How to add a PDF to WordPress (and link to it)

Step by step instructions to add a PDF to WordPress and how to link to it via text or an image.

Let’s begin.

The PDF is on your computer and you’d like to add it to your website or blog, so it is publicly accessible.

To start, upload the PDF to your host using the WordPress Media Library.

Instructions to upload a PDF to WordPress

It is really easy to upload a PDF to WordPress – follow my instructions and for reference use the arrows on the images provided.

  1. Log in to the WordPress admin area.
  2. From the WordPress menu on the left hand side, click Media.
    You will arrive within the Media Library. This is where photos, graphics, videos and PDFs are stored.
  3. At the top of the screen – next to the title – click Add New.
  4. Now click Select Files at the centre of the box.
  5. Find the PDF file on your computer, select it and click Open.
  6. The file takes a moment to upload into the Media Library.
How to upload a PDF to WordPress
Upload PDF to WordPress - find the PDF

You have completed the first step – uploading the PDF to the WordPress Media Library.

Copy the link of the PDF within the Media Library

To link to the PDF you will need to copy its URL – web speak meaning the link, the path or the address.

Because WordPress calls it the LINK, we will also call it the link.

Follow the instructions here to copy the link of the PDF.

  1. In the Media Library click on the PDF
    This opens a new window, which contains the file information.
  2. Highlight everything in the COPY LINK field
    Over on the right hand side is field labelled COPY LINK.
    You need to highlight everything in this field, starting with https://.
    An easy way to do that is to double click, in quick succession, anywhere within the COPY LINK field. The link will turn blue when highlighted.
  3. Now click ‘CONTROL-C’ (shortcut for copy) or right click on the highlighted text and then click COPY. The link is now stored on the computer’s clip board.
    Note. The clipboard will store one copied item only. Complete the next steps and don’t copy anything else.
    Tip – I often paste the link to notepad or Word, so I can pick it up later.
Open the PDF within WordPress
Copy the link to the PDF

Great – that is step two completed.

Now we create a link to the PDF within a WordPress post or page.

Create a link to a PDF with a WordPress post or page

Text links

The next step is to create a WordPress text link.

If you’d like to link to the PDF via an image jump to the next section.

  1. Open the WordPress post or page in the admin area.
  2. Find or type the link text, i.e. “How to upload a PDF to WordPress (and link to it)“.
  3. Highlight the text.
  4. Click on the icon resembling a paper clip, which appears above the block.
  5. Put the cursor in the field where WordPress says ‘Paste URL or type to search’.
  6. Now ‘Control-P‘ (to paste) or right click and hit PASTE. This pastes the link.
  7. Hit Submit (resembled by a ‘return arrow’ icon) at the end of the field.
  8. Click Update to save the page or post.
How to add a PDF to WordPress - text link
How to add a PDF to WordPress – text link

Image links

  1. Open the WordPress post or page in the admin area.
  2. Find the image on the page or add the image to the WordPress page.
  3. Highlight the image simply by clicking on it.
  4. Click on the icon resembling a paper clip, in the menu that appears top left of image.
  5. Put the cursor in the field where WordPress says ‘Paste URL or type to search’.
  6. Now ‘Control-P‘ (to paste) or right click and hit PASTE. This pastes the link.
  7. Hit Submit (resembled by a ‘return arrow’ icon) at the end of the field.
  8. Click Update to save the page or post.

I hope that helps you understand how to add a PDF to WordPress and to link to it.

Keep in mind that you can link to a PDF on external websites or even a newsletter such as one created in MailChimp.

Just copy that URL (Copy Link above) and use the instructions above to link to it.

A word about PDF file size

PDFs are often quite large in file size, because they are printable web documents so creators tend to put design elements into them. Reduce the size of the PDF before you upload it to WordPress to keep a website/blog fast.

Use an online PDF compression service like smallpdf.com.

Using WordPress to link to any PDF on the web

Within WordPress website owners can link to any PDF on the web. Highlight, then copy the URL within the address bar. Then follow the steps above – ‘Link to a PDF’.

The red arrow on the image here highlights where you will find the URL that you need to copy.

Find the URL and link to a PDF within WordPress

And voila!

To summarise uploading a PDF in WordPress

  1. Log in to the WordPress admin area.
  2. Select Media, then Add New.
  3. Click Select Files.
  4. Find the file, select it, click Open.
  5. The file takes a moment to upload to the Media Library.

To summarise linking to a PDF in WordPress

  1. Open the PDF file from the Media Library.
  2. Highlight everything within the field named Copy Link.
  3. Control-C to copy.
  4. Navigate to your page or post.
  5. Highlight the text, image or button.
  6. Click the paperclip icon in the menu that appears, top left of the block.
  7. Control-P to paste.
  8. Click the Submit button – the ‘return arrow’.
  9. Hit Update to save the page.

Click to view my WordPress training course

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8 thoughts on “How to add a PDF to WordPress (and link to it)”

  1. Hi Kelly,
    I might just be thick, but I uploaded a pdf and want to create a link to it from one of my WordPress pages, but it doesn’t have a URL right now, just a filename. When people click on it, I want a new WordPress tab to open that shows the contents of the pdf. Is this possible using WordPress.com?

    1. Hi Gerry, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

      When you say TAB do you mean a tab/button on the main menu? You would need go to APPEARANCE > MENUS. Here you would need to create a main menu, and then add a custom link to that main menu. You will need to paste the URL for the PDF into this. Save the menu.

      To open in a new window is another step. In the same edit menu area, drop down SCREEN OPTIONS (very top of the screen on the right). You need to have LINK TARGET clicked. Now go to your custom link and check the box that says OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW.

      I just warn you that Google likes to see links opening in SAME WINDOW (which is probably why WordPress has this turned off). Google believes users should have the choice if they open the link themselves.

      Does that help?

    1. Hi Stephen, that is a PDF, which has been uploaded to the Media Library. To have it open, just create a link to it as described in this post. Kind regards, Kelly

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