Converting a PDF to a Docs File

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 9, 2014)

One of the historical problems that people have had with PDF files is that they can be tricky to get into an editable format of some type. (I can't tell you how many times I've been asked about converting PDF files into Word documents.) While the last couple of years have seen some improvements in this area, Google Docs has bypassed a lot of the historic problems by building an OCR (optical character recognition) capability into their uploading capabilities.

In order to take advantage of this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Log into Google Drive (drive.google.com).
  2. Click the Settings tool. (It is near the upper-right corner of the screen; it has an icon of a gear on it.) Drive displays a few options.
  3. Hover the mouse pointer over the Upload Settings option. Drive displays a few more options.
  4. Make sure the Convert Text from Uploaded PDF and Image Files option is selected. (I also suggest choosing the Confirm Settings Before Each Upload option.)
  5. Upload your PDF files to Drive the same as you would upload any other file. Assuming you took my suggestion and chose the Confirm Settings Before Each Upload option, you'll see the Upload Settings dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Upload Settings dialog box.

  7. Make sure the settings match what you want to do with the PDF you're uploading. (You want to convert it, right?)
  8. Click Start Upload. The Upload Settings dialog box disappears and the upload and conversion begins.

When the upload is done, your PDF file is saved as a Docs file with the same name as the original PDF file. If you open that file, you'll find the original PDF embedded at the start of the document and then the text that was pulled from the PDF at the end of the document. You can then edit it as you desire, just as you would with any other Docs document.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Quickly Selecting Text

Want a really quick way to select text? Just combine the Shift key with a simple mouse click.

Discover More

Updating Fields in Locked Forms

Updating form fields in Word can be confusing, especially when the fields are locked in a form. This tips explains why ...

Discover More

Creating a Chart

Creating a graphic chart based on your worksheet data is easy. This tip provides a couple of different ways you can start ...

Discover More
More DriveTips

Translating Documents

Need some help getting your document translated into a different language? Docs has a built-in translation tool that can ...

Discover More

Researching Using Google's Resources

Got a need to search the web for more information on something you are writing about? It should be no surprise that Docs, ...

Discover More

Downloading Documents to Your Local Computer

Want to pull a document out of the cloud and store it on your local hard drive? Google Drive provides the ability to get ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 + 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)