How To Download Scribd Documents For Free

Posted by Jamie on March 27, 2019

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

First, it’s important to note that this is method one for a reason. Although we have three methods on this list, this is the one that we’ve had the most luck with, and as of March 2019, it’s still the one that works reliably. However, it’s not perfect, so if this method ever goes down, let us know in the comments and try our other two methods below.

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”

Gordon Ramsay says:
Method 1 has been patched
Favour says:
Hi there…
Method 1 worked for me. I am using Microsoft’s edge browser (if you find that relevant).
Rhea says:
Method 1 no longer works
Mackenzie says:
method one worked for me! thanks for saving me from buying an 800$ textbook!
Dongerino Frapuccino says:
Worked like a charm, thank you! πŸ˜€
hinami says:
28th Aug 2019: Method 1 no longer works as there is no Download link anymore, only a link to sign up for the trial.
Unknown says:
As of 29th Aug 2019 the download link is there
Pete says:
Method 1 still works, August 3rd 2019 (Downloaded Charisma on Command by Charlie Houpert). Fun fact: I actually uploaded something useful instead of garbage. Method 2 on FireFox gave me the same .swf file as on Chrome.
Test says:
I use to get Method 1 to work… now I can not. It does not give me a “download” option anymore before I upload… Just 30 day trial button
helda luz barrientos says:
no tengo targeta de credito
Sahil says:
Didn’t bother with the 1st method. Tried the 2nd method, but didn’t work for me. The third method worked brilliantly. Installed lots of un-blur script at once, so don’t know which one worked, however now I have access to the document I wanted. So, thank you so much for the hack. Loved it!
Matheus Justino says:
#1 worked! Thanks a lot! <3
Mark says:
Method #1 Worked perfectly ! Thanks !
Alex says:
#1 is Excellent! It worked for me. Thanks!
Rex says:
June the 5th 2019
Didn’t try Method 1 as it asks me to put my payment info (and I won’t)
Method 2 didn’t work
Method 3 worked partially, had to download GreaseFork unblurring add-ons to GreaseMonkey to make it work (tried different ones, some didn’t work)
Wibble says:
Method 1 (upload any document) working May 2019. Thanks.
Kemmler says:
Thanks dude! It works perfectly! May 2019
Lomo says:
Yes…. It’s work for me April 2019
BT says:
Thanks, works on april 2019 :))
Prince Daniels says:
Method 1 worked perfectly. Thanks so much.
Kurt says:
I have a subscription to scribd. I have also 5 Greaseonkey downloaders. How do I actually save a document to my PC? (and not as a swf.)
kaiki says:
method 1 is still working..its great
Downloader says:
Method 1 still works on 19, Feb 2019. Thank you !
Bob Loblaw says:
First still works – Feb 19, 2019. Generated a Lorem Ipsum doc, saved it as html, opened it in Word, saved as a .docx then uploaded it and downloaded the file I needed
Krong says:
Thank you so much! 1st Method works hehe
Tine says:
AS OF NOV 27, 2018
Method 1 still works.
larrybud says:
The lack of knowledge in this thread is amazing. Method 1: When you paste a link into your browser, it doesn’t matter what page you’re currently on, or if you uploaded or anything, it’s a new web request to download. So if the document is free to begin with, it will download. If it’s not free, it won’t download.

Nothing magical or “hackish” about it.

Jim says:
10. 11. 2018 Method 1 still works πŸ™‚
Emre says:
Yes, still working and it’s the easiest method. πŸ™‚
Thanks Jamie.
SC says:
Method 1 worked as of 18 Oct 2018. Thanks for the tip. Not sure why this is not publicised on Scribd itself at the point of download
Willi Stoph says:
as of 2018-10-01 methode #1 still works, thankyou for sharing !
Dainty says:
Method 1 works like magic!! You are amazing. Thank you for this
tytechjunkie says:
Method 1 works for textbooks. They rearranged the format so now the upload link is at the bottom.
Danz says:
IT WORKS! Method 1 Works! Thanks!

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