by Tony Gamble
WordPress started out as a simple, easy-to-use blogging platform. Since then, it has grown into so much more, a true Content Management System, but still with a focus on ease-of-use. When you publish, you don’t need to think twice about adding an image to your story. Employing an intuitive drag-and-drop Media Library interface, WordPress eschews the old-school Dreamweavery HTMLiness of Web publishing. You can bring your posts and pages to life quickly and with style. But did you know you can upload so much more than just pictures?
I am very often asked how one can offer a document file for their users to download. When I say it’s as easy as dropping in a photo, people still have a hard time wrapping their heads around it. Perhaps it’s because the action of adding an image gives you the expected visual feedback of showing the image inline with the body text. When you add a document, it shows up as hyperlinked text, linking back to the document you’ve uploaded.
Creating a nice visual link to the document is easy, too. It’s just a few more steps. First, add your document to the Media Library (either directly or through the post you’re working on). In the right column of the Media Library window, under attachment details, you’ll see a box labeled URL. This is a direct link to the document. Double-click anywhere in that box and press Command+A (or Control+A for Windows) to select the full link, or left-click and drag to select the full link. Copy that into your clipboard (CMD+C or CTRL+C). Now, add a picture or icon to your post the way you normally would, except in the attachment display settings, change the Link to dropdown menu to Custom URL and paste the link you’ve copied. If you had already added the image to the page without customizing the link, just hover over the image to bring up the pencil icon which leads you into the Image Details window.
Yes, adding a downloadable document to your WordPress Post or Page is as easy as that. The Media Library supports many document formats, including PDF, Word Doc, PowerPoint PPT and more. You can even upload audio and video, but note that your web host might have limitations on the size of the upload. To get around any such limitations, try a plugin like WordPress Download Manager which offers a myriad of additional features like download counter and password protection.