How to Open a PDF in Google Docs [Multiple Useful Methods]


Do you have problems opening your PDF files? This is a common problem for users who don't have a PDF reader. If you don't have a dedicated PDF reader, try an alternative tool such as Google Docs to open your PDF. Google Docs is a browser-based word processor that helps you create, share, and edit documents online. Fortunately, you can also open a PDF in Google Docs, edit the document online, and save the changes offline. In this article, we will discuss how to open a PDF in Google Docs effortlessly.

how to open a pdf in google docs


Part 1: Why Can't I Open PDF with Google Docs Instantly?

If you import a PDF file into Google Docs, you'll find that you cannot open it, and a window will pop up, as in the picture shown below. This is because Google Docs does not have a built-in capacity to directly open PDF files for editing.

Google Docs is primarily designed for creating and editing documents in formats like Google Docs (GDOC), Microsoft Word (DOCX), and other text-based file formats. However, you can still view a PDF file using Google Docs with/without converting it. We'll introduce the methods in the following parts.

cannot open pdf in google docs directly

Part 2: How to Open PDF in Google Docs Through Google Drive (Without Converting)

Google Drive is a storage service traditionally used to store files created on Google Docs. You can also upload files directly (videos, images, documents, etc.). Follow the steps below to open a PDF in Google Docs without converting the file.

Step 1: Access Google Drive via your browser.

how to open a pdf in docs via google drive

Step 2: Click My Drive, then select File Upload from the dropdown menu. Browse and select the PDF you wish to open from your computer.

upload pdf to google drive

Step 3: Once the file is fully uploaded, right-click on it, then select Open with, and click Google Docs. Your PDF file will now be displayed on a Google Docs page.

how to open a pdf on google docs

While Google Docs is efficient at opening a PDF file, it tends to be ineffective at preserving the PDF's formatting. If your PDF contains lists, tables, and footnotes, the converted Google Docs version may contain a distorted format of the same. Luckily, you can try a more efficient tool, such as Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter, to open a PDF in Google Docs.

More useful guides:

From Static to Dynamic: Editing PDFs with Word's Magic

Streamline Your Document Workflow: How to Convert PDF to Word on Mac

Part 3: How to Open PDF as Word Doc via PDF to Word Converter (With Converting)

If you want to open a PDF in Google Docs without losing file quality and formatting, we suggest using a dedicated PDF to Word Converter. Note that this alternative will require you to convert your PDF file to a Word doc before you can open it in Google Docs. On the bright side, you get to maintain your original PDF file formatting.

This section will recommend the best PDF to Word Converter apps to help you open a PDF in Google Docs.

Tool 1: Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter (Offline & Recommended)

PDF to Word Converter is a professional file converter software by Coolmuster, an industry leader in productivity tools and software. Coolmuster's PDF to Word Converter has a broad range of features, allowing you to convert PDF to multiple file types and formats.

You can leverage these features to convert a PDF to Word and open the Word doc in Google Docs. Unlike other methods for opening a PDF in Google Docs, Coolmuster's PDF to Word Converter maintains the PDF's original layout and formatting.

Features of Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter

  • Convert PDF files to Word files simultaneously.
  • Preview and select target PDF pages for conversion to Word.
  • Preserve PDF layouts, images, and fonts, during conversion.
  • Convert PDF files fast and accurately.
  • Secure your document's privacy during conversion.
  • Available for both Mac and Windows devices.

Here is how to open a PDF in Google Docs using Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter.

01Download and install PDF to Word Converter on your computer. Open it, then click Add File or Add Folder from the top left side of the program's interface to add your PDF file.

how to open pdf as google doc using pdf to word converter

02Customize the conversion settings from the right side of the window. Select one of the three Page Range settings.

(Select All to convert all PDF pages to PDF or select Current to convert the PDF page currently in the preview above. Alternatively, if you want to convert specific pages from the PDF, select Range, and enter the PDF page numbers, separated by commas.)

03Select the destination folder. Click the Open Folder button to select a preferred destination folder on your computer. Finally, click Start to commence the conversion.

convert pdf to word documents

Once you've converted your PDF to a Word document, it is time to open it in Google Docs. Here is how:

Step 1: Locate the Word document in the destination folder. Open your Google Docs. Create a new blank file on your Docs's homepage.

upload your word document to google docs

Step 2: Head for File > Open > Upload > Browse and open the Word document.

how to open a pdf with google docs by converting it to word document

Opening your PDF file in Google Docs by converting it to Word via Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter preserves the PDF's formatting, thus reducing any editing time and effort required.

Tool 2: Adobe Acrobat (Online)

Adobe is a popular document processor that you can use to create, edit, manage, and manipulate files online and offline. Besides these functions, Adobe also allows PDF to Word conversions. Here is how to use Adobe Acrobat to convert PDF to Word and open it with Google Docs.

Step 1: Go to Adobe's online PDF to Word converter. Click Select a file to add your PDF file. Another option is to drag and drop the PDF into the drop zone.

convert pdf to word file with adobe acrobat

Step 2: Once the PDF has been converted, sign in to your Adobe account to access the Word document. You can sign in using your Google account.

Step 3: The next step is to open the converted Word document using Google Docs. Click Open in Word or Download to access your Word document from your Adobe account.

Open your Google Drive, click New, then File Upload. Select the Word document from your storage to upload it. Once the upload is complete, right-click on the file, select Open with, then click Google Docs.

Tool 3: Smallpdf (Online)

Smallpdf is an online PDF to Word converter available for free, like Adobe. Here is how to convert PDFs to Word, then open them in Google Docs.

Step 1: Open Smallpdf on your web browser. Click Choose Files to add your PDF for conversion.

convert pdf to word document via smallpdf

Step 2: Select one of the two options (with OCR/ without OCR). If you're converting your PDF for free, select without OCR and click Choose options.

Step 3: Click Download to save the Word file to your computer.

Finally, open your Drive, click New, then File Upload to upload your PDF. Once the upload is complete, right-click on the file, click Open with, then select Google Docs from the list.

Tool 4: PDF Converter (Online)

PDF Converter is an alternative PDF conversion tool available that converts PDF files in seconds. Here is how to convert PDF to Word using PDF Converter, then open it in Google Docs.

Step 1: Go to the program's online page. Click Choose PDF File to add your file for conversion.

Step 2: Click Download to save the Word file to your device.

convert pdf using pdf converter

Once you've saved your file, go to Google Drive, click New, then click File Upload to upload the Word document. Once the file is uploaded, right-click on it, click Open with, then select Google Docs.

See more:

Convert PDFs to JPG/JPEG Images for Better Accessibility and Sharing

Simplify Your eBook Library: Learn How to Convert PDFs to ePubs with Ease

Part 4: FAQs on How to Open a PDF as a Google Doc

In this section, we answer commonly asked questions by users on how to open PDFs with Google Docs.

Q1: What's the disadvantage of using Google Docs to view my PDF files?

While Google Docs can be a convenient tool for viewing PDF files, it does have some disadvantages compared to dedicated PDF viewers. Here are a few limitations you may encounter when using Google Docs for viewing PDFs.

  • Formatting issues. Complex formatting, such as intricate layouts, fonts, or graphics, may not be accurately reproduced, resulting in visual discrepancies.
  • Limited features. It lacks certain functionalities specific to PDF files, such as the ability to fill out forms, digitally sign documents, or extract specific pages.
  • File size limitations. Google Docs imposes file size limitations for uploaded PDFs. The maximum file size varies depending on the type of Google account you have (e.g., free or paid) and can range from 50 MB to 5 TB. If your PDF file exceeds these limits, you may not be able to view it using Google Docs.

Q2: Are there other alternative PDF converters recommended?

There are alternative PDF converters you can use to convert your files to Word before opening with Google Docs. To learn in detail you can read this guide >

[9 Tools Review] The Hottest PDF to Word Converter Online/Offline

The Bottom Line

A PDF converter is a must-have if you want to open a PDF in Google Docs without reformatting your PDF file content. If you're looking for the best PDF converter, Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter is the ultimate choice.

Not only does it convert your PDF to Word, but in multiple other formats. Still, it guarantees a fast and efficient conversion from PDF to Word while preserving your PDF file's content layout. Download Coolmuster PDF to Word Converter to open your PDF in Google Docs.

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