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How to Edit PDF Documents in Google Docs or Online

January 26, 2022
Inkit Team

If you’re a daily Google Docs user, you’ve probably wondered if you could edit PDF documents directly from there.

And the short answer is that yes, you can edit PDF files in Google Docs but there are some restrictions as well as limitations.

Making alterations on your documents with the use of Google Docs could include adding texts, videos, and images as edits required to perform your digital assignments.

Although the PDF document structure could sometimes restrict users or receiver editing on multiple platforms, with the use of Google Docs software on your web browser as well as other PDF editing tools, you can make changes to the PDF files.

So, to make sure you know you’re way around editing documents on the go online, we’ll show you all the ways to do so with Google Docs, without losing your document formatting, and other online methods.

  • Can You Edit PDF Documents in Google Docs?
  • How to Edit PDF Documents in Google Docs
  • 4 Other Ways to Edit PDF Documents Online Without Losing the Formatting 
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Editing PDF Documents In Google Docs

Can You Edit PDF Documents in Google Docs?

Turning a PDF into Google Docs file is easy, but editing the content within can get tricky.

Let’s take a look.

The short answer is YES, you can make edits to your PDF files with Google Docs, but there are certain limitations. 

Google Docs has a built-in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) used to convert your files with ease. 

However, you can only edit the converted PDF in the Google Docs format which has limited editing features and tools to alter text and some images in the PDF file. 

Other features like changes in page layout and document styling are subject to formatting issues and you can’t do that with Google Docs.

If your PDF document simply requires some basic editing of texts and images, you can use Google Docs. 

For access to other tools and features for change page layout, change in background, as well as other professional needs, you could further modify your PDF documents with desktop editors like Adobe acrobat, Wondershare PDFelement Pro, and many others.

Below, we’ll cover all methods you can use to edit your PDF documents online - whether it’s through Google Docs or some other software.

How to Edit PDF Documents in Google Docs

You could make changes to your PDF Docs in just a few clicks, here is a step by step guide:

  1. Export your PDF files to Google Drive by logging into your account on your PC, laptop or smartphone, and clicking the “Upload” icon.
  2. Select the PDF file you wish to edit by right-clicking the PDF file you previously uploaded. Click on the “Open with > Google Docs
  3. As soon as the selected PDF file is opened, you can edit the text, image or link in Google Docs by clicking “File” > “Download”> “PDF” to save it as a PDF on your computer.
how to save as pdf from google docs

See the full guide to turning PDFs into Google Docs without losing the original formatting for more info on this.

Problems with editing PDF files in Google Doc:

Though converting from PDF to Google Docs is easy, it comes with a few issues, such as:

  • Not all PDF files can be opened with Google Docs.
  • The original structured formatting of the PDF document and images within are not always retained.
  • Certain editing functions are cannot be performed in Google Docs, tools to add, resize, and delete pages and so on are non-existent in its interface

Now, if you want to edit your PDF documents without losing the original formatting, here are a couple of different ways you can do so online.

4 Other Ways to Edit PDF Documents Online Without Losing the Formatting 

There are a lot of different ways and different tools you can use to modify PDF content.

Then, once you’ve made your changes, you can save your Google Doc as a PDF or other file formats, such as:

  • PDF Document (.pdf).
  • Microsoft Word (.docx).
  • Open document Format (.odt).
  • HTML or Webpage format (.html).
  • Plain Text (.txt).
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf).
  • E Publication (.epub).

So, once you’ve made your edits, the conversions are simple!

Now, here’s how to edit your PDF documents online.

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How to edit a PDF document online using Wondershare PDFelement

  1. Open PDFelement on the web browser on your device. Go on to drag the PDF file you wish to edit with your mouse and then conveniently drop into the program. Or as an alternative for other device users, click “Open files” on the Home screen.
  2. Find the “Edit” tab on top of your screen, then you can make use of editing functions on the interface to Add Text, add image, adjust page layout and many more. Your PDF files could be altered to make changes in the text, insert images or create a link in your pages.
  3. Make annotations to your PDF document by clicking on the Comment menu to choose the suitable tool for your tasks.
  4. Save the changes to your document by clicking “File”> “Save” or “Save As” to rename your PDF file before saving.
editing pdf document online through wondershare pdf

How to edit a PDF document using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

  1. Open Adobe acrobat application or web page on your devices, then, export the PDF file you wish to edit to the Adobe interface
  2. In the right pane of your screen, select the Edit PDF tool. 

Then, you can then use the tools to:

  1. Adjust page layout or background, resizing it to your specification
  2. To add, edit or delete texts from your documents. Options to update font from the format list also applies.
  3. To add, replace, move or resize images on the page using selectors from the Objects list.
  4. Make use of any other tools like watermarks and annotate PDFs too.

Finally, you can move on to save your file by clicking the Save button.

adobe save as pdf editing

Need more info on managing or editing your PDF documents with Adobe?

Also read:

How to edit a PDF document using Foxit Phantom PDF reader

  1. Click on the file to open the document.
  2. Click on the “Edit text” icon shown on the top center of the screen
  3. You can now make changes to your document. To change text, simply locate it and highlight it; in order to delete the text, select the text, then click the backspace button.
  4. Click OK to apply changes to your document and Save As to finalize the changes.
editing pdf document with foxit

How to edit a PDF online document using DocFly PDF Editor

  1. Open DocFly PDF Editor on your web browser using any of your devices.
  2. Import your PDF document and drag it to the document drop zone or click Upload to choose a file from your computer.
  3. Check the box next to your file name, then click the Edit PDF button on the Edit Tab. You will have access to various tools and functions.
  4. Download your file to save changes to the document after changes have been made.
editing online pdf with docfly editor

Frequently Asked Questions About Editing PDF Documents In Google Docs

  • Can you edit a PDF document in Google Docs?

Yes, you can. By uploading your PDF file on Google Docs, it could easily be converted into an editable word file in which changes can be made.

  • How can you enable Editing on Google Docs?

Locate the Share option on the top right corner of your screen, select the Get Link Option, click on it and then select the Editor. You will now be able to add links, texts, and images in your document.

  • How do I make a PDF editable for free?

Open Google Docs and select the PDF file you want to edit. Upload the file, by clicking on the Open with option that will appear on the top right center of the screen. Your PDF file can be edited for free now.

  • How do I restrict editing in Google Docs? 

Locate the share option on the top right corner of your screen and click on it. select the link option, then click Change, an arrow will appear beside anyone with the link for which you can select Restricted.

  • How do I edit shared Google Docs?

You have the option of editing the viewer’s access by clicking on the shared link to open the shared document to restrict the file to view only feature. In order to access the option, the user would need to send a request to the owner of the file, then editing can begin.


To recap, as you can see, editing PDF documents (whether it's through Google Docs or 3rd-party tools) is a piece of cake.

Hopefully, this guide helped and you'll know how to start making edits in your PDF docs now.

Though there are a lot of different PDF editors out there, most of them should get the job done. Google Docs, Adobe Acrobat, Foxit, Wondershare, and DocFly are just a few tools you can use.

And to sum up, most of these tools should be able to help you edit your PDFs to make the following changes:

With the information presented above you should be able to easily identify your editing needs, the right program to use in modifying the document structure and content which may include Google Doc, PDFelement, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and so on. 

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
Start for free