How to edit a PDF in Google Drive using Google Docs

How to edit a PDF in Google Drive using Google Docs

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a widely-used file format for sharing and preserving documents in their original layout across different platforms. It’s common to have many business and personal documents saved in PDF file format. However, making changes to a PDF document used to be a cumbersome task, requiring specialized software.

Fortunately, with the popular Google Docs, the process has become much simpler for everyone, although it’s not without certain challenges where your PDF file is concerned.

In this article, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of editing PDF files within Google Docs, unleashing the true potential of the versatile Google Docs cloud-based platform.

Whether you need to correct a typo, add new content, have formatting issues you want to fix, or need to update information, get ready to discover how easy it is to breathe new life into your PDFs using Google Docs.

Here’s how you can edit a PDF file in Google Docs

First and foremost, you’ll need access to Google Docs to edit any PDF file. So, if you don’t already have a Google Drive set up, now’s the time.

Google Docs is a free web-based application, available with many tools which you can access by going to If you’ve got a Google account, you’ll find “My Drive,” which has:

  • Files and folders you upload or sync
  • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms you create

Is editing a PDF in Google Drive using Google Docs the same as the Google PDF editor?

No, it’s not the same. Google offers several creation tools, such as Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Presentations. The fact is, Google doesn’t have a PDF editor that you can install. Chrome has a PDF viewer built in that you can use to annotate, sign and fill out PDFs. The Google PDF viewer, which is essentially a built-in Chrome viewer, does not allow you to edit text. You’ll have to convert PDFs to Google Docs if you want to edit them in Google Docs and Google Drive.

How to edit a PDF in Google Drive using Google Docs in just 3 steps

Step 1. Open with Google Docs

If you haven’t already saved the PDF in Google Drive, go to Google Drive > New > File Upload. If you’ve already got it, find the location in which your PDF is saved within Google Drive, then right-click and select Open With > Google Docs.

Step 2. Edit PDF file in Google Docs

You can start editing your document once it opens in Google Docs. You may notice that the converted file in Google Docs doesn’t retain the formatting of your original PDF file, however. That’s because, as we mentioned, Google Docs isn’t a full-fledged PDF editor. You will be able to edit the text, and upload any images you want to add, however.

Step 3. Download your PDF file

Once you’re done, click File > Download PDF. This will download your PDF files from Google Docs and save your document in a new PDF file.

Can you edit PDF in Google Docs without changing formatting?

Unfortunately, because Google Docs isn’t a true PDF Editor, there’s no guarantee that you can edit PDFs in Google Docs without the format getting altered.

For more advanced and comprehensive PDF editing tasks, it’s common to use dedicated PDF editing software such as Foxit PDF Editor. These applications offer a wide range of features and tools specifically tailored for handling PDF files.

If you want to edit PDFs and retain their format, instead of relying on software such as Google Docs, get true PDF editing software power with Foxit PDF Editor today and make editing any PDF document a snap.