How to Upload to Google Drive – PDF Files

If you are familiar with Google apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, then you have probably spent some time in Google Drive.

Google Drive is the cloud storage service that is part of your Google Account, and it’s where you can go to find a Google Docs file that you have been working on, or a spreadsheet that you have been editing.

But Google Drive is more than just a place for these files; you can also upload files of different file formats as well.

This includes things like pictures in the png or jpg file format, a Microsoft Word document that you might need to edit on another computer, or PDF files.

You can upload a file in the PDF format to Google Drive from your computer by signing in to Google Drive, clicking the New button, selecting File upload, then choosing the original PDF document and clicking the Open button.

Once you have completed the file uploads you will be able to open your PDF directly from Google Drive and view the file directly in your browser.

Our tutorial continues below with more information on how to upload, view PDF content, and open PDF files in Google Drive.

How to Add PDF to Google Drive

  1. Sign in to Google Drive.
  2. Click the New button.
  3. Select File upload.
  4. Browse to the PDF file and click Open.

Our guide continues below with additional information on uploading PDF document files to Google drive, including pictures of these steps.

How to Upload a PDF to Google Drive (Guide with Pictures)

The steps in this article were performed in the desktop version of the Google Chrome Web browser, but will also work in other popular desktop browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft edge.

Step 1: Sign in to your Google Drive account at

Step 2: Click the New button at the top of the column on the left side of the window.

click the New button

Step 3: Choose File upload from the drop down menu.

select the File upload option

Step 4: Browse to the PDF document or file that you want to upload, select it, then click the Open button.

how to upload Google Drive PDF files

You will then see your PDF in Google Drive, where you can double-click it to view it, share it, or perform a number of other actions.

Our tutorial continues below with additional discussion about Google PDF uploads in Drive.

More Information on How to Add PDF to Google Drive

While one of the main reasons that you may want to upload PDF documents to Google Drive is so that you have a backup of the file in case something happens to your computer, it has some other benefits as well.

After you have uploaded the file to your drive you can right click on it and you should see a CloudConvert option, or possibly even a Google Docs option. Basically Google Drive is able to convert a PDF to a Google Doc file during the upload process, which gives you the option of editing PDF files, for free, in the Google Docs editor.

This process to convert PDF files to editable documents doesn’t always work great, and it’s very likely that the entire document won’t translate directly to something that you would be comfortable with as a final draft. But the conversion process is getting better and better over time, and it’s possible that the converted file might be in really good shape if the PDF elements consisted of Word documents or other electronic documents that used common fonts like Times New Roman or Arial.

Since Google Drive can automatically turn PDF files into Google Drive files after you select upload, it eliminates a lot of the need for third party apps or online tools that you might have had to use previously to enable editing in PDF documents.

If you aren’t seeing the Google Docs file option when you right-click on an uploaded PDF file then you might need to enable a setting in Google Drive. Click the gear icon at the top-right of Google Drive, choose Settings, then scroll down and check the box to the left of Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format.

Unfortunately having a PDF file in Google Docs won’t make it easier for you to insert PDF files into one of your documents. You will still need to use one of a few workarounds.

The easiest option would be to right click on the PDF file and choose the Get link option. This opens a pop up window where you can customize the share link settings. Once you have the correct settings configured, you can copy the link, open your document, then click the Edit tab and select Paste to paste it into the document. This will insert a PDF link in the document that a reader can click on to view the PDF file in their browser.

Another option that you have is converting PDFs to images. There are a number of tools that can do this online, or depending on the size of the PDF, you could open it on your computer, take a screenshot, then add the image to the document.

You can also convert a Google Docs file to a PDF file through the Google Docs interface. To do so you need to open the document; then you would click the File tab at the top of the window, choose the Download option, then select the Portable document format (.pdf) option from the drop down list of convertible file types.

Additional Sources newsletter

Disclaimer: Most of the pages on the internet include affiliate links, including some on this site.