How to convert a .pdf document into an editable Google Doc

PDF files can’t be edited, right? At least that used to be the case. They were a snapshot of the text and images you created and anyone viewing the document would be seeing the exact same thing. There were no worries that someone would change your document without your permission if it was in .pdf format. Note: .pdf stands for Portable Document Format and it was a creation of the Adobe Acrobat software.

There were ways to edit these .pdf documents using the Adobe Acrobat software that created them, IF you had the full, paid version of the software. At the time, it was hundreds of dollars! All that has changed. Now, there are lots of ways to edit .pdf files. One of them is completely free with Google Docs. This works great on straightforward .pdf files – if the one you want has a lot of page formatting and images, it may not come across so well.

How to Open a .pdf file with Google Docs

  • Open Google Drive on the web at
  • Click the button to Add New and choose File Upload
  • Find the .pdf file you want to work with and click Open
  • The .pdf file is now in your Drive
  • Double click the .pdf file to open it

Now you should be seeing the document and there is a button with a drop-down arrow above it. Click that drop-down arrow and you’ll see the option to open the file with Google Docs. This will create a copy, in the same folder as the original, and that copy will be an editable Google Doc file.

Next time you’re looking at a .pdf document and see something that should be changed, you know how to do it! Let us know in the comments how it works for you.

Learn more

See Episode 255 of What Does This Button Do? for more about using Google Docs.


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