PDFs are known for their read-only status. You can only open the file then view it but you can’t edit it like a Microsoft Word or Google Docs document file. However, did you know that you could edit a PDF file using Google Docs?
So if you want to know the ins and outs of how to make a pdf editable in google docs, everything is outlined below.
Why Should You Make a PDF Editable in Google Docs?
Simply put, Google Docs is one of the more accessible apps you can use to edit PDF files. It’s because you don’t really need to install the app into your system. It will run on your Chrome browser just fine as long as you have a Google account.
You might also want to edit a PDF you normally could only look at because you may wish to add something to it or use its formatting for your own book, article, or website. It might have a picture you couldn’t find anywhere else.
You could also edit the PDF file in order to improve upon it and publish a much better file. You could be the person or company who requested the PDF to be made and in turn you might want to put in your comments and corrections directly in the file itself
How to Make a PDF Editable in Google Docs
In order to make a PDF editable in Google Docs, you need to upload it to Google Drive first.
Your Google Drive can also save any PDF you open on Google Chrome, by the way. Just as it saves any document sent to you via embedded attachment on an email to your Gmail account.
Step 1: Open your Google Drive and upload the PDF you wish to edit. You need to specifically sign in onto your Google account then go to https://drive.google.com/drive/my-drive.
Then click “New+” and select “File Upload“.
In this case, I’ve downloaded then uploaded “A History of Japanese Anime” from Academia.edu. It’s actually a free excerpt of a full book turned PDF. Select the file and press “Enter” or double-click to preview it.
Step 2: After opening the PDF on your Google Drive to preview it, there’s an option at the top of the preview where you can “Open with Google Docs”. Click on that in order to start editing the PDF.
Step 3: Google Docs will first open in a new tab with a loading screen as it converts your PDF into a document it could edit.
Once loaded, your PDF can now be edited in Google Docs! The whole PDF is available, including the photos.
Most of the original formatting is retained and if you scroll down and wait long enough for pages to load, you can even see the red and blue correction lines for any typographical and spelling errors contained in the file.
You can even proofread, correct errors, and do a spelling and grammar check (It’s Ctrl + Alt + X on Google Docs) on the now-editable document if you so choose.
Step 4: You might be curious—can you save this editable document as a PDF or is it now in Google Docs form? It’s in Google Docs form. The original PDF is still there and the new edited version is a separate Google Doc.
The Bottom Line
You can easily edit a PDF file or make it editable by uploading it unto your Google Drive—the cloud-based hard drive given to all Google users or users with Google or Gmail accounts—then opening it using Google Docs.
If you wish to save your Google Docs document into a PDF or back into a PDF, you’ll need to refer to a separate guide for that. This article only covers how to edit a PDF by converting it into a Google Docs document.
- Justin Pot, “How to Edit a PDF in Google Drive“, Zapier.com, February 19, 2019
- Jack Lloyd, “How to Make PDFs Editable with Google Docs“, WikiHow, February 7, 2022
- Discover Business Degrees, “How to Edit a PDF | Google Docs Tutorial“, YouTube, July 18, 2015