Free and paid: The best WordPress PDF viewers of 2024

Wordpress pdf viewer

Want to add a PDF embedder to your WordPress site? Here, I've rounded up the top WordPress PDF viewer plugins to help you display PDFs on your site, generate book cover-style images for PDFs, eand more.

WordPress is full of useful features. But a PDF viewer isn't one of them.

By default, WordPress admins can upload PDFs with text links. However, the PDFs open in new tabs and can take ages to load — not the best user experience for your site's visitors.

That's where WordPress PDF viewer plugins (or PDF embedder plugins) come in. The best PDF viewer plugins let your site visitors preview PDF files directly on the website, download them quickly, provide helpful file management features, and much more.

In this post, I'll share the top PDF embedder plugins for WordPress websites, starting with our own - Document Library Pro.

What makes a great WordPress PDF viewer plugin?

There are tons of PDF embedder plugins, and they all do different things. So, how do you choose the right one for your website? Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing a WordPress PDF viewer plugin:

  1. User-friendly interface: The point of adding a PDF viewer plugin is to improve users' experience on your site. Your chosen plugin should have a clean design and an intuitive, easy-to-navigate user interface. Features like filter options, search bars, and preview and download buttons are invaluable as they significantly improve users' experience.
  2. Compatibility and responsiveness: More than half of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Opt for a plugin that is compatible across various screen sizes. Also, it should seamlessly integrate with your WordPress theme and provide a consistent experience whether your site visitors are on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device.
  3. Search functionality: I mentioned this earlier, but it's worth repeating. Adding a search bar and filter options makes it easier for users to sort through PDFs on your site and easily find what they want.
  4. Theme: Your PDF viewer shouldn't look out of place on your website. Opt for a plugin that blends in with the rest of your site automatically and that you can further customize its color scheme and overall appearance. It also needs to work with page builders, for example if you need to embed PDF's in an Elementor page.

Our Top 8 WordPress PDF Viewer Plugins

These are the best PDF viewer plugins for WordPress at a glance:

  1. Document Library Pro
  2. EmbedPress
  3. DearPDF
  4. GravityPDF
  5. Embed PDF Viewer
  6. TNC Flipbook - PDF Viewer for WordPress
  7. Flipsnack
  8. PrintFriendly

Document Library Pro

Document Library Pro sales page screenshot

Document Library Pro is a simple-to-use PDF viewer plugin that lets you embed and display PDFs (and other types of files) on your WordPress site. Web visitors can easily open, view, download, and interact with PDFs as if they were saved on their devices.

Here are some of the features Document Library Pro provides that we think make it the best PDF Viewer plugin.

Document Library Pro's key features

PDF library with robust search, sort, and filter options

This feature sets Document Library Pro apart from other PDF viewer plugins.

Essentially, it lets you upload and manage PDFs from your WordPress admin dashboard. Then, you can list them in a searchable table or grid layout on your site's front end with custom filters and sorting options.

demo document library pro

Listing PDFs in a searchable library makes it easier for admins to manage files. At the same time, it enables visitors to your site to quickly search for specific keywords or use filters to narrow down their choices.

Showcase PDFs in a list or folder view

You can effortlessly present your PDFs as a single list or nest them into folders and sub-folders. The folder view is handy for sites with a diverse range of files. You can create folders to categorize files based on topics, projects, or other criteria.

Document library with folders

If, for instance, you're a teacher uploading PDFs to make it easier for your students to access courses, you can add folders for each subject and sub-folders for each topic. This way, students can quickly identify and access the documents they need.

Preview and embed PDFs

If you don't want your site visitors to download the files, you can enable the preview option to allow people to view PDFs in a popup window without downloading them.

List LearnDash course materials in a tiled grid

Users can preview PDFs via a lightbox. They can also embed them from third-party sites like Google Docs, Dropbox, or use a Flipbook plugin (I'll recommend a couple of options later).

Customize the appearance of buttons
Table folder layout

There are plenty of button designs and styles to choose from. You can opt for PDF icons, buttons, download icons, and change the text as you like — whatever aligns with your overall design scheme.

A quick note: Besides enhancing your site's PDF viewing features, Document Library Pro lets you add, embed, and display audio, images, videos, and other file types on your WordPress website, among other additional features.

Pair Document Library Pro with our popular Password Protected Categories plugin to restrict user access and create a private document PDF library.


wordpress pdf viewer - embedpress

With over 80,000 active installations, EmbedPress is a popular freemium plugin that lets you embed and display PDFs (as well as posts, videos, audio, images, maps, etc.) in just a few clicks.

You can embed PDFs and other content from over 150 sources, including Google Docs, YouTube, Maps, Vimeo, Wistia, etc., and display them on your site via block editors like Gutenberg, Elementor, and the classic WordPress editor.

EmbedPress' key features

  1. It supports PDF content upload from 5 sources: DocDroid, ISSUU, Google Docs, Scribd, and regular PDFs.
  2. It's compatible with popular page builders and block editors, including Divi, Elementor, Gutenberg, etc.
  3. You can add on custom logos and call-to-action buttons for brand consistency across your PDFs. (Note: This is only available on pro plans).
  4. It integrates with the popular WPML translation plugin so that you can translate embedded content into multiple languages with ease.
  5. You can easily adjust the height and width of your embeds to make the experience user-friendly for site visitors. (Note: This is only available on pro plans).
  6. It lets you customize how the PDF appears by modifying the iFrame width, height, margin, padding, etc.

You can combine EmbedPress and Document Library Pro to embed documents on the single document page. That way, Document Library Pro provides the searchable PDF library and EmbedPress provides additional ways to view them.


wordpress pdf viewer - dearpdf

DearPDF is a freemium PDF viewer and 3D PDF flipbook WordPress plugin. It offers three modes to enhance your site's PDF viewing experience:

  • Vertical Viewer - This is the regular PDF reader. Best for PDF documents with different page sizes.
  • 3D PDF Flipbook - Converts flat PDFs to interactive, real-life books using cutting-edge WegGL technology. Best for visual-heavy PDFs.
  • 2D PDF Flipbook - Similar to the 3D PDF Flipbook option, this is best for visual-heavy PDFs. It uses CSS and HTMl5 tags to create interactive, flippable flipbooks.

DearPDF's key features

  1. It offers three options to view PDFs: Vertical Viewer, 3D Flipbook, and 2D PDF Flipbook.
  2. You can add a table of contents for site visitors to navigate and locate PDFs quickly.
  3. It comes with a basic button popup that displays PDFs on demand, ideal for presenting multiple PDFs on a single page.
  4. You can turn PDF downloads on or off to control whether users can download the PDF directly from your site.
  5. You can add a 3D PDF book cover for a more realistic book structure.

DearPDF and Document Library Pro work well together. Combine them to embed documents on a single document page.


GravityPDF generates PDFs from user submissions on your WordPress site. Here's a quick overview of how it works: Site visitors fill in their details via online forms created with Gravity Forms. GravityPDF automatically creates a PDF with the submitted details and sends it via email to site admins and (optionally) the site visitors.

This plugin is perfect for e-Learning and WooCommerce sites that need to send custom PDF invoices to customers after their purchase. However, it's only a good option if you use Gravity Forms to create your website contact forms.

GravityPDF's key features

  1. It lets all users (including those using its free version) create unlimited PDFs.
  2. Submitted user data stays on your server, and documents are generated directly to ensure privacy and security.
  3. You can generate links or URLs to the created PDFs using shortcodes and merge tags so site visitors can easily download forms after submission.
  4. It lets you add watermarks and custom branding elements, including logos, header, footer, paper size/orientation, font, color, and PDF size.
  5. You can enable users to preview PDFs before submission, which is ideal for capturing e-signatures or providing proof before printing the PDF. (Note: This is only available on pro plans).

Embed PDF Viewer

pdf embedder wordpress_embed-pdf-viewer

Inspired by now-defunct Embed PDF and RV Embed PDF, Embed PDF Viewer is a simple plugin that performs just one primary function: it adds a PDF uploader block to the Gutenberg block editor.

This is a straightforward, lightweight plugin for websites that don't need the extra features robust PDF viewer plugins offer.

You can combine it with Document Library Pro to embed documents on a single page on your site.

Embed PDF Viewer's key feature

  1. It lets you embed PDFs directly from your site's media library, via oEmbed, as a block, or via Google Doc Viewer.

TNC FlipBook - PDF viewer for WordPress

wordpress pdf viewer_pdf-viewer-for-wordpress

TNC FlipBook is another popular plugin that lets users convert PDFs into flipbooks and embed them in their WordPress pages or posts.

It's a great option if you're looking to showcase restaurant menus, eBooks, product catalogs, product documentation, product manuals, flip magazines, flyers, brochures, reports, etc.

TNC FlipBook's key features

  1. It provides a top-notch flipbook format for showcasing PDFs and allows site visitors to interactively navigate pages by flipping them like an actual book.
  2. There are no restrictions on file size or the number of files you can upload.
  3. It supports password-protected PDFs and PDFs with fillable forms, bookmarks, links, and attachments.
  4. You can easily customize the PDF flipbook with your logo, add custom colors, select different viewing modes, and choose toolbar positions.
  5. It supports various PDF viewing modes, including flip, vertical scrolling, and horizontal scrolling.
  6. You can add multiple toolbar options — such as open, download, print, share, zoom, page navigation, rotate, presentation mode, and find — to allow site visitors to customize their experience.

TNC FlipBook is an excellent plugin overall. You can use it with Document Library Pro to embed PDFs on a single page on your WordPress site.


Technically, Flipsnack isn't a WordPress PDF viewer plugin. It's an online platform that allows you to convert regular PDFs into realistic-looking, interactive flipbooks (like Embed PDF Viewer and TNC FlipBook). However, unlike Embed PDF Viewer and TNC FlipBook, Flipsnack lets you embed and display PDF flipbooks on your site and share them via links, social media, emails, QR codes, and more.

Flipsnack is an excellent option for WordPress sites looking to embed and showcase PDFs for menus, catalogs, brochures, flyers, booklets, newspapers, etc.

Flipsnack's key features

  1. You can upload PDFs and convert them to interactive flipbooks or easily create them from scratch or using templates from the built-in Design Studio.
  2. You can easily add hyperlinks to your flipbooks for external website access or internal navigation.
  3. It lets you create a custom virtual bookshelf with preferred colors, thumbnail sizes, etc., to organize and showcase all published flipbooks.
  4. You can access comprehensive statistics within Flipsnack, including views, impressions, locations, engagements, etc.
  5. It lets you connect Google Analytics to your account or individual flipbooks to capture data on a granular level.
  6. You can exclude search engines from indexing your PDFs (in case you want to keep them private).

Flipsnack and Document Library Pro go hand in hand. You can embed your PDF flipbook into the Document Library Pro's single document page.


pdf embedder wordpress -printfriendly

PrintFriendly is a freemium PDF viewer plugin with a unique use case: it lets people convert your website's content to PDFs and share them via email. It makes your web pages printer-friendly; people can easily remove ads, sidebars, headers, and other unwanted content before converting them to print-ready PDFs.

This plugin adds a print icon to the front end of your WordPress site. When users click it, a lightbox window will appear, from which they can customize the settings and preview the final, printed version.

PrintFriendly's key features

  1. It's a freemium plugin: the free tier is ad-supported, while the premium version is ad-free. All users can use all its features.
  2. You can add custom headers, footers, and button styles and include copyright information in the print and PDF versions.
  3. It lets users generate PDFs with clickable links and supports custom paper sizes (A4 or Letter).
  4. Site visitors can customize the preview before printing and optimize the content as they prefer.
  5. It automatically detects end-users' language preferences and adjusts accordingly. For example, if a user's browser is set to Spanish, PrintFriendly will convert the site's content to Spanish.

PrintFriendly works with Document Library Pro to display print buttons above the searchable PDF library. Also, you can add the 'print' buttons to the single document page.

How to make PDFs viewable using Document Library Pro

Follow the steps in this tutorial to add a WordPress PDF Viewer plugin to your site:

1. Add Document Library Pro to your site

Installing the plugin is pretty straightforward:

  1. Buy and download the Document Library Pro plugin.
  2. Access your WordPress admin area and navigate to Plugins → Add New → Upload Plugin.
  3. Upload the Document Library Pro .zip file.
  4. Click Install → Activate.
  5. Input the license key in the setup wizard or on the dedicated plugin settings page at Settings → Document Library Pro.

2. Configure the main settings

Document Library Pro is a comprehensive PDF viewer and plugin file management plugin. This means there are lots of options to customize it. Here are the main PDF-related settings you need to configure:

  1. Default layout: Choose between two distinct layouts, Table and Grid, based on your preferences. I recommend opting for the table layout if you intend to embed and display many PDF documents in your library.
    Document Library Pro plugin - general settings
  2. Folders: You can use this option to organize and structure PDFs hierarchically, making it easier for your site's visitors to locate PDFs.
  3. Columns: This lets you tailor the columns to be displayed on the PDF table on your site's front end. There are built-in columns to choose from, and you can rename them as preferred.
  4. Link style and destination: 'Link style' controls how links appear. The options are Button with text, Button with icon and text, Text link, Download icon only, Button with icon, and File type icon. While 'link destination' controls what happens when a site visitor clicks on a PDF link.
    Download library plugin searchable
  5. Sorting and Search box: Enable this to add a sorting and search box to make it easier for people to locate PDFs.

Upload PDF files to your site

Choose from any of the five options below to add PDFs to your site:

  1. Upload individual PDFs.
  2. Embed PDFs hosted on third-party sites.
  3. The drag-and-drop method.
  4. Add PDF documents previously uploaded to your site's media library.
  5. Bulk CSV upload.

Let's explore each method in detail.

1: Upload individual PDFs

Use this approach to add a single PDF file to your site at a time:

  1. Navigate to Documents → Add New within your WordPress admin.
    Add document to library
  2. Update the document name, description, slug, featured image, categories, tags, and all the relevant information.
  3. Click on File Upload → Add File → Upload Files → Select Files.
  4. Select the PDF you want to upload and click the 'Add File' button.

2: Embed PDFs hosted on third-party sites

Use this approach to embed PDFs hosted on 3rd-party sites like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. Note that if you use this option, your site visitors won't be able to preview the PDF files as they're not hosted on your site.

  1. Head to Documents → Add New within your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Update the document name, description, slug, featured image, categories, tags, and all the relevant information as in the previous method.
  3. Click 'Document Link' and select the 'Custom URL' dropdown option.
  4. Add the PDF live link and hit 'Publish'.
  5. Paste the live link to the PDF and publish the document.

3: The drag-and-drop method 

Use this method if you want to upload multiple PDFs at the same time:

  1. Navigate to Documents → Import within your WordPress admin.
  2. Select the PDFs you wish to upload from your computer.
    Drag and drop files to document library
  3. Drag the files and drop them in the Import page → Drop files to upload area.
  4. Then, head to the 'All Documents' section to update details for the PDFs (categories, tags, slug, etc).

4: Add PDF files previously uploaded to your site's media library

Use this method to display PDF files already in your site's media library:

  1. Head to the Media Library area within your WordPress admin.
    Add Media Library files to document library
  2. Next, select the 'List view' and choose the PDFs you want to be displayed on your site's front end.
  3. Now, select 'Add to document library' from the Bulk Actions dropdown, followed by 'Apply'.
  4. Finally, click on the link near the top to update the document name, description, slug, and other relevant information for the PDFs.

5: Bulk CSV upload

Use this method to add multiple PDFs at once:

  1. Add details for each PDF, like the PDF URL, category, tags, custom taxonomies, etc, to a new CSV file.
  2. Head to Document Library → Import.
    Bulk upload files to document library
  3. Click 'Import CSV' in the 'CSV upload' section.
  4. Click 'Choose File,' select the CSV file you created earlier, then click 'Continue.'
  5. Select 'Run the importer'. Once the PDFs are uploaded, you'll see a 'Success' message and a link to edit them.

How to view WordPress PDFs on your site's front end

After installation, Document Library Pro adds a new page to your site's front end, which showcases the PDFs in a sortable, searchable list with filters. Head to Pages → Document Library page → View to access this page.

Alternatively, you can use shortcodes to showcase specific PDFs. Check out the Document Library Pro shortcodes article for more details.

Create user-friendly PDF viewing with Document Library Pro

In this post, we've looked at the top PDF viewer plugins for WordPress.

Although there are many options, the best WordPress PDF viewer plugin for most sites is Document Library Pro. 

Document Library Pro lets you add and showcase PDFs in a searchable, sortable, and filterable library on your site's front end. This makes it ridiculously easy for your web visitors to open, view, download, and interact with PDFs as if they were saved on their devices. With Document Library Pro, you can:

  1. Display PDFs in a library with powerful sort, search, and filter options.
  2. Organize and showcase PDFs in a list or folder view for your site's visitors to access quickly.
  3. Allow people to preview PDFs before downloading them
  4. Embed and showcase PDFs from third-party sites like Google Docs and Dropbox.
  5. Customize buttons and how they appear.

Get Document Library Pro today!

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