[Free Guide] How To Open A PDF in Google Docs?

In today's digital world, PDFs are everywhere, used for sharing documents on different devices. But editing or working together on them can be tricky. That's where Google Docs steps in. It's a handy tool that changes how we handle documents online. In this guide, we'll show you how to open a PDF in Google Docs. Whether you're experienced or new to online document editing, we've got you covered. Let's dive in and make the most of Google Docs to boost your productivity!

Part 1. How to Open PDF in Google Docs?

Opening a PDF in Google Docs is a straightforward process. This enables you to conveniently view and edit your PDF files directly in your browser. Follow these steps to open a PDF in Google Docs efficiently –

Step 1: Access Google Drive

Start by going to your Google Drive. You can do this by visiting drive.google.com and signing in with your Google account.

how to open pdf in google docs

Step 2: Upload PDF File to Google Drive

Once you're in Google Drive, upload the PDF file you want to open. Click the "New" button on the left side of the screen, then select "File upload".  Choose the PDF file from your computer and wait for it to upload to Google Drive.

how to open pdf in google docs

Step 3: Open PDF with Google Docs

After the PDF has been uploaded, find it in your Google Drive. Right-click on the PDF file, hover over "Open with", and then select "Google Docs". The PDF will open in Google Docs, where you can view and edit the content.

how to open pdf in google docs

Part 2. Benefits of Open a PDF on Google Docs

Many people wonder “How to open PDF in Google Docs and its benefits”. As we have provided the steps to open PDF in Google Docs above, let’s look at the benefits of opening it on Google Docs –

  • Accessibility and Convenience

Opening a PDF on Google Docs allows you to access your documents from any device with an internet connection. This eliminates the need for specialized PDF software which makes it easy to view and edit PDFs on the go.

  • Editing Capabilities

Google Docs enables you to convert PDFs into editable documents. This feature is particularly useful for making quick changes to a PDF without needing advanced editing software.

  • Collaboration

Google Docs supports real-time collaboration. Different users can comment on and edit a PDF simultaneously. This feature is essential for team projects. Also, it enables seamless communication and collaborative work.

  • Cloud Storage Integration

When you open a PDF on Google Docs, it’s automatically saved in Google Drive. This integration ensures that your documents are securely stored and backed up in the cloud. Further, it is easily accessible whenever you need them.

  • Cost-Effective

Using Google Docs to open PDFs is a cost-effective solution since it is free to use. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals and small businesses that need PDF functionality.

Part 3. Cons of Open a PDF with Google Docs

Opening a PDF with Google Docs has several drawbacks that can affect how well the document works. Here are some key issues:

  • Formatting Problems:The original layout and style of the PDF might not stay the same in Google Docs. Text, images, and alignment can look different.
  • Missing Features:Google Docs may not support all the features of the PDF, especially complex ones like forms and multimedia. Some parts might not work or display correctly.
  • Conversion Errors:Converting a PDF to Google Docs can cause errors like missing text, broken links, or misplaced images, which can be difficult to fix.
  • Slow Performance:Large or detailed PDFs can make Google Docs slow or cause it to crash.
  • Needs Internet:You need a good internet connection to open and edit PDFs in Google Docs.
  • Privacy Concerns:Uploading PDFs to Google Docs means your data is stored on Google's servers. It can be a concern for sensitive or confidential information.

Part 4. Advanced tips for using Google Docs

Now that you know how to open PDF on Google Docs, let’s talk about the advanced tips for using Google Docs –

  • OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

With Google Docs, you can turn images or scanned documents into editable text. This helps a lot when you need to work with documents that aren't already digital. Just upload the picture or PDF, and Google Docs will change it into text you can edit. It's super handy for saving time and making documents easier to work with.

  • Exporting Documents to Different Formats

Google Docs lets you save your documents in different types, like Microsoft Word or PDF. This is great because it makes it easy to share your work with people who use different programs. Saving in PDF keeps everything looking just like you want it, no matter what device someone's using. Sometimes you might need a specific format for sharing or printing, so having options is useful.

  • Version History and Revision Tracking

Google Docs keeps track of all the changes made to your document over time. This is awesome for teamwork because you can see who did what and when. If you need to, you can even go back to an earlier version of your document. This feature helps keep things organized and makes it easier to see how your document has evolved.

  • Advanced Formatting and Styling Options

Google Docs lets you get creative with how your document looks. You can change fonts, make things bold or italic, add pictures or tables, and more. They even have ready-made templates to make your documents look super polished without a lot of effort. Making your work look good not only makes it easier to read but also adds a professional touch to whatever you're creating.

  • Integration with Third-Party Apps and Add-Ons

Google Docs works together with other apps to make your work even better. You can add features like citation management, language translation, or even automation tools to help you work faster and smarter. Plus, you can easily access files from cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox right from Google Docs. These integrations can boost your productivity and make collaborating with others a breeze.

Part 5. Open PDF in Google Docs without Losing Formatting

Are you searching for a way to open PDFs in Google Docs without messing up the formatting? Well, you might want to give Afirstsoft PDF a try. It's considered one of the top PDF editors out there for maintaining the original format of your PDFs. With Afirstsoft, you can smoothly convert your PDFs into Excel, Word, or PowerPoint files. Plus, you get the flexibility to highlight and tweak your PDF documents as needed. Another handy feature of Afirstsoft PDF is its ability to access and edit files from your cloud storage. And here's the cherry on top: It automatically saves your work, ensuring you can easily pick up where you left off whenever you need to.

Key Features:

  • Supports converting PDF files to different image formats.
  • Allows you to edit your cloud storage files directly from the app.
  • PDF files can be converted into Word, Excel, or PPT files.
  • You can open multiple pdf at a time and conduct different activities.
  • Helps you to access your cloud trash bin within the app.
  • Previous works can be accessed from the "Recent Files" options.

Here are the steps to open PDF in Google Docs without losing formatting with Afirstsoft PDF:

Step 1: Launch the Afirstsoft PDF on your desktop. As soon as you open the program, you'll see a "Convert" option in the upper-left corner.

Try It Free

* Moblie version is coming soon

Step 2: Tap on the "Convert" option and upload the PDF file that you wish to work on. Now, choose the output format which is "Word" and the output folder where you want the file to be.

Step 3: The last work is to click on the “Convert” button and you’re done. Now, you can easily open the document with Google Docs without losing the format.


Becoming skilled at opening PDFs in Google Docs opens up doors for smooth teamwork, easy access, and budget-friendly document handling. While Google Docs is great for editing, keeping the original look of PDFs can be tricky. That's where Afirstsoft PDF comes in handy. It helps keep your documents' layout and style just as they were. Afirstsoft is easy to use and comes with features like linking to cloud storage and changing formats easily. If you want to make working with PDFs simpler and keep them looking sharp, give Afirstsoft PDF a try. It's a tool you won't regret having!

Emily Davis


Emily Davis is one of the staff editors of Afirstsoft PDF Editor team. She is a dedicated staff editor with a keen eye for detail and a passion for refining content.

View all Articles >