Attaching a downloadable PDF to WooCommerce products

Woocommerce attach pdf to product

Are you looking for a way to add a downloadable PDF to your WooCommerce product pages? Or perhaps you want to let customers upload their own PDFs during the purchasing process? Whatever the case, I'll show you how to do it in a few simple steps.

PDF files are a common and convenient way to share information online. Whether you want to share product manuals, instructional guides, or allow shoppers to provide bespoke designs, adding PDF features to your eCommerce store is a surefire way to improve your customers' experience and conversions.

In this tutorial, I'll guide you through two methods for handling PDFs on your WooCommerce product pages:

  • Method 1: This method will allow you to display downloadable PDFs on your product pages by adding an extra 'Downloads' or 'Documents' tab. You can do this using the WooCommerce Product Tabs plugin, either on its own or by integrating it with Document Library Pro to provide a searchable PDF library of product-related downloads.
  • Method 2: This method will allow your customers to attach a PDF file to the products they're ordering using the WooCommerce Product Options plugin.

Keep reading to learn more about each method.

Method 1 - Add downloadable PDFs to WooCommerce products

Why add downloadable PDFs to your WooCommerce product pages?

WooCommerce product tabs with document downloads tab

Adding downloadable PDFs to your WooCommerce product pages is more than just a nice touch; it adds value for visitors looking to purchase your products. Let's look at some use cases that showcase how PDF files can improve customer experience and conversions:

  • Product manuals and guidesIf you sell items like electronics, appliances, furniture, or anything that requires assembly, adding PDF manuals or user guides reassures customers that they have the necessary resources and support to use the product effectively.
  • Size chartsFor apparel and accessory websites, a size chart is essential. Providing this information in a downloadable PDF ensures that customers can order the correct size, reducing returns due to sizing errors.
  • Specification SheetsProviding product specification PDFs for electronics, machinery, or industrial equipment gives customers a comprehensive overview of the product's features. This helps them make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Product brochuresA product brochure with high-quality images and descriptions can serve as an additional marketing tool for cross-selling and upselling.
  • Product CertificationsDisplaying PDF certifications for quality assurance, authenticity, or adherence to industry standards provides an extra layer of trust to convince customers to choose your brand over others.
  • Terms of service or license agreementsFor software or digital goods, making the terms of service or license agreements readily accessible transparently communicates the legal aspects and usage rights associated with your product.
  • Educational materialsFor educational products, offering supplementary materials as PDFs exclusively to certain user roles can add value and encourage customer sign-ups.

Now that we've explored the various use cases, let’s look at some of the benefits as well.

Benefits of attaching downloadable PDFs to WooCommerce products

Adding downloadable PDFs to your WooCommerce product pages has several advantages. Some of these benefits include:

  • Rich user experiencePDFs can offer detailed information to customers about a product, resulting in a rich shopping experience. Offline access to product details, usage instructions, and other essential information is of significant advantage, as 88% of shoppers consider that product content plays an important role in their purchase decisions.
  • Increased conversionsPDFs are viewable on multiple devices and allow for easy sharing with others. This ease of access and versatility can influence people’s purchasing decisions, thereby potentially increasing conversion rates.
  • Differentiating factorOffering detailed PDFs can help distinguish your WooCommerce store from competitors. For example, giving customers a richer set of product data can help them make informed choices.
  • Reduction in returns and customer service loadWith access to complete product information via PDFs, customers are less likely to encounter surprises post-purchase. This helps reduce return rates and the workload on customer service.
  • Showcasing productsDownloadable PDFs are also great for showcasing related products, serving as marketing tools that introduce customers to more items, potentially driving additional sales.

Which plugin should you use to attach PDFs to products?

WooCommerce has a built-in feature that lets you add downloadable files as digital products. However, if you want to add PDF files that are not digital products, you'll need to use a plugin or have it custom developed using PHP and other coding languages. It's better to use a plugin because is an easy, convenient, and cost-effective solution.

Depending on your specific needs, there are many plugins available that can help you attach PDFs to your products. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • WooCommerce Product TabsThis WooCommerce plugin allows you to add extra tabs to your product pages, where you can insert any type of content, including text, images, PDFs, audio, video, and shortcodes. This makes it ideal for displaying product information via PDF in a user-friendly, accessible way. You can use the WooCommerce Product Tabs plugin to add a ‘Downloads’ or ‘Documents’ tab and upload your PDF files for customers to download. It also lets you customize the tab icon, order, and visibility.
    Add downlodable PDF to WooCommerce product page in a custom tab
    A website using WooCommerce Product Tabs to add a simple PDF download link to a product page tab
  • Document Library ProFor those who have a lot of document files and want to create an extensive searchable WordPress PDF library, Document Library Pro is a great plugin. The add-on works as a download manager and allows you to quickly create, manage, and display searchable documents. It also lets you keep track of the number of downloads. You can use it alongside WooCommerce Product Tabs if you want to add a table of downloadable documents to your product page and list them in a structured format.
    WooCommerce product tabs with document downloads tab
    A website using WooCommerce Product Tabs and Document Library Pro together

Now that we've explored the various plugins available, let's dive into the step-by-step process of attaching a downloadable PDF file to your products.

Step-by-step: How to attach a downloadable PDF file to your WooCommerce products

The below section will explain the step-by-step process of using the WooCommerce Product Tabs plugin to add downloadable PDF files to your product page.

  1. Purchase and install the WooCommerce Product Tabs plugin.
  2. Go to Products → Product Tabs and click on the Add New button. You can add as many tabs as you like for each product.
    Add new custom tab to wooCommerce product page
  3. Fill in the title of the tab. For example, you can name it ‘Specifications’ or ‘Manuals’ or whatever is relevant to the file you're uploading. In the text box below, enter any text or media you want to appear on the tab. For example, you can write a brief introduction or description of the PDF file.
    Add custom tab title and description
  4. To add a downloadable file, click on the Add Media button above the text box. Upload a PDF file to your WordPress Media Library and select it once uploaded. Make sure it has a suitable file name, as this is how it will appear on the front end. You can also add any other content to the tab, such as images, videos, or shortcodes.
    Add PDF to custom tab
  5. Once you have added the files, scroll down to the Conditions box to add visibility conditions. You can either display the custom tab on all product pages or choose specific products, categories, or tags.
    tab display condition
  6. Next, add a tab icon if you want, and then click the Publish button to make the custom tab live on the website.

That’s it! Your tabs will now show up on the front end of your product page, allowing users to browse the information in the tabs and download any attached files.

You can also integrate this plugin with Document Library Pro if you want to create a searchable PDF library of product-related downloads. Let's look at how.

Add a searchable PDF library to the product page tab

If you have more than three PDF files to attach to a product, then you may want to use the Document Library plugin. This plugin allows you to create a WordPress PDF library that can be embedded anywhere on your site, including the extra product tab you just created.

Here's a reminder of what it looks like:

WooCommerce downloadable product specification documents

It also lets you customize the appearance of your document library and add features to it such as filters, columns, categories, download buttons, and more.

Follow the below steps to add a searchable PDF library to the extra product page tab we created in the previous section:

  1. Purchase and install Document Library Pro.
  2. Complete the setup wizard and navigate to Documents → Add New.
  3. Upload your PDF file to the Media Library and fill in the document details, such as title, description, category, and more. Adding a category or tag is important as it'll help us filter PDFs in a custom tab.
    Upload PDF to Documents Library
  4. Repeat the process for all the PDF files you want to add to your product page.
  5. Go to Documents → Settings and configure the options for your document library, such as fields to display, layout, columns, filters, and design.
    Document Library layout options
  6. Open the custom tab you created and paste the following shortcode [doc_library doc_category="drone"] to display documents from a single category. Replace 'drone' in the shortcode with the name of the category you have used. You can add the shortcode to any type of page in WordPress, for example Elementor pages where you're viewing PDF's.
    add PDF library shortcode to custom tab
  7. Click on the Update button to save the changes.

Your PDF library will now show up on the front end of your product page, allowing users to search, filter, and download the documents.

Method 2: Allow customers to attach PDFs to products they're ordering

So far, we've focussed on displaying downloadable PDF files to users. But what if you want customers to be able to upload their own PDF files, which are then attached to the product they're ordering?

Another way to add a file upload option to WooCommerce products is to let customers upload their own files to a product. This can be useful for different use cases, such as:

  • Personalized gifts: Customers can upload images or messages to be printed on personalized gifts like mugs, t-shirts, or photo frames.
  • Printing services: Customers can upload documents or images they want to be printed and delivered.
  • Custom artwork: Artists can allow customers to upload images that they want to turn into custom artwork.
  • Repair services: Customers can upload images of items that need repair for a quote.
  • Consultation services: Customers can upload necessary documents or previous reports for online consultation services.

You can easily add a file upload option to your product pages with the WooCommerce Product Options plugin. It allows you to create a customizable product attachment by adding a file upload field. You can further customize this field by restricting the file types, setting a maximum file size, and even charging extra fees for file uploads. The PDF is then added to the custom order so that you have easy access to it while processing the order. It appears in the customer account page and also as an email attachment link to the store manager.

WooCommerce extra product options file upload
Allow customers to attach a PDF to a product before adding it to their cart

Not only that, but it also lets you add other fields such as text, checkbox, radio, select, image buttons, color swatches, and more. 

Setup instructions

Here are the steps to follow to add a PDF file upload option to your product page:

  1. Install the WooCommerce Product Options plugin.
  2. Go to the Products Product Options tab and click the Add Group button.
    woocommerce product options add new options group woocommerce add text field to product
  3. Give it a name and choose specific products or product categories for which you want to enable file uploads.
  4. Scroll down and click the ‘Add option’ button and then select the ‘File upload’ option.
    woocommerce product options add image upload field
  5. Fill in the option label, and description, and set a price for the file upload option if you want.
    woocommerce product options image upload field settings
    Optionally charge a fee when customers attach a PDF to the product
  6. Expand the ‘Advanced settings’ toggle to set the maximum file size, number of files, and allowed file types. For example, you can limit the file size to 10 MB and the file types to just PDF, PNG, or JPG.
    woocommerce product options enable image uploads
    Choose the allowed number of PDFs that customers can attach, plus the maximum PDF file size
  7. WooCommerce Product Options also lets you add other options such as checkbox, dropdown, radio buttons, and more to further personalize your products.
  8. After you've added all the options, click on the Update button to save your changes.
upload my design business card options
You can even use conditional logic to show the PDF upload field based on the customer's other selections

Your upload file button will now show up on the front end of your product page, allowing customers to attach PDFs or other files to their WooCommerce orders. A link to these files is added in the order email notification to store owners as well as the customers.

Next steps: How will you attach PDFs to products?

There are two methods for adding PDFs to your WooCommerce products. Depending on your use case, you can choose one of the following plugins:

  • WooCommerce Product Tabs: Use this plugin if you want to add PDFs such as manuals, guides, or brochures to the extra tabs on your product pages. You can also integrate it with Document Library Pro to create a searchable PDF library of product-related downloads.
  • WooCommerce Product Options: Use this plugin if you want to let customers upload their custom design PDFs during the checkout process. You can also use this plugin to add other types of custom fields and charge extra fees for file uploads.

That's all! Start adding a PDF option to your product pages and enhance your WooCommerce store.

2 Comments

  1. This tutorial on attaching PDFs to WooCommerce products is a total game-changer! Your step-by-step guide makes it so easy to enhance product offerings.

    • Hi NwoowNews. Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad to know that you found this article helpful. Cheers!

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