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A searchable PDF library for visitors

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Hi everyone, 

My client is a research organisation that produces a lot of PDF reports. As such, they want a library feature on their Squarespace site that will allow visitors to see all of their PDF reports, download them, categorise them, and search them. 

Does anyone know if this is possible and if so, what are the solutions? 

Thanks so much 🙂

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On 1/14/2023 at 4:32 AM, BritishDan said:

My client is a research organisation that produces a lot of PDF reports. As such, they want a library feature on their Squarespace site that will allow visitors to see all of their PDF reports, download them, categorise them, and search them. 

Squarespace is exceptionally good for on-page content but it isn't great for creating libraries of files. It's a serverless platform with no access to a 'filesystem' so you can only upload files one-at-time. Also, the built-in search tool isn't working very well either.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great visual platform and can be used for a document library but it will be more time-consuming to manage than other dedicated platforms. For example, to display one of the PDFs on the website, you'll need to add an on-page link by typing the document title or adding an image for it, upload the actual file, select the file from the list, click apply, click save. You'll then need to repeat this process for each individual file. It's fine for adding 3 files every now and then but it's a lot of work to add a library of 50. That said, people have created entire libraries using on-page content and PDFs, as The Nature Institute did - here's an example

For more information about Squarespace features, see uploading and managing files.

You could embed a third party service to manage your documents but, unless you're good at writing code, they generally don't look as good as Squarespace and you'll be totally reliant on the third party service to provide you with search or filtering capabilities and analytics information.

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Edited by paul2009
edited for clarity

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6 hours ago, BritishDan said:

Hi everyone, 

My client is a research organisation that produces a lot of PDF reports. As such, they want a library feature on their Squarespace site that will allow visitors to see all of their PDF reports, download them, categorise them, and search them. 

Does anyone know if this is possible and if so, what are the solutions? 

Thanks so much 🙂

I would suggest Airtable for the storage of the files and then embedding on the site. Notion can also be used, but it requires a third party to embed, and they would need the pro or business version, which are both paid.

Embed Notion is the service to use with Notion.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/14/2023 at 2:28 PM, sayreambrosio said:

I would suggest Airtable for the storage of the files and then embedding on the site. Notion can also be used, but it requires a third party to embed, and they would need the pro or business version, which are both paid.

Embed Notion is the service to use with Notion.

Thanks for this suggestion. Do you have an example of either solution? Both seem pretty complex and it would be great to see what the end result would look like and its usability before trying to create one. 


Do you have any other possible solutions? There seems to be lots of plugins for WordPress but I can't find much for Squarespace

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1 hour ago, BritishDan said:

Thanks for this suggestion. Do you have an example of either solution? Both seem pretty complex and it would be great to see what the end result would look like and its usability before trying to create one. 


Do you have any other possible solutions? There seems to be lots of plugins for WordPress but I can't find much for Squarespace

I don't have a PDF library type example, but this might give you an idea. It's for Airtable and a book tracker database, which could easily be converted for PDF storage. You can do the exact same thing in Notion.

https://www.airtable.com/universe/expvxkNSuZIwcAAle/book-tracker-database?explore=true

If you are familiar with Google (which most are) you could build out a library with Google Drive, Sheets, et cetera and maybe link to a button that takes them to a searchable database.

Edited by sayreambrosio
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