How to Embed PDF in HTML: A Simplified Guide for Web Developers

By Cristian G. Guasch •  Updated: 09/18/23 •  7 min read

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How can I embed a PDF in HTML?”, well, you’re not alone. It’s a common query among web developers and website owners looking to provide their audience with comprehensive, downloadable content straight from their websites.

Embedding a PDF file in HTML isn’t as complicated as it sounds; it’s actually quite straightforward once you get the hang of it. With this technique, you’ll be able to incorporate documents seamlessly into your webpage without forcing users to download them separately.

In this guide, I’ll explain the nitty-gritty of embedding PDFs in HTML – no obscure tech jargon or complex codes. By the end of this article, you’ll have mastered the art of embedding these handy files onto your site like a pro!

Understanding the Basics of PDF Embedding in HTML

I’d like to start by saying that embedding a PDF in HTML isn’t as complex as it might seem. In fact, it’s a process that involves just a few simple steps. The backbone of this task is the <object> or <embed> tag, which are core elements in HTML for displaying external content.

Let me walk you through how this works. Let’s say we’ve got a PDF file named ‘sample.pdf’. If I want to embed this document into my webpage, I’ll simply use the <object> tag like so:

<object data="sample.pdf" type="application/pdf" width="700px" height="700px">
    <embed src="sample.pdf">

This snippet tells the browser to load ‘sample.pdf’, and defines its dimensions on our webpage.

Alternatively, using the <embed> tag can also get us where we need to be:

<embed src="sample.pdf" type="application/pdf" width="700px" height="700px"/>

Here’s something interesting though: there’s no definitive answer as to which tag works best – it often depends on your specific needs! While they both serve similar functions, there are subtle differences between them. For instance, unlike <embed>, the <object> tag allows you to include alternate content within it for browsers that do not support embedded documents.

It’s also worth noting that some older versions of certain browsers may have compatibility issues with these tags. Therefore, always ensure your website is optimized for cross-browser functionality!

So there we go – embedding a PDF in HTML really isn’t rocket science once you get the hang of things! Just remember: practice makes perfect. Happy coding!

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Embed a PDF File in HTML

Before we dive right into the intricacies, it’s essential to understand that embedding a PDF file in HTML is relatively straightforward. The key lies within the “embed” tag of HTML, which has been designed for this exact purpose.

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

First off, make sure your PDF file is uploaded on your server and you know its URL. This URL will be the source (src) of your embed tag. Now let’s get our hands dirty with some real coding. In general, an embed tag for a PDF might look like this:

<embed src="your_pdf_url_here.pdf" type="application/pdf" width="100%" height="600px"/>

In the above example, replace ‘your_pdf_url_here.pdf’ with the actual URL of your PDF file. Here, width and height attributes define how large the embedded window should be on your webpage.

Let’s say I have a book review website and I want to embed a sample chapter from one of my favorite eBooks hosted on my server at ‘‘. Here’s how I’d do it:

<embed src="" type="application/pdf" width="100%" height="800px"/>

Now that chunk of code will display my beloved sample chapter right there on my web page!

But wait! What if you want different dimensions? We’re all about customization here. Let’s say you want the viewer to see only half of their screen filled up with your content; just tweak those percentages!

<embed src="" type="application/pdf" width="50%" height="600px"/>

There you go! You’ve successfully embedded a PDF file into your HTML code. The power of the embed tag is not limited to PDFs only, but that’s a topic for another day.

Exploring Third-Party Tools for PDF Integration

In the world of web development, it’s not uncommon to face challenges. One such challenge is integrating PDF files into HTML content. Luckily, there are several third-party tools available that simplify this process.

Google Docs Viewer is one handy tool I’ve often turned to. It’s simple to use and doesn’t require any prior programming knowledge. Here’s a quick example of how you can embed a PDF using Google Docs Viewer:

<iframe src="" style="height:600px; width:100%;" frameborder="0"></embed>

This code creates an iFrame on your page where the specific URL of your PDF file will be displayed.

Another excellent tool worth mentioning is Scribd, a digital library that offers a robust platform for document sharing. Using their iPaper application, you can easily embed your PDFs in HTML with just a few lines of code:

<iframe class='scribd_iframe_embed' src='' data-auto-height='false' data-aspect-ratio='0.7729220222793488' scrolling='no' id='doc_35896'  width='100%' height='600px' frameborder='0'></iframe>

You should replace ‘ID’ with the ID of your document on Scribd.

Lastly, let me draw attention to another third-party service – SlideShare by LinkedIn. Offering both free and premium memberships, SlideShare allows users to upload and share publicly or privately PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and Adobe PDF Portfolios.

Embedding a SlideShare presentation in your webpage could look something like this:

<iframe src="//" width="100%" height="600px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Replace ‘KEY’ with the key of your document on SlideShare.

These are just a few examples of third-party tools that can be used. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to analyze your specific needs before making a decision.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with PDF Embedding

Let’s dive right into it. If you’re having trouble embedding your PDFs into an HTML document, don’t worry; I’ve been there. It can be a frustrating experience when your embedded files aren’t displaying correctly, but I’m here to help get things back on track.

First off, sometimes the problem lies not in your coding but in the browser itself. You see, some browsers may have issues rendering the embedded PDF if they’re outdated or lack certain plugins. A quick solution? Try updating your browser or installing necessary plugins (like Adobe Reader for instance).

However, if that doesn’t do the trick and you’ve double-checked to ensure that your embed code is correct, another likely culprit could be the file path of your PDF. Here’s a tip: always make sure the path to your PDF is accurate and follows proper syntax rules:

<embed src="path-to-your/pdf-file.pdf" width="600px" height="500px" />

Now keep in mind – paths can either be absolute (starting from root directory) or relative (from current directory). So if you’ve stored your PDFs in a subfolder called “pdf-files”, an example of correct relative path would look something like this:

<embed src="pdf-files/my-pdf-file.pdf" width="600px" height="500px" />

Sometimes though, even after ensuring all these factors are as they should be, problems persist. In such cases, it might boil down to restrictions set by web server configurations or security protocols preventing loading of external resources.

To wrap up this section – remember that troubleshooting tech issues often requires patience and methodical testing. Don’t lose hope! It can take a bit of time and tweaking before everything runs smoothly.

Cristian G. Guasch

Hey! I'm Cristian Gonzalez, I created HTML Easy to help you learn HTML easily and fast.

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