How To Download Scribd Documents For Free

Posted by Jamie on January 20, 2018

Originally marketed as the “YouTube” for documents, Scribd began its operation as a way for anyone to publish and host their documents and writing online. Born out of the need for one of the site’s creators to host his father’s medical research without having to pay for publication and wait over a year for the documents to be published, the site gained notoriety in 2009 after signing a deal with several publications, including The New York TimesHuffington Post, TechCrunch, and several other blogs and publications to host their documents, as well as for their Scribd Store, which allowed users to sell digital copies of their work online.

Since then, Scribd has morphed into an online subscription service, built to read millions of eBooks, comics, and more online with a Netflix-like subscription service. Despite this refocus on more mainstream titles and novels, Scribd is still used by millions of people daily to host and share online documents using the platform built by the site itself. In the site’s documents section, you’ll find historical papers, political documents, poll results, and plenty of other information for use in your college assignments, term papers, or just as a general document of interest. And while viewing these articles is free by itself, albeit with some limitations on certain documents, downloading this information to your computer is limited for often than not.

While you should avoid downloading and using others’ documents without paying for a monthly Scribd decision, at the end of the day, certain users—students specifically—may find it difficult to pay for the research and other documents provided on the website. Luckily, there are some ways around these restrictions. Though the three methods outlined below are both occasionally hit or miss, they often can be used to bypass the Scribd security and subscription measures, making it easy to view the documents necessary for your next project or paper. Here’s what to do.


Method One: Uploading Documents

Our first method for downloading Scribd documents on the web today relies on uploading a document of your own to a Scribd account, in order to gain access to the document you want to download. We’ll be performing our test in Google Chrome, though you should be able to accomplish this in any modern browser, including Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. Start by heading over to Scribd.com and signing up for a new account. Alternatively, if you already have an account with Scribd, you can use your existing account by logging in. Scribd supports accounts with both Facebook and Google sign-ins, so starting a new account is as easy as clicking a button and linking your account. Once you’ve signed in, find the document you want to download and copy the URL down to an outside source, like a Google Keep note or Word document.

From here, you’ll want to click the “Download” option on the right side of your display. This will automatically redirect you to a page designed to help you set up your Scribd subscription, complete with a 30-day trial. Above this page, however, you’ll see an option to upload files from your computer, with a button that reads “Select Files to Upload.” Click this button and, on your computer, prepare any kind of document. If you have a word processor installed on your computer, like Word or Apple Pages, you can use that to create a short, meaningless document. Alternately, you can use Google Docs to create a free document on your computer, and download it to your device. The document can contain anything, including straight gibberish; we recommend using a Lorem Ipsum generator if you’re having trouble figuring out what to write. When your document is uploaded, provide a title for the new file and hit “Save.”

Now, grab that URL we saved earlier in this process and paste it into the address bar at the top of your web browser. A download button should load on your device, and you’ll be able to save the Scribd document to your computer. However, we should mention that, thanks to recent updates from Scribd, we’ve had some difficulties performing this without first editing the HTML code using the inspect button on your browser. It’s not a perfect solution, but once you edit the HTML for the View button to lead to your device, you can download an HTML version of the page, allowing you to take the document offline. If you have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro (check with your school or teacher), you can convert the HTML document to a PDF.

Method Two: Using the Page Source Code

The second of two methods used for viewing Scribd documents, this involves using Mozilla Firefox to view the page’s source code to gain access to the page’s info. As mentioned above, we’ve experienced some hit or miss results with this method, but since it only takes a couple minutes of your time to try, it’s worth trying anyway. You’ll know this method has failed if you receive a message that announces an invalid key error. Otherwise, let’s get going with your Scribd document. This was originally our top-recommended way to download Scribd documents without paying for a membership, but we’ve heard from enough users having difficulty with this process to demote it to a backup method.


Start by navigating Firefox (we can’t suggest using Chrome, as Chrome generates a .swf file that never manages to download) to the Scribd document you’re looking to save to your computer. Though Scribd also carries full-length novels and other works of fiction, we recommend only using this for nonfiction documents and other sources for your projects, papers, and research. Inside your document’s preview, right-click the document and select “View Page Source” from the menu. This will open a new tab in your browser, displaying the source information for your Scribd target.

In this new page, hit Ctrl+F to open the Find in Page UI in Firefox. In this field, enter the phrase “access_key,” and upon finding the result in the Scribd source code, highlight and copy the code to your computer. It should be an alphanumerical code, and appear as ‘key-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.” Now head back to the original document page in your browser and look at the URL in the top of the browser. This time, we’re looking for the document ID number in the URL of your specific page. Unlike the access key, the document ID is listed in the URL, and consists of several numbers. The URL should appear as “‘https://www.scribd.com/read/NUMBER/DOCUMENT TITLE.” We’ll be using the number portion of that link in a moment.

Now, open up a new tab in Firefox. We’re going to create a new URL using the information provided us by both the access key, the document ID number, and the following partial URL: “http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=NUMBER&access_key=key-ACCESS_KEY”. When you’ve pasted this URL into your new tab, replace the number section with the document ID and the access key area with the access key you grabbed earlier. Following this, you’ll have to wait a few minutes for the page to load as your documents begins to download from the Scribd servers. Once your document has finished loading, use the print option to print to PDF, and your document will be saved to your computer.

If this method doesn’t work for you, and you receive some form of error message from Scribd, retry using the first method listed above. Users have reported to us that their preferred method uses the document upload method listed above.

Method Three: GreaseMonkey Scripts

For this next step, you’ll need to use one of multiple different Greasemonkey scripts to download your document, in addition to using Firefox. This has been hit or miss with us as well, especially as extensions and plugins age and Scribd continues to update their site. Still, it’s worth mentioning if only for the sake of completion. The first thing you’ll need to make sure you have is Firefox. Greasemonkey is a Firefox-only extension, and though Tampermonkey exists for Chrome, we’re going to need to use Firefox for this one. Install Greasemonkey from the Firefox plugin store, and head over to this site to install the Scribd Greasemonkey extension. There are actually several of these that exist online, and each may be worth trying until you find the correct one for you.

With your Greasemonkey script installed, you should be able to download Scribd documents within your browser using the download key that appears on the top of the page. That said, because Scribd is constantly changing their site, we can’t always guarantee that you’ll be able to find a script that works. In our tests, we found success using the script here, along with some of the scripts on GreasyFork, which also include options to de-blur documents on Scribd.


Unfortunately, the nature of Scribd means that these methods are far from perfect. Scribd doesn’t want users to access their document collection for free, and therefore, these methods are always up in the air for whether or not they’ll work. Typically, trying to force Scribds hand will get you somewhere, from a full-blown document downloaded from their servers to a saved and converted HTML document that can be used for PDF files. As always, we update this article once every couple months with the newest information we can, and our comment section is a great way to see who else is having success downloading from Scribd. None of the methods performed here are by any means perfect, but with enough time, energy, and effort, making progress within Scribd to gain access to documents for your homework or studying isn’t too far away.

30 thoughts on “How To Download Scribd Documents For Free”

ayoobi says:
method 2 works fine under internet explorer
Naveen says:
1st method works, thanks a lot.
md faique says:
1st method works like a charm
amit Kumar says:
1st Method works!!!!!

Thanks buddy!

maria says:
Method 1 just worked for me. Thanks!
Andrews says:
Method 1 worked perfectly for me but I was given a file with swf extension when I used method 2. Thank you
mj says:
showing this error after 2- 3 downloads “We’re sorry, but your computer or network may be sending automated download queries. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now”.
Yo says:
Method 1 worked! April 24th 2018
zaffy says:
the first method works ! thanks dude !
sunny bhandari says:

first method really worked .nice work

Blessed says:
But is it valid only for documents ? No for book?
Ilovetechjunkie says:
The first method actually works guys, thanks a lot tech junkie peeps!!! By the way a lot of your articles are really helpful to us all.
igoa says:
The first method from the guide works
Thank you very much :))
kenken says:
the first method works. thanks alot
Andrew says:
1st method worked for me – 3/31/18
JOHN DOE says:
Method 1 works!! – March 7th, 2018
SolidSteak says:
Wow, the first method actually worked!
Thanks a lot!
Ana says:
The first method works, just tried it. 05 March 2018. Thank you for this article it didn’t approve my credit card to start the trial. If anyone has trouble, contact me, I’ll help you.
Indie Jone says:
None of these methods work anymore March 4th 2018
www.page-rank.pl says:
That is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.

Brief but very precise information… Thank you for sharing this one.
A must read post!

ihightower says:
Method 1 worked just fine for me today. (21feb2018)
Method 2 had an error pop up.

In Method 1, I didn’t see a “upload” button in the “30 day trial” page.. but this didn’t stop me.. all i need to do is paste the upload url copied from the original page…
then follow through with the step.. it worked great!!! thank you.

it worked on 21feb2018.. it did.. it worked..

follow steps properly.

Jason says:
Havent been able to use Method 2 since last year. An error which states that the document is no longer flash embed. = (
Tried with several different files. I would appreciate a work around for method 2.
rodzmar says:
thank you
Dan says:
Use Mozilla Firefox for this. Will not work on Chrome.
Nimi says:
The uploader has changed to pick only from local directory. So we can no longer give a web address. The changing key and doc id method downloads an swf file. So neither works:-(
Rusty says:
Same. Could use an update.
Nimi says:
I found a way to do it. You have to save an empty file as said above. Once done, a link will be provided for you to share the document. Copy the link address.Now right click on that box and choose inspect. Find the link address there and replace it with the document address you want to download. Now if you select the view button.. it will take u to the document where u can download it.
struggling says:
just try method 2 guys, much simpler – from a desperate person who has been struggling for 15 mins to download one single file
Afd says:
Ive been doing just like it said, but it leads me into .swf files, anything wrong with that ? because i cant open it
Anon says:
A method that works currently is simple. You see, they load the pages then put the block over it. in firefox, you can go to tools, page info, media, and it will show you all loaded pages.

So scroll all the way through the document, then select all the image files in the media section that are actually pages, and you’ll have your data

thisworks says:
BEST METHOD – it’s not a full-quality PDF but the other methods don’t seem to work anyway. — Jan 27, 2018
febri says:
Thank you, you make my day.
if someone confuse with 2nd option just try this.
1. sign up to scribd
2. upload whatever file use generator to fillc contain with word
3. if done, then open your url that you want to download, it will be downloadable
Daniel says:
Where does the download button appear I can’t see it?
Dave says:
Do you see all the way on the right side and almost all the way at the top, how there is an icon of four arrows, pointing away from each other? Then immediately to the left is a printer icon, and to the left of that, an arrow pointing down. The arrow pointing down is the download. Good luck!
johnny says:
how do you download from method 1 thru firefox?
Nath says:
From computerhope.com :

“To view the source code of a web page in Mozilla Firefox, follow the steps below.
Press Ctrl+U on your computer’s keyboard.
Open Mozilla Firefox and navigate to the web page of your choice.
Press the Alt key to bring up the browser’s menu bar.
Select Tools, Web Developer, and then Page Source.
Tip: With the latest versions of Firefox, pressing the F12 key or Ctrl+Shift+I brings up the interactive developer tool. This tool provides much more interaction with the source code and CSS settings, allowing users to see how changes in the code affect the web page immediately.
View a section of the page’s source code
Highlight the portion of a web page for which you’d like to view the source code.
Right-click that highlighted section, and then click View Selection Source.
Tip: Use the Firebug add-on to not only view the source code of a page but change and view those changes live through the browser.”

Hyuga says:
thumb up for 2nd method..TQ
kezzy jones says:
How did you get it to work? any help here please.
ididthistoavoidgivingoutmyinfo says:
Method 2 still works even though they seemed to have redesigned their site a little and some of the button names have changed.
daniel says:
Pls what is the new representations on their site

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