While you may encounter a lot of people that use Google Apps like Docs, Sheets, or Slides, not everyone uses those applications or elects to share their files in those digital formats. This means that you will probably still receive PDF files. Luckily, you can convert PDF to Google Doc using a utility found in Google Drive.
How to Change a PDF Into a Google Doc
- Sign into Google Drive.
- Click New.
- Choose File upload.
- Browse to the PDF and click Open.
- Select Open with, then Google Docs.
Our article continues below with additional information on how to convert PDF to Google Doc, including pictures of these steps.
Google Docs is becoming a popular word processing application due to its accessibility and impressive feature set. As such, you may be looking to use it for some more advanced tasks, such as when you need to know how to convert a PDF into a Google Doc.
Your Google account gives you access to a number of helpful applications that you can use to create different types of documents. One of those applications in called Google Docs, which is Google’s alternative to the popular Microsoft Word application.
When you create a document in Google Docs you can save it directly to your Google Drive account, giving you access to that file from anyplace where you can sign into Google Drive. You can even choose to save that file as a PDF if you wish.
But what if you find yourself in a situation where you want to convert a PDF file to a format so that you can edit the text?
Fortunately Google Docs has the capability to let you upload PDF documents from your computer to your Google account and convert it to the Google Docs format so that it can be edited.
Check out our Google Drive PDF upload guide for more information on uploading and storing files in Google’s cloud storage.
Uploading and Converting a PDF File to the Google Docs Format (Guide with Pictures)
The steps in this article were performed in the Google Chrome desktop Web browser, but can also be completed in other modern Web browsers like Firefox or Edge. While this process can work out very well for PDF files that have been formatted in a way that makes the conversion process easier, it can also fail to produce a file that is easily editable in Google Docs. So be prepared to look for another alternative if the converted file doesn’t look right after the conversion.
Step 1: Navigate to your Google Drive at https://drive.google.com and enter your Google email address and password if you aren’t already signed in.
Step 2: Click the New button at the top-left corner of the window.
Step 3: Select the File upload option.
Step 4: Choose the PDF origin file that you want to open with Google Docs, then click the Open button.
Step 5: Right-click the uploaded PDF document that you want to open with Google Docs, then select Open with, then Google Docs.
Now that you know how to convert PDF to Google Doc format you can start to take the PDF files that you have on your computer and not only view them in Google Docs, but also back them up in online storage in case something happens to the original file on your computer.
If you often work on your documents with others, then check out our tutorial on how to let others edit Google Doc files.
If you are uploading a PDF file including a lot of unusual fonts or images, then you may have trouble getting the PDF to convert properly. This conversions seems to work best when the PDF file primarily contains a lot of text in a common font like Arial or Times New Roman.
This conversion may struggle with image files, or with documents that contain a lot of images as well. But it’s a great free resource if you want to edit PDF files and don’t have access to a program like Adobe Acrobat, or another dedicated PDF editor.
If you would like to work with the converted PDF file in another application on your computer, such as Microsoft Word, then click File at the top of the window, then choose Download As and select the Microsoft Word option. Note that there are a number of other options on that menu as well if you need to download the file into a different format.
If you do have Microsoft Word on your computer already, then you could try opening the PDF file in that application, too. Versions of Microsoft Word since 2013 have been able to work quite well with PDF files, and you might find that if Google is struggling with the conversion, that Word could be a better alternative. I have had instances in the past where Google was unable to complete the conversion, but it wound up working in Microsoft Word.
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.
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