How do I fill out a metadata spreadsheet?

Scribd's PublisherTools system supports 2 major formats for uploaded metadata: spreadsheet or ONIX file. This FAQ explains how to fill out a metadata spreadsheet. If you would like more information about ONIX please see our other topics.

Downloading a spreadsheet template

The PublisherTools service is designed to work with metadata in a very specific format. We offer a template for our metadata spreadsheet; download it as an Excel (.XLS) spreadsheet.

Filling out a metadata spreadsheet

The metadata template must remain in a very precise format to be understood by the PublisherTools service.

  • Do not use any template other than Scribd's.
  • Do not add additional columns.
  • Do not hide or remove any columns.
  • Do not add any rows above the heading (row 3).

To fill out the template:

  • Enter your username in row 2, column B.
  • Starting on row 4, create a row for each publication you intend to upload in this batch. Enter the appropriate metadata in each column, following the guidelines described below.


The title of the publication. This will become the document's title on Scribd and is required.

Exact File Name

The name—including extension—of the file you uploaded to Scribd's FTP server. This is the field that's used to correlate an uploaded file with its metadata, so it must match exactly. However, do not include the name of the directory to which you're uploading the file.

You may not see files' extensions on your computer if it's configured to hide them. A file named “9780470644331.pdf”, for example, may appear as a PDF icon with the name “9780470644331”. You must still enter the complete name (“9780470644331.pdf”) in this column. If you have any difficulty, showing these extensions on your computer may help reduce confusion; offers helpful instructions for MacOS X and Windows users.

If your documents are identified by ISBNs, it's strongly recommended that you name the files using those ISBNs. If your documents are not identified by ISBNs you may choose any convention for the names of your files, but you must keep using the same convention throughout your workflow.

Short Description

A brief summary of the contents of the publication. This will appear next to the document or, on some pages, when you hover over the document.

This field is optional and you can leave it blank. The document will not have a description. In some locations on Scribd the first few sentences of the document may be shown where this summary would have appeared.


Enter one or more tags (aka keywords), separated by commas. Tags may contain spaces, so it is very important to insert commas between different tags. Tags are not case sensitive, though we generally recommend using all lower-case characters.


If you enter one of the following values the document will be added to the corresponding Scribd category:

  • Art & Design
  • Reviews
  • Op-Ed
  • Letters to Our Leaders
  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Brochures/Catalogs
  • Business/Law
  • Creative Writing
  • Government Docs
  • How-To Guides/Manuals
  • Magazines/Newspapers
  • Puzzles/Games
  • Recipes/Menus
  • Research
  • Resumes/CVs
  • School Work
  • Speeches


These categories are based on the top-level categories found on the website and may change as Scribd's library grows.

This field is optional and you can leave it blank. The document will remain uncategorized, which may make it harder for readers to locate in Scribd's Explore pages. You can set or change a document's category at any time. Please see our guides for more information about editing your documents' properties from the website.


Using a 13-digit ISBN is recommended, but you can use 10-digit ISBNs. However, the ISBNs you use here should be the same as the ISBNs you use for the file's names and the “Exact File Name” column. The ISBN may contain hyphens but they are not used. If the ISBN starts with “0” you must ensure it isn't removed when you save the spreadsheet. Many spreadsheet programs will remove leading zeroes by default. Using only 13-digit ISBNs and using our metadata template will help prevent this.


This field is optional and you can leave it blank. The document may be slightly harder for people to find using Scribd's search engine but will be otherwise unaffected.

List Price

This optional field can contain the list price of the document. If the document is selling for less on Scribd (see “Price to Sell on Scribd” below) and you provide the list price here, then near the “Buy Now” button readers will see how much they would save.

Price to Sell on Scribd

The price buyers will be charged on Scribd for the document, in US dollars. The price must be at least $1.00. The dollar sign (“$”) and any commas (“,”) are removed. The decimal point (“.”) is optional and may have 1 or 2 digits following it.

The following are all valid examples:

  • $1.00, 1.00, $1.0, and 1 are equivalent.
  • $4.50, $4.5, and 4.5 are equivalent.
  • $6.99 and 6.99 are equivalent.

The following are not valid:

  • “0.99” is less than $1.00.
  • “$3,99” does not correctly use a decimal point (“.”) to separate dollars and cents.
  • “$4.999” has too many digits following the decimal point.
  • “€3.50” is not in US dollars.

Free Content

If you specify a price of 0, the document will be freely available on Scribd. There will be no "Buy" button and the entire document will be shown in its entirety to everyone. This is ideal for promotional material, excerpts, and other free content. The "preview pages setting" and "preview pages specification" columns will be ignored if the price is 0.

Download Options

When a document is for sale and public, anyone can see its free preview but nobody can download it. Once someone purchases it, you can allow them to download a copy to read offline on their own computer or device. Set the value in this column to one of the following:

  • “download-pdf” — This setting enables buyers to download the PDF version of the document.
  • “download-pdf-orig” — If the original format of the document is something other than a PDF, you can use this setting to make both the PDF and the original format downloadable by those who purchase it.
  • “view-only” — If you use this setting, leave this field blank, or set it to a value not listed here, the document will be set to “view only.” Buyers will be able to read the document online on using their web browser, but they will not be able to download copies to their computer.

Preview Pages Setting

When a document is for sale and public, anyone can see a subset of its pages as a free preview. The pages that prospective buyers see should offer good insight into what the rest of the document contains—between 50 and 75 pages is ideal. This column and the next (“Preview Pages Specification”) determine how many and which pages toshow in the free preview. Set this column to one of the following values:

  • “automatic” — Let Scribd automatically determine the right amount of content to show.
  • “max_pages” — Scribd will show a a certain number of pages, but will automatically select which ones. 
  • “max_percentage” — Scribd will show at most a certain percentage of the document, but will automatically select which pages or sections.
  • “page_range” — Scribd will show exactly the pages you specify.
We generally recommend you enter "max_percentage" unless you have a specific reason to choose a different option. We require the use of "max_percentage" if your submissions are in ePub format.

Preview Pages Specification

When a document is for sale and public, anyone can see a subset of its pages as a free preview. The pages that prospective buyers see should offer good insight into what the rest of the document contains—between 50 and 75 pages is ideal. This column and the previous one (“Preview Pages Setting”) determine how many and which pages to show in the free preview. Depending on what you entered in the “Preview Pages Setting” column, set this column to one of the following values:

  • If you entered “automatic” in the previous column — leave this field blank
  • If you entered “max_pages” in the previous column — enter a whole number from 1 to the number of pages in the document. E.g.: 30
  • If you entered “max_percentage” in the previous column — enter a whole number from 1 to 100. You can also enter a decimal number between 0 and 1 (e.g. “0.2”) and it will be converted to a percentage.
  • If you entered “page_range” in the previous column — enter the exact pages that should be displayed. The first page is always numbered 1. Commas and ranges can be combined to produce something like “1-10, 21, 72-91”.
For most cases, we recommend setting the previous column to "max_percentage" and showing between 10% and 20%.

Publication Date

This field helps ensure content isn't published ahead of schedule. Enter the date, using the forward-slash (“/”) as a separator, in one of these formats:


If any item in the metadata spreadsheet has a publication date in the future, Scribd will queue that document for publishing on the correct date.

Always use a 4-digit year and a numeric month (i.e. “1” or “01” for January, “2” or “02” for February,etc.). Other formats than these may work, but your results may be unexpected. If you leave this field blank, the FTP service will not perform this validation and will assume that the document should be published.

Action Button Link

If your PublisherTools configuration is setup to include an "action button" on your documents, use this field to specify the URL a person should be taken to when they click the action button. Use this, for example, to help people to find out more about a book on your own website.


If you organize your content into collections on Scribd, you can easily add your new uploads to them. Enter the full, exact name of a collection; the document will automatically be added to the collection. If the collection doesn't already exist it will be created. You can add a document to multiple collections by separating each collection name with a newline.


If you enter anything in this column, the document will not be published or updated. Instead, if it exists on Scribd it will be removed. If nobody has purchased it, it will be deleted altogether. If it has been purchased, it will be made private so that it can be accessed only by you and people who've already bought it. Leave this column empty for normal submissions.

If you enter a value into the "Delete" column then you do not need to provide most of the other metadata for that record. You only need to include the "title", "exact file name" and "ISBN" columns.

Reserved Columns

There are columns in the spreadsheet that are reserved for special uses. Leave those columns empty.

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