If you have PDF documents that you prefer to have in text format in your Google Drive account, the option to convert PDFs to Google Doc will allow you to do just that.
However, converting PDF is not as easy as many people think. Of course, it’s easy to quickly convert a PDF file to a Google Doc file. However, what you like has to do with formatting and style, as you will see in the examples below.
Fortunately, there are workarounds to keep the original formatting of the PDF document. Whether you choose this approach depends on whether you care about formatting in the first place.
Prepare to convert your PDF to Google Document Format
Before converting a PDF file to Google Doc format, you need to make sure that all the information that should be part of the PDF document is present.
For example, if you are converting a lease in PDF format, you must first fill out the agreement with all the required information. You can do this with any of your favorite PDF editors
If you don’t have a PDF editor on your computer, the easiest way to do this is to use a free online PDF editing tool like SmallPDF
After all the forms in the document are completed, you can download the PDF file. It is now ready to be converted to Google Doc format.
Quickly convert PDF to Google document format
The fastest way to convert any PDF file directly to Google Doc format is to start the conversion process directly from Google Drive.
- Upload the PDF to your Google Drive account by right-clicking inside any folder and select Upload Files.
- After uploading the PDF to Google Drive, you can right-click the file and select Open With, then select Google Docs.
- Google Docs will automatically convert the PDF to Google Docs format.
You will immediately notice that while text is imported correctly from most PDFs, the formatting is rarely perfect.
Common errors that occur during automatic conversion:
- Double space is replaced with single space.
- Simple spacing is replaced with no space.
- Indents are removed
- Numbered or bulleted lists are merged into a single paragraph.
- Fields in filled forms are removed.
If you have made sure to fill in the fields in the PDF document before converting, the text in those fields will be converted without errors.
However, this automatic conversion approach is best used if you don’t care much about formatting and just want to transfer all of the text from the PDF to the Google document.
Convert PDF to Google Document Format
There is a way around this formatting error by taking advantage of the more accurate Microsoft Word conversion process.
If you use Microsoft Word to convert PDF to Microsoft Word document, you can then convert that document to Google Doc document. All original formatting will be preserved and carried over.
- To do this, open Microsoft Word on your computer.
- In Word, choose “Open” from the main menu and navigate to the PDF you want to convert.
- You will see a pop-up notifying you that the file needs to be converted from PDF. Click “OK” to continue.
- When the conversion is complete, you will see that the document is open in Word. Word does a great job of preserving the original formatting. Unlike Google Docs, spacing, padding, bold, etc. are commonly used here.
You may need to select “Allow Editing” at the top of the window to save the file to your computer in Word format.
- Select File, Save As and save the Word document to your computer. The file will be saved with the docx extension.
- Open your Google Drive account and navigate to the folder where you want to save the converted PDF file. Right click inside the folder and select Upload Files. Browse to your saved docx file and select “Open.”
- This will transfer the document to Google Drive as a Word file. Right-click the file, select “Open With” and select “Google Docs.”
This will convert the Word document to Google Docs format. As you can see, this newly converted file contains a much better formatted version of the original PDF.
- To complete the conversion, select File and Save as Google Doc.
This will remove the “.DOCX” at the top of the document and save the document as a complete Google document.
This approach may require a few extra steps, but if formatting of the original PDF is important to you, this is a good way to transfer that formatting.
Other ways to convert PDF documents
There are many other tools and approaches that can be used to convert a PDF document to Word or Google Docs. The option you choose depends on what tools you have.
- Use online or PDF conversion tools to convert from PDF to Word, and then repeat the process above to convert your Word document to Google Docs.
- Use online tools to convert PDF document to JPG file and insert JPG into your google document.
- Use online tools to extract text from a PDF document and insert text into a Google document (if formatting doesn’t matter at all).
- Use online OCR services to convert problematic PDF files that are not easy to convert to text format.
As you can see, when you want to convert PDFs to Google Docs, you have tons of great options.