When I found a couple of years ago that WordPress will create thumbnails of uploaded PDFs, I was so happy, thinking I wouldn't have to make and upload separate PDF cover images to have a thumbnail display on my site as the link to a PDF. After some struggle I found that the images created from the uploaded PDFs aren't accessible for display on any public webpage. It seems logical to me that since these files are created when I upload a PDF, I should be able to access them, but this isn't possible. I want to clarify that I don't what to embed the PDF (some are very large), I just want the automatically-generated thumbnail to the be the link to the PDF.

I tried the plugin PDF Thumbnails, but it's clunky at best and it doesn't use the automatically-generated images; it has to create its own.

This seems like such a simple and obvious thing to do so I'm really surprised that this isn't possible "out-of-the-box". If I see the thumbnail in admin, why can't I see it on the live site, too?

The post Force documents to appear in Featured Image dialogue doesn't help me because the Twenty Twenty-three theme doesn't have the typical functions.php file and post-type template files, at least that I can find. I should also note that I am using multisite.


  • 1
    Untested idea: maybe hook into the upload process from a plugin and create an attachment from the pdf image? Would need custom programming though.
    – birgire
    Oct 19, 2023 at 22:44
  • Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer.
    – Community Bot
    Oct 26, 2023 at 13:29


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