Archive FAQ > Downloading Fanworks

Can I download works from the Archive to access later?

Yes, AO3 supports downloads of works into four formats. You don't need to select "Entire Work" to download the whole work, the download will contain it automatically. This also means you can't selectively download individual chapters or range of chapters from the work; the download will always contain all the available chapters.

Note that downloads only contain text and possibly images, depending on the download format. Video and audio won't be downloaded. For more information on what is included in downloads, please refer to Will images/audio/video show up in downloaded works?

What formats can I download fanworks in?

We offer downloads in HTML, PDF, MOBI and EPUB. These formats can be accessed on your computer and on a range of portable devices, including but not limited to phones (e.g. Apple iPhones, Samsung Galaxy), e-readers (e.g. Amazon Kindle), and tablets (e.g. Apple iPads, Amazon Fire). For more information on what is included with each download format, please refer to Will images/audio/video show up in downloaded works?

How do I download works onto my computer or mobile device?

Follow these instructions to download works:

  1. On the work page, there is a "Download" option (for the default site skin, it's a button on the top right of the page). Four format options will appear when you select the "Download" option.
  2. Select the format you prefer: MOBI, EPUB, HTML, or PDF.
  3. If prompted, confirm the download and where you want to save the file.
  4. If you're using a mobile device, it may prompt you to select an app with which to open the downloaded file. You can also go to your e-reading app, and open the downloaded file from there.
    • If your mobile device doesn't support direct downloads, you may have to download works onto your computer first, then load them onto your device. Please refer to your device's help files for instructions on how to do so.

For mobile devices, there are e-reading apps that support various file formats available for download on your device's store/marketplace. Most mobile devices support, or have apps available that support, at least one of the download formats we offer (MOBI, EPUB, PDF, and HTML). We can't provide support for all the different devices out there, but if you have questions or feedback about your experience using downloads on different devices, do get in touch via our Support and Feedback form. We'll do our best to help!

For further information on what is included in a download, please refer to Will images/audio/video show up in downloaded works?

How can I download works to access on the iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone?

The download process for Apple devices, such as the iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, is similar to the process for most other devices. Please refer to How do I download works onto my computer or mobile device? for more information.

However, on older Apple devices, or those without updated firmware, you may find that you can't download Archive files directly. If you have this problem, you can download the file to your computer and send it to your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone via a file management application. Please refer to your device's help files for specific instructions on how to do so.

Can I save works from the Archive via an external bookmarking service?

Yes, but there are some limitations. Some services may not support cookies or session login details. This means that if you try to save a work restricted to Archive users, or one with an adult content warning, you'll get the login or adult content confirmation pages instead of the actual work. To save restricted or adult works for later access, you will need to download the work. Please refer to How do I download works onto my computer or mobile device? for more information.

Will CSS styling ("work skin") show up in downloaded works?

No. When a work is downloaded, they will get the default formatting—that is, the way the work looks when you select "Hide Creator's Style" (refer to the Can I disable custom formatting (work skins) on works? for more details). Different devices handle e-book and image layouts in different ways. Styles and skins can also cause accessibility issues for some users. By not including skins, the downloads are more user-friendly no matter where or how they're being accessed. When styling your works, bear in mind that they need to make sense with your work skin disabled.

Can I create a skin to change the way the downloaded work looks?

No. You can change the way the Archive is displayed to you by applying a site skin (for more information, refer to the Skins and Archive Interface FAQ), but this option isn't available for downloads. Different devices handle e-book and image layouts in different ways, so it's very difficult for us to provide a skin that will work for everyone.

Will images/audio/video show up in downloaded works?

This depends on your device and the download format.

Images will be saved if the download format is PDF or HTML (for the HTML format, images will be saved only if you choose to download as a complete web page). Because images can't currently be hosted on the Archive, they must be hosted externally. This means that all other options will embed the images into the files, and the images will only display if the device allows for it and has an internet connection.

Depending on the download format, a downloaded work with embedded video may or may not save an image from the video to the download. Audio embeds won't be saved. If your downloaded work is missing embedded files, you'll need to visit the original work on the Archive to access them. For easier access, all downloaded works include a link to the original work on the Archive.

Can I disable downloads on my works?

No. One of our main reasons for providing a download option is accessibility. Users may not be able to easily access works on the Archive directly. Downloads help these users by giving them more control over when and where they access works and what devices they can use to do so. In order to ensure the Archive remains as accessible as possible, we want to be sure that these options are available for all works.

If you wish to have more control over who accesses your works, you can choose to only show your work to registered Archive users (refer to How do I control who can access my works? for more details). However, this is not foolproof since users of the Archive can save and share your work with other people even if you've restricted access to the work.

Where can I get more information if my question isn’t answered here?

Some frequently asked questions about the Archive are answered in the broader Archive FAQ. Questions and answers about our Terms of Service can be found in the Terms of Service FAQ. You may also like to check out our Known Issues. If you need more help, please contact Support.