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How to Turn a PDF File Into Google Docs Without Losing Formatting

January 25, 2022
Author
Inkit Team

Suppose you wanted to add extra information to an already completed PDF file or edit a downloaded PDF file. You’d think turning the PDF into a Google Doc might be one of the most convenient ways to do this.

Only to realize some of the formatting challenges that come with converting or uploading your PDF file.

Google Docs is a document processing software that can safely edit parts of your PDF document instead of creating a new PDF file from scratch. This software also allows you to save the document to PDF format to enable easy and secure sharing and printing.

In our post today, we will discuss how to turn PDF into Google Docs without losing formatting quickly and we’ll answer the following questions:

  • Why Convert PDF to Google Docs to Edit Its Content
  • What Formatting Challenges Can I Expect When Converting PDF Into Google Docs?
  • How Can I Convert a Text-Only PDF Into Google Docs?
  • How Can I Turn a Formatted PDF Into Google Docs Without Losing Formatting?
  • How Can I Share a Google Doc File As An Editable Link?
  • How Can I Save a Google Doc As a PDF?

Why Convert PDF to Google Docs to Edit Its Content

You may need to turn a PDF file you've previously prepared into a Google Doc when you need to edit some parts, fill out a form, add some information or make last-minute changes to the data in the document.

The PDF file format is a storage and sharing format and does not allow document editing as a data security feature. Once you prepare a file and save it in PDF format, you need to convert it to an editable format using a program that allows editing.

As a document processing software, Google Docs allows you to convert a PDF file into an editable format when you need to. Depending on the size and formatting of your document, Google Docs can help you edit your PDF document easily, leaving its composition intact.

You may also need to turn a PDF into Google Docs to save an editable copy of the PDF document for future reference.

What Formatting Challenges Can I Expect When Converting PDF Into Google Docs?

It is easy to turn a PDF file to Google Docs as you only need to have the PDF file you intend to convert, and Google Docs is available for free on any computing device. 

However, due to the differences between PDF format and Google Docs format, the text arrangement, font styles, and images in your document may be affected when you turn a PDF into Google Docs.

You might find that when you turn a PDF into a Google Doc, the initial spacing, indentations, and other paragraph formattings may be affected. 

The formatting on your PDF file breaks when you convert the file into a Google Doc because of the differences in features and codes between the PDF and Google Doc formats. When you import or convert any file in a different program than the one you initially used to create it, the new program can only import the features and codes it supports.

So, in short, it depends on the type of PDF you’re looking at and the kind of editing you’ll want to do.

Let’s take a look at a few scenarios.

How Can I Convert a Text-Only PDF Into Google Docs?

You can turn a text-only PDF to Google Docs quickly without encountering any formatting challenges if your PDF file is below 2MB in size. This conversion works seamlessly if your PDF file is formatted using Times New Roman or Arial fonts, as these are also available in Google Docs.

If you want to turn your PDF file into an editable Google Doc file, here’s what you do:

  1. Log into your Gmail account and click on Google Drive.
  2. Once in Google Drive, click on the New button on the left side of your screen and select the File Upload option.
upload pdf to google doc

3. Select the PDF file you wish to turn to Google Doc.

4. Click the Open option to upload the PDF file.

5. Once the PDF file has finished uploading, click on it and select Open with Google Docs to turn it into a Google Doc.

open with google docs

Depending on your PDF document, the output product can be a smooth and easy Google Doc you can edit directly.

But that’s not always the case, depending on the content of your PDF.

Here’s what you should do that in that case.

How Can I Turn a Formatted PDF Into Google Docs Without Losing Formatting?

To avoid losing your PDF's original formatting like tables, graphs, bullet lists, and other types of document formatting, you can consider converting the PDF file into an MS Word document before turning it into a Google Doc.

To convert your PDF file into an easy-to-edit MS Word document:

  1. Open the Microsoft Word program on your computer.
  2. On the main toolbar, go to file and in the pull-down menu, select the Open option.
  3. On the document options provided, select the PDF file you wish to convert into an MS Word document.
open pdf as word file to edit
  1. Once you select your PDf file, a pop-up window will appear, indicating that the file will convert into an editable MS Word document. 
  2. Click on the OK option to allow conversion.
  3. When the program completes converting the document, the document now appears with the same spacing, indentation, and font formatting as in the original PDF file.
  4. Click on the Enable Editing option on top of your document to further edit the file.
how to edit pdf file in ms word
  1. On the File menu in the main toolbar, click on the ‘Save As’ option to save the document in DOCX format.
save pdf file edited as docx

Next, you can now turn the PDF document into a Google Doc to retain the formatting. 

We’ll be following the same steps as above to upload this document into Google Docs.

  1. Sign in to your Gmail account and open Google Drive.
  2. Click on the New button option on the left side of your screen and select the File Upload option.
  3. Select the document you have converted into a DOCX file.
  4. Right-click on the document and in the options provided in the pull-down menu, click on the Open option, and select the Google Docs option.
how to edit pdf file as google docs
  1. Once the DOCx file completes the conversion process, click on the File options and select the Save As Google Docs option. Your document is now saved as an editable Google Doc with intact original formatting.
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How Can I Share a Google Doc File As An Editable Link?

Once you have converted your PDF file into a Google Doc, you can share it with others as an editable link following these steps:

  1. Open the document you wish to share as an editable Google Doc link in Google Drive.
  2. Click on the Share button appearing on the top right side of your screen.
share google doc options
  1. On the panel that appears on your screen, go to the Get Link tab and click on the Change option.
  2. Select the Anyone With This Link in the options on your screen.
  3. On the right side of the Get Link Tab, click on the Options button and select the Editor option. This option automatically changes the Anyone With This Link option to the Anyone With This Link Can Edit option.
share google docs as editable link
  1. Click on the Done option to confirm the setting.
  2. Now click on the Copy link option and paste it on email or any other platform to share it as an editable Google Doc link.

How Can I Save a Google Doc As a PDF?

Finally, assuming you made the edits and want to save the document back as a PDF, here’s how to download it again.

  1. Click on the File option on the left side of the main toolbar of your Google Docs interface.
  2. In the pull-down menu that appears, select the Download option.
download google doc as pdf
  1. In the format option side pane that appears, select the PDF Document format.

Alternatively:

  1. Click on the File option on the main toolbar.
  2. Select the Email option on the pull-down menu that appears on the screen.
  3. Click on the Email This File option.
email this file google doc
  1. Select the PDF option once you input an email address, subject, and message body on the Email This File panel on your screen.
email file as pdf convert
  1. This option allows you to directly convert your Google Docs file into PDF format before sharing it with others.

Conclusion

The process of turning a PDF to Google Docs requires you to work from a desktop computer as the mobile version of Google Docs can only convert your PDF into a read-only Google Docs file. 

This process is straightforward and saves you the time you'd otherwise spend formatting the document afresh when you only need to make a few edits.

Need more info on managing, converting, or editing your PDF documents?

Be sure to also read:

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