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. ...

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