PDF viewers to your WordPress site.
The feature list of the free version of 3D Flipbook is extensive, including things like PDF search, shortcode generator, auto resolution/scale/alignment, PDF bookmarks, mobile responsive, CSS layers, and much more.
The Pro upgrade includes readymade templates, additional settings, premium support, toolbar button management, plus access to the source code for developers.
- The free version is full-featured
- Plenty of documentation, including a YouTube channel with tutorials
- Excellent developer support with the Pro version (free version only covers assistance with reported bugs and issues)
- Pro version has a 30-day moneyback guarantee
- None found
- The core version of 3D Flipbook is free. The Pro upgrade costs $39 per year or $199 lifetime.
E2PdF is a WordPress PDF plugin for creating, editing, and displaying both static and dynamic PDF documents. It integrates with popular form plugins such as Gravity Forms, Divi Contact Forms, Caldera Forms, etc.
E2PdF’s integral editor allows you to create and edit forms, plus it is possible to merge web forms with signatures and images into PDFs. Furthermore, PDFs can be attached to emails, and they can be sent with Web Form Data.
- Good documentation
- Video tutorials on YouTube
- Works with most popular form plugins
- The free version limited to just one template and one page
- Premium versions are priced on a per-template basis but include unlimited pages
- The core version of E2PdF is free, but as already mentioned, it limits you to one template and one page.
- All paid plans include unlimited pages, but the amount you pay depends on the number of templates you need. For example, the cheapest plan costs $20 per site per year and includes just one template, while the most expensive costs $199 per site per year for 99,999 templates.
What’s Your Favorite WordPress PDF Plugin?
Hopefully, this article has shown you how helpful embedding PDFs into your site can be, as is the option for generating and printing them from content. Both can help improve user experience, and both are easily achievable with WordPress PDF plugins.
Have you used any plugins on your WordPress site to embed or generate PDFs? If so, is it one I suggested in this article? If so, which, and what do you like and dislike about it? Are there any other PDF plugins that you particularly like?
As ever, I’d love to read your feedback on what you are doing with your site and your future plans.