Add PDFs and Spreadsheets to WordPress

Uploading and displaying documents in WordPress is easier than it looks. But many people have trouble. They try to display documents on WordPress pages but find their efforts result in-text links that don’t look quite right. What happened? They’ve missed key some principles.

Here’s how I think about documents and WordPress and how to share documents in the most effective manner.

Know What WordPress Is Designed For

When users struggle with uploading documents to WordPress, it’s because they’re trying to do too much. Their expected result doesn’t match the result WordPress is designed for. They may expect their uploaded document to display in full on the WordPress page or merge with their WordPress page in some way.

But spreadsheets or slides are designed to be opened by specific computer programs. WordPress won’t “open” these. In fact, it’s designed to create and manage website files. Not edit open, or absorb other file types. Understanding this principle about files will help us choose the right tool for accomplishing the task.

But first, we have to clarify and confirm exactly what we want to do.

Understand Your Objective

The best way to start a task is always to make sure you completely understand your desired outcome. Then you can work towards creating what you want with the tools and processes you already know, or new creative solutions. Keep an open mind. There are often multiple ways to create the same result.

Sharing files is one of the most common needs websites fill. You might say it’s the original purpose of the internet. Web pages are files themselves that contain interactive text designed to link to other files

If our desired outcome is to share a file with users, then we need to host the file on a public server, document the file path or web address for the file, and create a text link to it from one of our web pages.

Host Your File And Link To It

WordPress offers an easy way to host small files in the storage space that comes with most website hosting plans. You can upload common file types like PDF, XLS, PPT, image files, and even short videos. Once your file is uploaded, it becomes registered in the WordPress Media Library. You can click a thumbnail to display information about the file, including the file URL (web address). With this URL, you can make a text link on any WordPress post or page.

There are many great how-to articles online that walk through the file upload process step by step. I found the following selections helpful.

When visitors click on your text links, the file will automatically download to their computer where it can open in the right application with full functionality. PDFs open up right inside most web browsers.

You might wonder how to display a spreadsheet within a web page. Or embed a slide presentation. Remember that your website files and files made by desktop applications don’t mix. The best approach and quickest solution will always be to offer such files as downloads using text links. However, your web developer or IT contact may be able to help you design a customized solution.

Simply Design Group has built hundreds of WordPress websites across many industries using our straightforward, collaborative process. Our custom WordPress websites are designed precisely to your requirements. Request a quote.