How to Embed a PDF Document Into Your Website

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embed a pdf documentMakeUseOf is no stranger to PDF documents as it’s home to a myriad of guides for all kinds of topics, and plenty of articles on PDF-reading and editing software (including online apps for conversions as well). There are also tips on how to search for specific text on PDF files and how to optimize them for better viewing on your portable devices.

Today, we’ll take a look at how you, the reader, can take your PDF documents and present them on your website without additional plugins, as all we will be using are embed codes. There’s a number of third-party websites that house your PDF files in their viewers. The most popular ones that have implemented improved features will be discussed after the jump.

Zoho Docs

embed a pdf document

Zoho is suite of superb office and productivity applications, among which is a web-based viewer that supports a lot more formats than Google Docs, including but not limited to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, RTF (rich text format) files, as well as OpenDocument text, presentation and spreadsheet files. Unlike the Google Docs Viewer, the Zoho Docs Viewer lets you upload a file you own (which you can publish so it will have a short, shareable URL) or paste the URL in the main page. Once you’ve uploaded your file and are viewing it online, you can grab the embed code at the Embed tab. There’s no required sign-up process.

embed pdf

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This viewer doubles up as a handy conversion service, which allows you to convert any of the supported document files to other file types.

Google Docs

embed pdf

For a simple web-based PDF viewer that can also display PowerPoint files, TIFF images, Microsoft Word documents, Google Docs also offers a viewer. If all you’re looking for is the document viewer, you don’t even have to visit that page. You just need to have published your PDF document so you can get the URL of the stored document and append it to the Google Docs Viewer address at http://docs.google.com/viewer so it just becomes http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=yourURLhere. Since the path also accepts the embed parameter, you can also embed a PDF document viewer in your website with iframes. Just copy the embed code on the Google Docs Viewer page.

embed pdf

Scribd

how to embed pdf file in html

Scribd is a slightly different breed when it comes to sites that allow document embedding. It is actually a document-sharing website for authors that want to publish their works online. You need to sign up for an account in order to finish uploading documents to Scribd, but once you do, you’ll have a beautiful viewer for your piece. Scribd also allows you to import any documents from Google Docs, as well as to create a document from pasted text.

how to embed pdf file in html

If you’re an author and have lots of works you’d like to share or sell, you can use Scribd and other popular document-sharing websites, such as DocStoc, Issuu, YouPublish, edocr (the free account has limited functionality) and YUDU, which really have a sharing focus so your documents can get as exposed as possible.

If you’d rather not use a third-party document viewer, FlexPaper will likely be the best option for you as a website owner.

embed a pdf document

It is an open-source web-based document viewer that you can download for non-commercial purposes at this website and upload it to your site.

Did we miss any other free online document viewers? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Wendell Fernandes

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Comments (23)
  • Jessica Cam W.

    That’s always an option. It’s always good to provide your website visitor
    with alternatives (viewing in-line versus downloading) though. For me, at
    least, if a website had a PDF viewer, that’d reduce hassle for me. :)

  • Freelance

    Seems like quite a bit of hassle if you work freelance, you could just put a download link on your site so people can download it – maybe I’m missing the point.

    • Jessica Cam W.

      That’s always an option. It’s always good to provide your website visitor
      with alternatives (viewing in-line versus downloading) though. For me, at
      least, if a website had a PDF viewer, that’d reduce hassle for me. :)

  • Liveforfood

    Can anyone translate this article into understandable English? So much techie jargon … But I do very much appreciate what they try to do at this website. Thank you for your efforts.

    • Jessica Cam W.

      Basically, if you have a PDF file you want to display in-line, without making your website visitor have to download the file in order to view it, you can use Zoho Viewer (or any of the other sites on this list) and copy the the code the service provides you so you can paste it on your website. Anyone who visits your website will see your PDF document in a widget-like object.

  • Elyse

    Thanks so much for posting this. It has solved my biggest problem with sharing through my bog. Appreciate it!

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.