How to Open a PDF in Google Docs

November 20, 2020
Kevin Kessler

Did you ever run into a problem with your PDF file? If your computer doesn’t have a PDF reader, you might not be able to open or edit your PDF document. That can be quite frustrating, especially when there’s important information you need to read.

This is something many users have struggled with, but fortunately, there’s a simple solution. If you have a Google Account, you can read PDF files. You just need to know how to open a PDF file in Google Docs. This incredible collaborative tool allows you to read all kinds of documents and export them too.

In this article, we’re going to show you the exact steps to view a PDF file in Google Docs. And we’re going to discuss whether it is possible to retain the original formatting of the file. Finally, we’ll try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about PDF and Google Docs.

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What is a PDF File?

The whole world knows it by its acronym, but PDF actually means ‘Portable Document Format.’ Adobe Systems has been around for a while. Today, it’s the most compatible type of file and is used widely as the primary way to exchange relevant documents.

PDF retains its integrity in terms of content regardless of which device you use to open it. However, this integrity is often the reason why you can’t alter the content of a PDF document unless you have a PDF reader and editor. Google Docs, however, gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to PDF format.

Why Use Google Docs to Open PDF?

Considering all options available, using Google Docs to open PDF files is a simple and efficient way to view them. And because Google Docs is a cloud-based service, you don’t need to install any software on your computer to open PDF.

If your Google Drive files contain PDF format files too, then it’s even more convenient. You can be anywhere in the world, and if you have an internet connection, you’ll be able to open a PDF in Google Docs. Plus, while not perfect, Google Docs will open your PDF file better than some other PDF viewers.

How to Open a PDF in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

So, you have the PDF file you want to open in Google Docs, but you’re not sure where to begin. It’s important to remember that there are two ways you can go about it. Follow the steps below to find out about both.

Step 1

One of the easiest ways to open a PDF file is to access ‘File’ from the main menu. If you have a document you want to open on your computer, click on the ‘File’ and from the drop-down menu, select ‘Open.’ Then select the ‘Upload’ tab and click on ‘Select a file from your device’ option. Once you select the file, it will automatically open in Google Docs.

Google Docs open PDF step 1

Step 2

Another way to go is through cloud storage known as Google Drive. If you keep many of your PDF files there, it might make more sense to use this method. First, sign in to your Google Account and go to Google Drive.

Step 3

Find the PDF file you want to open and right-click on it. A little pop-up window will appear on the right. Highlight the ‘Open with’ option, and you’ll see another window appear. Choose Google Docs from the list. Your file will instantaneously open in Google Docs.

Google Docs open PDF step 3

Step 4

You might notice another option that says, ‘Lumin PDF.’ This is a tool that allows you to view, edit, and even share your PDFs. It would be best if you used a Chrome extension to make it work, though. It’s not widely used, also though it’s been around for some time. And you need to connect it directly to Google Drive to make the most of it.

Google Docs open PDF step 4

Step 5

Finally, you also have the option to open your PDF document with DocHub using Google Drive. This is another platform that makes annotation of PDF files possible. It’s also widely used to sign PDFs, and even add text, or create templates.

Google Docs open PDF step 5

How to Open a PDF in Google Docs FAQs

Can you convert word file into PDF using Google Docs?

PDF documents are always converted into other file formats and vice versa. What do you do if you have a Word file on your Google Drive and need it in PDF? Simply open it from Drive using Google Docs route and then select the ‘Download’ option from the File Menu. Keep in mind that depending on the formatting, it might not look exactly as you imagined, but often it will.

Why is it sometimes challenging to open PDF?

Not every PDF document is the same, nor does it have the same layer of protection. As they are initially designed not to be easily converted or edited, it will often prove challenging to view them and edit them in any software.

What are some of the advantages of PDF format?

There are many reasons why PDF has become the standard when it comes to creating and sharing important documents. It preserves its graphic authenticity, it’s multi-dimensional and can hold all kinds of content. Plus, it’s very convenient.

How to minimize compromising PDF when using Google Docs?

You’d achieve the best results when you open a PDF file in Google Docs if the PDF had specific properties already. For example, if images have less than 2MB, it will be easier to convert them into Google Docs. Also, if the PDF uses a more standard font, it will likely replicate it perfectly in Google Docs.

Can Google Docs open a JPEG file?

Indeed, it can. Google Docs can open a different type of image file and text file. It can even open a JPEG file that contains the text. But similar to PDF, the outcome will depend on several factors.

Conclusion

PDF and Google Docs are entirely compatible. When you want to open a PDF in Google Docs, you can do it in two different ways, from your computer or from Google Drive. When necessary, you can use the Lumin PDF software too.

PDF files are designed for sharing, and they are genuinely portable in every sense. And so is Google Docs – a fantastic tool you can access anywhere provided you have a Google Account. Keep in mind, however, that some PDF files will look better in Google Docs than others.

Kevin Kessler
Kevin J. Kessler is a published author of five fantasy novels, a professional wrestler, and a puppeteer (not all at the same time). Kevin is a content writer at Codeless.

About the Author

Kevin Kessler
Kevin J. Kessler is a published author of five fantasy novels, a professional wrestler, and a puppeteer (not all at the same time). Kevin is a content writer at Codeless.