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How To Insert And Embed PDF files Into Google Docs

February 5, 2022

PDF documents are the go-to file format for archiving, exchanging, and virtualizing word documents for a reason.

But like many other users, you might have encountered certain issues in inserting and embedding your documents into Google Docs or other word-processing apps.

Embedding PDFs can be tricky, especially if you don’t want to lose your original formatting and keep the experience as smooth as possible.

However, similar to most tasks that require slight maneuverability around certain restrictions, a little step-by-step workaround to the process will do the trick.

In today's post, the focus will be on Google Docs and PDF manipulation, where you will learn how to:

  • How To Insert A PDF File Into Google Docs
  • 2 Ways To Attach A PDF File To A Google Doc
  • How To Convert A PDF Into an Editable Google Docs File
  • How To Email A Google Docs In PDF Format

How To Insert A PDF File Into Google Docs

When using Google Docs, you might have noticed that there is no direct feature to embed PDF files in your work.

Fortunately, though, there are a few workarounds to achieve this, which we’ll cover below.

One way to insert a PDF file into Google Docs is to simply convert it to an image (the whole document or only a specific section of the PDF you can crop).

Similarly, you can also insert an HTML file by converting it to a JPG first.

  1. There are a lot of online tools you can use to convert PDF to JPG, such as PDFtoImage, PDF2JPG, and so on.
  2. Navigate your preferred conversion tool and upload your prepared PDF file.
  3. When the conversion is complete, download the converted JPG or JPEG file locally on your device.
  4. After this, open your Google Docs file.
  5. Now, go to the page you wish to attach your PDF to, click Insert, Image, and select Upload from computer.
how to upload image to google doc file
  1. Navigate your computer directory from the prompt that pops up and locate the JPEG/JPG file you have just converted and downloaded on your device.
  2. Select the located file and click Open.

Now, this simply attaches a part of your PDF file as an image in your Google Docs.

However, because it’s a JPG file format, its interactivity of it will be lost. Meaning, you won’t be able to scroll through the full PDF or write on the PDF, for example.

If you want to retain the full formatting and interactivity of your PDF, you’ll want to attach the document to your Google Docs.

Here’s how to do that:

2 Ways To Attach A PDF File To A Google Doc

There are two ways to go about this using Google Docs built-in features, and you can either add a share link in the document or convert your whole document and merge it with your reference PDF.

PDFs are primarily famous for their utility in hosting various forms of information that need to be shared, whether graphical, numerical, or pictorial. So, Depending on the nature of the content your PDF is referencing, you can choose whichever method works for you.

Below, we’ll cover both methods.

Method 1. Insert a shareable link from Google Drive

This method of PDF attachment is very straightforward and makes for easy access to your referenced content for when you want to send your PDF to someone.

A link to the PDF is inserted into the document in Google Docs. Here's how to do that:

  1. To create a link for your locally stored PDF(offline), upload the PDF to your Google Drive account (if it isn't already located in the cloud).
  2. Locate your PDF on your Google Drive.
  3. Right Click on the file and select the get link option.
  4. You'll be prompted with a dialogue box that requires you to choose your preferred file sharing setting.
share google docs link with editor access
  1. After choosing your setting, wait for the prompt to refresh and actuate your choice, then click on the Copy link.
  2. Go back to your document on Google Doc, position the cursor where you want to reference your PDF info, then right-click and select Paste. This will paste the share info for your PDF on Google Drive as an anchor link.

Method 2. Download the Google Doc and merge the PDF into one file

If you prefer to have your document accessed and browsed through with your PDF content without any external referencing, you can convert it to PDF and merge it with your reference PDF file. 

This method will require merging (or combining) your PDF

You can do this online with a 3rd-party tool or through Adobe Acrobat (either online or offline).

merge pdf files online with adobe

Essentially, we’ll be downloading our Google Doc file and then merging it with our PDF file.

Here’s how:

  1. Open your document on Google Docs.
  2. Access your toolbar, Click on the File option, from the drop-down click on Download and select the PDF Document(.pdf) option. Summarily, Go to File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf).
  3. Select your preferred download folder and save the Google Doc file as a PDF.
  4. Drag the PDF files you want to merge into Adobe Acrobat’s online tool. Or if you’re using their desktop software, you can find the Merge option from the Edit tab from the toolbar.
combine pdf files online adobe how to
  1. Click Merge and once it’s done, download the combined PDF file.
  2. From there, you can download the combined PDF file, compress it, edit it, get a shareable link, and so on.
merged pdf adobe settings to share

This is a simple workaround to attaching a PDF to Google Drive.

From there, you can:

Once you feel your PDF is ready to share, you can simply convert it back to Google Docs to give shareable access.

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How To Convert A PDF Into an Editable Google Docs File

Then, you can convert your PDF back into Google Docs. 

The process is simple:

  1. Log into Google Drive.
  2. Click on the New button on the left side of your screen and select File Upload.
  3. Find your PDF file and upload it.
  4. Once it’s uploaded, click on it and select Open With Google Docs to turn it into an editable file.
how to open pdf file with google docs

However, the issue with this process is that sometimes, the formatting can get lost in the conversion process.

If you want to maintain the original PDF document formatting, check out our full guide to turning a PDF into Google Docs, which covers other best practices as well.

How To Email A Google Docs In PDF Format

Finally, once you’ve made all the changes and conversions to your PDF files, you’ll want to know how to share it.

This part is simple.

You can either download and send the PDF file as an email attachment or email it to your recipient from Google Docs directly!

Here’s how:

  1. Access your Google Doc file on Google Docs.
  2. Access the File option from your toolbar, click on Email.
  3. Select the Email this File sub-option.
email this file with google docs
  1. Complete the form that pops up by filling out the necessary details.
  2. Ensure to uncheck the "Don't attach. Include content in the email" checkbox option.
  3. Under the checkbox space, there is a format drop-down menu. Select the PDF format as your new format type.
how to email google docs file as pdf


So, to recap, as you can see, there is no direct feature to insert or embed a PDF into your Google Doc file.

But hopefully, these simple workarounds will help you the next time you want to share you PDF documents through Google Drive.

One main advantage of Google Docs is that you can convert a PDF into an editable document directly. And then share it with viewable, editable, permissions, or to simply get someone’s comments on it.

Whether you want to upload your PDF directly to Google Drive, convert it into an editable Google Doc, or send it directly with a shareable link, this guide should have all the info you’ll need 

Need more info on sharing or managing your PDF documents?

Be sure to also read:

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
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