How to Upload Digital Files to Etsy

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If you’ve read some of the other blog posts on this site, then you know that printables and digital files are some of the best items to sell on Etsy. But do you know how to upload digital files to Etsy and how to sell them after you do?

This post will tell you how to create a digital listing on Etsy, upload your digital files to Etsy, and offer you other tips to ensure your buyers are satisfied with the digital files they purchase.

Types of Etsy Digital Files

There are two types of digital files that Etsy deals with – instant downloads and made-to-order downloads.

Instant Downloads

Instant downloads are premade files that are ready to download the minute someone purchases your file. Most of your files will fall into the instant download category.

Made-to-Order Downloads

Made-to-order downloads are something a little different. These are downloads that you customize for the buyer.

Sometimes, this is as simple as changing the name within the file, so it’s specific to the buyer. Other times, it’s more complicated and includes creating an entirely new file for the buyer.

How to Create a Digital Listing on Etsy

Before creating your digital listing, you need to have a digital file to list. When you create these digital files, you can take a few steps to ensure the buyer receives an item they are completely satisfied with.

Printable Size

Offer as many print sizes as you think would benefit the type of printable you’re creating. For example, planner printables come in a range of different sizes designed to fit different sized planners. Create all of your printable sizes before you list your printable.

Be sure to use standard sizes for the country where your customers live. That means 8.5” x 11” or 5” x 7” in the United States or A4 in other countries like the United Kingdom or Australia.

Printable Quality

When it comes to quality, make sure your printables are at 300 dpi – dots per inch. A printable at a lower dpi will come out blurry and can look smudged. 300 dpi will ensure that your printables are of high-quality resolution. This can usually be achieved by exporting as a PDF of the highest quality.

To help with this, make your larger-sized printables first and then scale down. For example, if you’re creating art, you would first create a 20” x 16” printable and then scale it down to 10” x 8.

Labeling Your Printable Files

When you save your printables, make sure that they are clearly named. You want to make it as easy as possible for the buyer to identify which printable they need.

If, for example, you’re selling to buyers in the United Kingdom, then you might name your printable and then include the size, such as A1, A2, A3, and so on.

Similarly, if you’re selling printables in the United States, the file name might include the size.

Other Digital File Tips

Do a test print before uploading any printables to an Etsy listing. Make sure what you’re offering buyers is the correct size and comes out in 300 dpi. You want to make sure your customer is satisfied with their purchase.

Also, include instructions with your downloadable files. If you’re selling large art files that might benefit from professional printing, say so in the instructions. Tell the customer the best places to go to have the file printed professionally and instruct them on how to transfer it.

You want to make this process as easy as possible.

How to Upload Digital Files to Etsy

Whether you’re working with zip files or the digital files you created, you will need to upload them to Etsy.

Under the “Digital Files” section of the listing, click “Upload files.” You can choose up to five files to upload.

How to Add Files to a Made-to-Order Digital Listing

The made-to-order digital listings are slightly different because you cannot fulfill the order until someone buys it.

To upload files to the made-to-order digital listing, you need to navigate to “Shop Manager” in your Etsy account. Once there, select “Orders & Shipping.”

You will find the incomplete orders you need to fulfill under the “New” tab. Choose the order you want to complete and check the box next to it. Click “Complete order.”

Click the “Upload file” button. Similar to Etsy’s rules on instant download listings, you can upload up to five files. The maximum size is 80 MB in total.

Once your files are uploaded, click “Complete order” once again.

Etsy has more details here.

How to Change the Digital File Attached to an Etsy Listing

Sometimes you’ll attach the wrong file to your digital listing, and you’ll need to switch it out for a different file.

When that happens, start by clicking the trash can icon next to the file that you want to remove.

To add a new file, click the “Upload files” button.

You can use this method to change files in an instant digital listing after publishing or saving the listing.

Etsy will not allow you to save or publish an instant digital listing without files attached.

Best File Type for Etsy Digital Downloads

The best file types to use for your digital downloads are the ones most common in the niche you are selling in.

For digital products, this is usually .pdf, .jpg, .png, .svg, .jpeg, .gif, and .doc.

Search Etsy to see how others packaged similar printables to determine which file types you want to use. Pay close attention to the items with an Etsy bestseller badge. Look into whether there are two printables per page or a single printable on a page.

Does this item offer PNGs or PDFs? Are the printables offered as JPGs? In some instances, online printing services such as Walmart will only accept JPGs. If you believe a professional printing service is something your customer needs, then you might want to offer your printable in a JPG format.

Some niches, such as art or wedding invitations, have higher printing standards than others.

On the other end of the spectrum, things like party games are usually only used once, so a basic offering like a PDF is acceptable. Think about the product you’re creating and what a customer might want when deciding what file type you want for your digital download.

Digital File Types Accepted on Etsy

Etsy accepts many different types of files, and they serve different purposes depending on what you’re selling.

The files include the following:

  • · .bmp
  • · .doc
  • · .gif
  • · .jpeg
  • · .jpg
  • · .mobi
  • · .mov
  • · .mp3
  • · .mpeg
  • · .pdf
  • · .png
  • · .psp
  • · .rtf
  • · .stl
  • · .txt
  • · .zip
  • · .ePUB
  • · .iBook

Files like .mpeg and .mov are for videos. While files like .ePUB or iBook are for digital books. When it comes to printables, you’re probably not using any of these files.

Etsy File Size Rules

The downside of offering high-quality digital downloads is that they tend to be large files. Etsy has limitations on the size of digital downloads you can provide in a listing and the number of digital files you can offer per listing.

You can upload up to five digital files per listing. According to Etsy, each file can be a maximum size of 20 MB.

How to Upload Files to Etsy Over 20MB

There are a few ways to get around this limitation.

Using a File Server

If you are trying to upload massive files, consider using a file-sharing tool like Dropbox. You can upload your files to Dropbox, which will not only help you get around the file size limit that Etsy imposes, but it will also get around the limit on the number of files you can upload to Etsy for a single listing.

Dropbox offers free accounts. When you get a free account, you can upload up to 2 GB of data for free, which should be enough space to serve your purposes.

If you choose to upload your files to a third-party file-sharing site, you will need to upload a PDF to your digital download listing on Etsy. The PDF should include links to each of the files you uploaded to your file-sharing site for the digital download listing on Etsy. It should also include detailed instructions on how to retrieve the files and what to do with them once they’re downloaded.

Uploading Zip Files to Etsy

Another option is creating zip files. Zip files are collections of files compressed together to make a single, smaller data file. The smaller size makes the data easier to transport from one place to another. With a zip file, you can group several digital items in a single file and then upload them as one.

You do not need to worry about data loss when using a zip file. When the buyer purchases the digital download and receives the zip file, they can unzip it and receive the files within without any data quality loss.

Zip files are another way to get around Etsy’s five file limit per listing.

How to Compress Files

If you decide that you want to use zip files in your Etsy listings, you’ll need to create the zip files. This is known as compressing files.

How to Create a Zip File on a Mac

To create a zip file on a Mac, CTRL+click the file or folder you want to compress. Then, choose “Compress” from the shortcut menu.

If you are compressing a single file, the zip file will save with the file’s name followed by .zip. If you are compressing a collection of files, the zip file will save as “Archive.zip.”

How to Create a Zip File in Windows

To zip a file in Windows, right-click the folder that you want to compress and point to “Send to.” A new menu will open, and you will select “Compressed (zipped) folder.” You will create a new, zipped folder.

How to Upload Digital Files to Etsy on an iPad

While Etsy has a Seller’s app, as of right now, there is no way to use the app to create an instant digital download listing.

However, you can still use your iPad to upload digital files. Simply use the browser and log into your Etsy account from the browser. Once you’re there, you can create a listing just like you would on a desktop computer.

Information to Include with Your Digital Files

The digital files themselves aren’t the only thing you should include in your Etsy listing.

There should also be detailed download instructions for every buyer.

If your printables need to be accompanied by instructions, they should be included in the download materials. This includes formatting instructions, printing instructions, and instructions on using the printables once they’re downloaded.

How to Download Etsy Digital Files

Once a buyer purchases a digital download from your store, they should receive an email from Etsy notifying them that their digital download is ready to download.

Sometimes, buyers get confused, and they either can’t find the email they received from Etsy or have lost it. Either way, they often turn to the seller (you) for help instead of Etsy.

The process to access digital files and download them is relatively simple. The buyer needs to log onto their Etsy.com account.

Then, they click on “Your Account” and go to “Purchases and Reviews.” That’s where they’ll see all of the purchases they made on Etsy.

Next to the item they ordered from you will be a “Download Files” link. It will take the buyer to a downloads page where they can download all the files attached to the order.

You can also direct them to Etsy’s walkthrough here.

If you uploaded all of the files to Etsy without putting them in .zip files, then that’s all they need to get their files.

However, if you used a .zip file, some customers might need you to walk them through unzipping the file.

How to Unzip a File in Windows

To unzip a .zip file in Windows, right-click the.zip file and in the drop-down menu, select “Extract All…”

When the zip wizard appears, it will ask you where you want to save the unzipped files. Choose your location and click “Extract.”

You can find the files in the folder you chose.

How to Unzip a File on a Mac

Unzipping a file on a Mac is simple. You can either double-click on the file, and it will unzip, or you can right-click the file and choose “Open.”

Downloading Etsy Digital Files from a Drive

To download an Etsy digital file from a drive, you will first need permission to access the files. Once you have permission, you can choose the files you want to download and click “Download.”


Whether you’re dealing with one file or several for your Etsy digital listing, remember that a drive or zip file is always an option.

Do not allow Etsy’s file limits to limit the size and types of files you choose to offer with your listing. When you offer a wider variety of sizes with your digital printables, you have a better opportunity to make a sale.

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Erika Towne

Erika Towne

Erika is a professional writer and journalist who covers Etsy on both Gold City Ventures and Millennial Boss blogs. She has happily found a way to divide her time between her love of writing and her family.
Erika Towne

Erika Towne

Erika is a professional writer and journalist who covers Etsy on both Gold City Ventures and Millennial Boss blogs. She has happily found a way to divide her time between her love of writing and her family.

Learn how to start a business selling printables on Etsy!

Meet Julie & Cody

Julie Berninger and Cody Berman of Gold City Ventures have made thousands selling printables and digital downloads in their Etsy shops and on Shopify. They help others start printable businesses with their programs and templates.

Learn how to start a business selling printables on Etsy!

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