An Easy Guide of How to Open and Edit a PDF in Google Docs


Google Docs is a world-leading professional online document processor and editor. Users can easily format text and paragraphs with the smart editing and styling tools in Google Docs. The edited documents can be exported in a variety of formats including ODF, HTML, PDF, RTF, Text, Office Open XML, etc. And the common formats that can be viewed and converted to the Docs format include Word, TXT, RTF, HTML, and ODT.

So how about PDF? Can we view and edit PDF in Google Docs? The answer is yes. We can upload PDF to Google Docs and convert the PDF to Google Docs format, then we'll be able to edit a PDF in Google Docs.

Part 1. PDF to Google Docs Conversion

To edit a PDF in Google Docs, we must fist upload the PDF to Google Docs and convert it to the Docs format. Now let's go through a quick guide of how to open a PDF in Google Docs.

Step 1. Open Google Docs on your web browser and log in with your Google account.

Step 2. On the middle right section of the interface, click the little file icon to upload your PDF file.

Google Docs Add File

Step 3. If the PDF file you would like to open in Google Docs is stored on your Google Drive, just choose "My Drive" and the browser will direct to your drive account. To open a PDF on your local device, select the "Upload" option then click "Select a file from your device". Or you can simply drag and drop the file to the interface. When the file is selected, hit the "Open" button.

Google Docs Upload File

Step 4. Your PDF will be opened on the web browser. Click the little triangle tab beside "Open with Google Docs", and choose "Google Docs" on the drop-down menu.

Open PDF With Google Docs

Done. That's how you upload and open a PDF with Google Docs. To get further reading on this topic, please refer to this wikiHow article: How to Make PDFs Editable With Google Docs. Next, let's learn how to edit a PDF in Google Docs.

Part 2. Edit PDF in Google Docs

Google Docs can be used as a PDF editor once you've open the PDF in it. This is kind of like you convert PDF to Word then edit it in Microsoft Word. There are plenty of editing and style tools in Google Docs to make your PDF perfect and we'll show you some cool editing tricks here.

Edit and Format Texts

Once opened in Google Docs, the texts of the PDF become editable. We can change the text content or format. To change the text format, just choose the texts with the mouse then go to "Format" > "Text", and click on any tool you need. The texts formatting tools include "Bold", "Italic", "Underline", "Strikethrough", etc.

You can also set the texts to a bigger or smaller size. On the "Capitalization" option, you can choose to change the selected texts to"Lowercase", "Uppercase" or "Title Case".

Google Docs Format Text

Set Column Styling

On the "Format" menu, choose "Column" if you need to readjust the column number of your PDF. You can choose from one to three columns. If you click on the "More options" tab, you can even set the spacing value and whether there will be a line between columns.

Google Docs Format Column

Add a Paragraph

Click on between any two paragraphs you want to insert texts. Then press the "Enter" button on the keyboard, and type or paste any texts to create a new paragraph.

ZGoogle Docs Insert Paragraph

Insert Images

Click on any blank space that you would like to insert an image. Then go to the "Insert" tab on the top toolbar and choose "Image" from the drop-down list. The image you add can be from your local computer, online drive, or an image URL that you copy from a website.

Google Docs Insert Image

Edit Images

With Google Docs, the images on your PDF can be edited as well. Just click on any image you want to edit, then there will be some image editing options appearing around it. Now you can:

  • Crop images and readjust the image size.
  • Set image position by readjusting the margin.
  • Choose "Image Options" on the editing menu, and you can recolor the image and adjust its transparency, brightness, and contrast.
  • Replace image. Click on any image you want to replace, and select "Replace Image" on the editing toolbar.

Google Docs PDF Image Options

Insert Charts

We an insert 4 kinds of charts to our PDF in Google Docs. Go to the "Inset" tab on the top toolbar and choose "Chart", then select a chart model from "Bar", "Column", "Line", and "Pie" according to your requirement. After you successfully inserted a chart, you can click the “Edit in Sheets” button to open a new Excel editing window to edit detail data.

Google Docs 4 Chart Types

Insert Tables

Click on the blank space you would like to add a table, then select the "Insert" tab on the top menu bar and choose "Table". Customize the table by setting the number of rows and columns.

Google Docs Insert Forms

Add a Footnote

Adding a footnote for different pages on your PDF is smart and Google Docs can help you with it. Go to the page you would like to insert a footnote, then click on the "Inset" option on top and select "Footnote". A typing area will show beside the page number, you can now type any texts in it as a footnote. You can also highlight, underline, and align the footnotes with the text editing tools.

Google Docs Footnote

Besides the features we mentioned above, there are a lot more editing tools in Google Docs like adding headers and footers, page numbers, comments, bookmarks, tables of content, etc. Whatever you've edited, please remember to save the edited document back to PDF format. Go to the "File" tab on the top menu bar, choose "Download" from the drop-down menu, and select "PDF" as the downloaded format.

Google Docs Download As PDF

To get more PDF editing tips in Google Docs, please go for this user guide: How to Edit a Google Doc.

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