Google Docs

How to Convert a PDF to Google Doc (2 Ways)

If you need to convert a PDF file to Google Docs, you’ll be happy know that it’s an easy task.

We have an article on how to convert PDF files to Word and we’ve outlined the steps involved in converting a PDF to Excel. This time, our focus is on converting a PDF to Google Docs.

Here are 2 ways to convert PDF files to Google Docs.

1) Upload PDF Files to Google Drive, Open Them in Google Docs

Here are the steps to convert a PDF file to a Google doc.

  1. Log in to your Google Drive at
  2. Click the New button, select File Upload, then navigate to the PDF document you want to convert.
  3. Select the PDF file and click Open.
    The PDF file is uploaded to Google Drive.
  4. Right-click the PDF document, select Open with, then click Google Docs.
    The PDF file opens in Google Docs.

This method of converting PDF files to Google Docs works well when you need a document with editable text – but formatting from the PDF file isn’t always retained.

2) Convert a PDF File With Microsoft Word, Open It With Google Docs

If maintaining the PDF’s formatting is important to you, you’re better off to convert the PDF with Microsoft Word, then open the Word file with Google Docs.

  1. Right-click the PDF file you want to open.
    The shortcut menu appears.
  2. Select Open with then click Word or Microsoft Word. If Word isn’t listed, select Choose another app and select Word.
  3. Click OK to convert the PDF file to an editable Word document.
Convert PDF to Word
  1. Click the File tab, select Save As, then specify the location and filename for the newly converted Word document, being careful to save the file as a Microsoft Word (.docx) file.
  2. Log in to Google Docs at and create a new blank document.
  3. Click File > Open.
    The Open a file screen appears.
  4. Select the Upload tab then click Browse then navigate to locate your Word file and double-click it to open.

In my experience Microsoft Word is able to retain much more of a PDF’s original formatting than Google docs.

If formatting is important to you, you’ll want to convert your PDF files in Word, upload the files to Google Drive, and open any PDF file you want to work with in Google Docs. It’s a convoluted path but in the end, you’ll be able to edit PDF files in Google Docs.

Final Thoughts on Converting PDFs to Google Docs

It’s not hard to convert PDF to Google Docs but you’ll need to decide how important the formatting from the original PDF file is before you begin.

If formatting is important, use Microsoft Word to convert PDF files before making any changes in Google Docs. Otherwise, upload the PDF to Google Drive and convert the file with Google Docs, omitting Microsoft Word from the process.

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.