Troubleshooting uploads and conversions

We're so excited you've decided to upload your content on Scribd! And it couldn't be easier! Publishing on Scribd amounts to a two-step process: uploading the document and then converting it. Uploading gets your documents from your computer to Scribd and then conversion transforms your documents from their original file formats to the beautifully displayed results seen in the embeddable Scribd document reader. Usually the publishing process happens quickly, but on occasion, one or both steps of the process may fail.

Upload Failure

Upload failures take different forms: an upload may freeze and never finish, it may finish but not appear in your list of documents, etc. However your content fails to upload, there are a few common issues as to why this happens:

Internet Connection

First and foremost, a successful upload needs a steady network connection. Most broadband users are fine on this front, but anyone with slow or "noisy" dial-up connections may have difficulty completing uploads. Try to upload on a steady connection to be sure that's not what's causing the trouble. 

Browser Add-ons/Extensions

Now, we know a large portion of Scribd members like to enhance their browsers with add-ons or extensions which help to make browsing easier or add extra layers of security to your system. If this sounds like you—and you know who you are—make sure that your browser security settings and add-ons like AdBlock, NoScript, etc. allow upload and download traffic from


The next thing to check is your computer's firewall and antivirus/anti-spyware security software. If you're unable to upload anything to Scribd, temporarily disable all virus/firewall/spyware software and try again. If the upload succeeds, carefully check the documentation for your security software and then re-enable your security software.

There are also cases in which workplace IT policies block sites like Scribd across the company. Unfortunately, Scribd cannot override client-side access preferences.


Every so often our upload system gets confused and chokes on filenames that are unusually complex, especially ones with non-English characters, which can causes an upload to freeze. Simply update the filename to exclude non-ASCII characters, and try uploading again.

Conversion Failure

If a document is uploaded successfully, but some or all parts of the document don't load or function as expected on, this may be an indication that Scribd did not properly convert the document after it was uploaded. 

Password-Protected Documents

Example of PDF security settings

A PDF is secured when the document's author uses PDF's built-in security mechanisms to limit features and prohibit further unauthorized editing by the public. Under the law, we must respect the security settings of the original source document and so secured PDFs (also sometimes called "encrypted" and "password protected") cannot be uploaded to Scribd.

A secure document looks no different from a standard document to the casual viewer. To verify a PDF's security settings, open it in your favorite reader and locate the security settings in the properties dialog. If a document is 'secure,' the PDF must be re-created with security features turned off. The screenshot to the right shows the "properties" page of a secured PDF in Adobe Acrobat.

Large Documents

Scribd officially supports documents up to 100 megabytes in size. Optimizing your document increases your chances of successful conversions. Users of Adobe Acrobat Professional should check out Adobe's online instructions for reducing PDF file size and using the Acrobat PDF Optimizer. There are also a number of third-party optimization tools available from your favorite software archive.

PDFs that use layers and transparency often exhibit problems when uploaded to Scribd. If parts of the document look right but certain elements seem to be missing, you might be experiencing a transparency-related problem. If you use Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can use Acrobat's “Flattener Preview” function to flatten the layers, taking transparent areas into account. Then upload the flattened version to Scribd. In recent versions of Acrobat Pro the Flattener Preview is available from the “Print Production” submenu under the “Advanced” menu. Once you save your file there's no way to "unflatten" it, so you might want to save it under a different filename. Thanks to our member surps, a.k.a. RealPsychSolutions, for this tip!

Corrupt or Malformed Documents

Corrupted or malformed documents run a higher risk of conversion failure, even if the error is not visible in the body of the document. Errors are more liable to crop up in documents loaded with extraneous meta-data, tracked changes, revisions, uncompressed images and vector drawings, embedded multimedia, and the like.

If a Microsoft Office/ document persistently fails to convert, open the document in its original application and re-save a fresh copy in the original format. If the upload still fails, try saving the document in a simpler format, such as .rtf (rich text format). If errors persist, convert the document to PDF and then upload to Scribd.

Documents with Hyperlinks

During the conversion process, Scribd identifies links present in your current document and then duplicates them in the online document viewer. In other words, if links work in your Word document, PDF file, or PowerPoint presentation, then they'll usually work on our site. 

Before reporting misappropriated hyperlinks, please make sure they work in the original document before you upload it, including transcribed webpages. In other words, the text "" will not automatically turn into a link to that address after the document is uploaded to Scribd. Instead, you must explicitly make the URL a clickable link in the original document before you upload it.

PDFs created through a printer driver (print-to-PDF) typically do not contain working hyperlinks, even though URLs present in the document may appear blue and underlined. Some applications may also print directly to PDF, displaying your link as blue and underlined (but still not functioning), which Adobe Reader will automatically view as a working link simply due to the HTTP formatting. If you convert your documents to PDF exclusively through a printer driver, it may be best for you to upload the document in its original format whenever possible. Commercial PDF encoders (such as Adobe Acrobat) and office applications that can save directly to PDF (such as Microsoft Office 2007 and OpenOffice) will create PDFs with working links.

Scribd may also have problems parsing the links in Word documents that contain lots of meta-data and tracked changes. In this case, we recommend saving a fresh copy that does not contain any extraneous data and then uploading the new copy.


If you're still having issues in the uploading process, please contact Scribd support and explain the issue in detail and let them know about any error messages; they'll do their best to try and help get your work published on Scribd. 


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