How To Download Scribd Documents For Free

Internet 02 Sep 2017
How To Download Scribd Documents For Free

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 two 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: Using the Page Source Code

The first of two methods used for viewing Scribd documents, this involves using Google Chrome 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.

Start by navigating Chrome (or your browser of choice, though we’ve only tested this in Chrome) 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 Chrome. 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 “‘ TITLE.” We’ll be using the number portion of that link in a moment.

Now, open up a new tab in Chrome. 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: “”. 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, don’t worry too much. We still have a second method to cover below.


Method Two: Uploading Documents

This method might seem even stranger than our first, but it’s the second most-reliable way to download Scribd documents for free on the web today. As with our earlier tests, we performed this in Google Chrome, though with less of a reliance on the browser, this should be able to be accomplished in any modern browser, including Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge.

Start by heading over to 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.


These are far from the only two methods for saving Scribd documents on your computer, but they’re by far the most simplistic and most reliable. And while other options exist, including using Greasemonkey as a script editor inside Chrome or Firefox to download the documents without workarounds, both methods above keep your browsers clear of any unwanted plugins while also providing a fast method to unlock Scribd information from your account. Neither method is perfect, but both have seen their fair share of success.

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