Uploading Forms, PDFs, and Documents to WordPress

upload-documents-and-forms-to-wordpress

 

For WordPress newbies, uploading documents, PDFs, forms, and other files to WordPress can be confusing. Linking to those files and allowing downloads can be even more frustrating, especially if you are using plugins that employ similar naming conventions.

For example, Gravity Forms creates an admin section in WordPress called “forms.” This is, in our opinion, the best plugin for creating custom forms for entry directly on your website, like contact forms, message forms, etc. But if you want to upload a paper form that someone would download, print, and then turn into you in-person, you’ll need to handle this a different way.

 

Uploading Forms and Documents Using the Media Uploader

Media Admin

If you’re not using a form plugin, ANY other type of document you want to upload is then handled by the Media Uploader in WordPress. This includes PDFs, Text documents, Word Documents, PPT’s, Zip files, and more.
First, navigate to the Media section of your site. You’ll see the “Media” ¬†image and text in the left admin bar. It looks like the image to the left.

Once there, you’ll be presented with the Media Library, which shows all the images, videos, and other media files on your WordPress website.

Images will show actual thumbnail previews of your image file. Other media will show a sample document thumbnail, and they’ll all look the same, no matter the format of the file. That means pdf thumbnails will look the same as doc thumbnails.

Add a new document to your library by clicking the text link “Add New.”

You’ll be presented with a modal popup window that asks you to Drag a file onto the window or select files for upload.

If you have the folder handy on your computer simply drag the file you want to upload right onto that window. You can also click the “select file” button and it will open a file navigator on your computer. Find the file you want, select it, then click open. Whichever way you choose, WordPress will upload and “crunch” the file. When it’s done you’ll see a thumbnail for that file along with a link to “edit” that file.

Clicking edit takes you to the enclosure for that file. Once there, you’ll see the direct file link for that file, as shown in the image below:

Media Edit

Click image to enlarge

On the right, you’ll see the file details along with the FILE URL. The file URL is the direct link to that file. Typing or pasting that URL directly into your browser will take you to the file you uploaded. Depending on the file type and the viewer’s browser settings, the file will be handled in different ways. Most browsers will open pdf and document files directly in their browser window. That means your visitors can view the document directly in the browser without any special software needed to view it. Other browsers might be set to download those files to the user’s computer.

Linking to the Forms and Documents in Posts and Pages

There are 2 ways to include these newly uploaded forms and documents on your actual posts and pages:

  1. Using the direct File URL
  2. Using the Add Media button

Adding File Links with the Direct File URL

You can copy the file url from the previous step and use that in any post or page on your website. Simply highlight the text you want to use as a linked file. Then select the chain link icon above the post editor. Paste the File Url in the “URL” box. You can add a title and then click “Add Link.” Your file link will look like linked text like this: ¬†Linked Text Here, except your link will open a file, whereas our link here is blank – just an example.

 

Adding File Links with the Add Media Button


Add Media INsert

The second and easiest way to add a form or document to WordPress posts and pages is to use the “Add Media” button just above the post editor window.

Place the cursor wherever you want to add the document link and click the “add media” button.

Your media library will display in a window and you can choose from among your entire library.

Find the document you want to link to and click it once. On the right side of the screen, you’ll see an image like the one shown here.

It shows the document details, including name, title, caption, descriptions, and Attachment Display Settings.

Make sure the Attachment Display Settings shows “Media File” as the selection. That will enable the file to display when someone clicks the link.

Select “Insert into Post” and the document link will be added to your post or page editor as a text link with the title of the file.

If you have special plugins to handle media files and images on your WordPress installation, this folder view may appear different to you, but the major settings should appear the same as shown here.

 

Video Tutorial

As a bonus, we’ve included a short video explaining the process of uploading documents and attaching them to your WordPress posts and pages. You can view that video here or on our YouTube page. Remember, the video is shot in HD, so once you click pay hit the cog wheel icon on the bottom right of the video and make sure you’re using the highest definition your computer will allow – 1080p HD.

 

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here, or on our YouTube page. We’ll try to answer it as quickly as possible. And if there are other topics you’d like us to cover in a tutorial, please share that too!

 

 

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Craig Grella

Founder and Executive Director at OrgSpring
Craig is the founder and executive director or OrgSpring, a nonprofit dedicated to helping other nonprofits achieve their missions online. Through tips and tutorials, Craig's goal is show nonprofits how to use technology to become more efficient, grow their list of supporters, and increase online donations.