How to Make PDFs Editable: A Step-by-Step Guide with Google Docs

Turning a PDF into an editable Google Doc is a simple yet vital skill in this digital age. Whether you want to tweak a resume, modify a shared document, or fill out a form, Google Docs provides an easy way to edit PDF content. You upload the PDF to your Google Drive, open it with Google Docs, and voilà – it’s transformed into an editable document.

After completing the process, you get a fully editable version of the PDF in Google Docs format, which you can then edit, share, and collaborate on just like any other Google Doc.


Ever found yourself stuck with a PDF document you needed to edit but couldn’t? It’s a common situation that can be incredibly frustrating. After all, the PDF format is great for maintaining the integrity of a document’s layout and is widely used for documents that are meant to be viewed rather than edited. But what if you need to make changes? This is where Google Docs becomes your best friend.

Editing PDFs can be a hassle, especially if you don’t have the right tools. Fortunately, Google Docs offers a neat solution that allows you to convert PDF files into editable documents. This feature is particularly useful for students, professionals, or anyone who needs to make quick changes to a PDF without the rigmarole of using complicated software. It’s a quick, easy, and free way to edit PDFs, and best of all, it’s accessible to anyone with a Google account. Let’s dive into how you can leverage Google Docs to make those PDFs editable.

How to Make PDFs Editable with Google Docs

Let’s get started with the steps needed to edit your PDF using Google Docs.

Step 1: Upload the PDF to Google Drive

Navigate to your Google Drive and upload the PDF file you want to edit.

Uploading your document to Google Drive is the first step. You can do this by simply dragging and dropping the file into the Drive or using the ‘New’ button to select and upload the file. Make sure you’re logged into the right Google account before you start.

Step 2: Open with Google Docs

Right-click on the uploaded PDF and select ‘Open with > Google Docs’.

This action will prompt Google Drive to convert the PDF into an editable Google Docs format. It may take a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on the size and complexity of the PDF.

Step 3: Edit as Needed

Once the document is open in Google Docs, you can edit it as you would any other document.

You can now add or delete text, insert images, change formatting, and so on. It’s important to note that the conversion isn’t always perfect, especially with documents that have a lot of images or complex formatting, but it will get you a step closer to making those necessary edits.


AccessibilitySince Google Docs is cloud-based, you can access and edit your files from anywhere with an internet connection.
CollaborationGoogle Docs allows multiple people to work on the same document in real-time, making it perfect for teamwork.
Cost-EffectiveGoogle Docs is free to use, which is fantastic for those who don’t want to invest in expensive PDF editing software.


Formatting IssuesComplex PDFs might not convert perfectly, requiring additional time to fix formatting.
Internet DependencyYou need an internet connection to use Google Docs, which isn’t ideal for those without reliable access.
Limited Editing ToolsGoogle Docs may not have the same range of editing tools as specialized PDF editors.

Additional Information

Making PDFs editable with Google Docs can be a real time-saver, but it’s not without its quirks. Sometimes, you might find that the formatting isn’t quite right after conversion, or that certain elements like tables or fonts don’t look the way they did in the original PDF. But don’t panic! With a little bit of manual tweaking, you can usually get things looking good as new.

Another tip is to make sure you check the permissions on your Google Doc after converting it from a PDF. You want to ensure that only the right people have access to edit or view your document, especially if it’s something sensitive.

Remember, while Google Docs is great for basic editing, if you’re looking to do more advanced edits, like altering the layout or editing scanned PDFs, you might need to look into more specialized software. But for the average user, Google Docs is a convenient and cost-effective solution that’s well worth exploring.


  1. Upload the PDF to Google Drive.
  2. Open the uploaded PDF with Google Docs.
  3. Edit the document as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the PDF contains images?

Google Docs may not handle images in PDFs perfectly. You might need to adjust the images manually after the conversion.

Can I convert a scanned PDF document into an editable Google Doc?

Scanned PDFs are trickier since they’re essentially images of text. Google Docs has OCR capabilities, but your results might vary.

Is the formatting from the original PDF retained in the conversion?

While Google Docs aims to maintain as much formatting as possible, some elements may be lost or altered during the conversion process.

Can I edit the PDF without converting it to a Google Doc?

No, Google Docs needs to convert the PDF to its format for editing.

Will the original PDF file be affected by the editing?

No, the original PDF will remain unchanged. The editable version is a separate Google Docs file.


There you have it – a straightforward guide on how to make PDFs editable using Google Docs. It’s a handy trick that can save you from the frustrations of uneditable documents, and the best part is, it’s free and accessible to anyone with a Google account.

While it might not be perfect for every PDF out there, particularly those with intricate formatting or images, it’s a great starting point for basic edits and collaborations. So next time you’re stuck with a static PDF, remember this guide and get editing with ease.