Send PDF Documents via WhatsApp

Over the past weeks, WhatsApp had an update to its mobile apps. Whatsapp, which has grown from simply being a free texting service to the go-to app for communication, seem to be making series of updates to their app just to make it easier to keep in touch with family and friends. I can count the number of times I receive or send a text message from or to anyone on my phone (using my mobile phone carrier), in the entire month! Whatsapp allows you to send audio messages, pictures, contacts, location and even make audio calls; all these for free except for data charges.


Then recently, I discovered a new feature – ability to send a document via WhatsApp. This is a big addition to the number of things you can send and is fast becoming the basic app for fast immediate communication with close people. Now, you can send PDF documents to another WhatsApp contact as long as the person also has an updated version of WhatsApp.

How to send documents via WhatsApp.

  1. Make sure you have the most recent version of WhatsApp. If you’re not sure, go to your mobile app store, search for WhatsApp and see if there is the update button. Click update if you see the button highlighted.
  2. Go into WhatsApp, click a contact and click the attach button (red arrow below).
  3. Select ‘Document’ and select the document you want to attach (blue arrow below).


Document sending Limitations.

  1. Only supports pdf documents for now (I guess). This means you cannot send word (or any other) documents via WhatsApp. I think though that they will work towards supporting other document formats soon.
  2. You can’t send to a contact who doesn’t have the latest version (just like WhatsApp call). So if you try to send a document and it says ‘the person needs to update WhatsApp to receive a document’, then send a message to your friend and ask him/her to update their WhatsApp.
  3. Only loads pdf documents available in the download folder, of your internal sdcard. To work around this limitation, navigate to the pdf file you want to send via your file manager instead. Select the file and click ‘share’ or ‘send’. Then select WhatsApp. It will ask you to select the contact you want to send it to, select and send.
  4. Sending to a group is more difficult because apparently everyone in the group needs to have the ability to receive documents by having the latest version of WhatsApp. What you can do as well is to send a message to the group and ask everyone in the group to update their WhatsApp.


Did you receive a document via WhatsApp? Find it here!

  1. Open your file manager
  2. Locate your internal memory, not your external memory card (usually named as ‘sdcard’)
  3. Navigate to Card/WhatsApp/Media/WhatsApp Documents/

Of course, the file will always remain accessible from inside the chat, just like pictures and images work.

Other WhatsApp Tips

  1. All you need to get the latest features of WhatsApp is to update to the latest version. Don’t respond to messages asking you to click a link to have a certain feature in your WhatsApp.
  2. Don’t forget to adjust the preference for automatic download of the different media in the app settings.


Just like I would rather send my friend the picture I snapped, on WhatsApp rather than via email, I would also most likely also send my colleague or friend that document via WhatsApp, rather than email. This becomes very relevant with student groups who use WhatsApp for collaborative activities. A student can send a file (picture, video, and now document) via WhatsApp and the conversation around that document can begin right inside WhatsApp. This is much easier than having students comment on emails with attachments back and forth!

What do you think of this new update in WhatsApp? Have you ever sent a document via WhatsApp?

Join the conversation


  1. I’ve loaded a document in pdf format and only the other admin can see it. They all say they have the latest version. Is there anything I’ve forgotten to do?

    1. I don’t see what you’re forgetting. Once you and all members of the group have the latest version of WhatsApp, you can send & receive documents (not just pdf) to each other or to a group. I have, however, sent you an email.


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