The ability to edit PDFs in Google Docs is not something commonly known among the many people who work with PDF files every day. Many people assume that Google Docs and PDF files are compatible but they are not always. Some PDF files may be too large or too stuffed with formatting that they will not even open in Google Docs. But for those files that can be read and viewed with Google Docs, this offers users an easy and convenient way to edit the text of any specific PDF file. PDF files that are saved to Google Drive can be opened with Google Docs and then turned into a new PDF file when it is saved.

Google PDF Editor Definition

To be clear, Google does not have a specific or dedicated PDF editor within its suite of other tools like Docs, Sheets, and Drive. The options that users have to edit PDF files within Google Docs are also limited. The software uses OCR technology to translate the PDF format into a new Google Docs file while omitting or otherwise leaving out other important formatting features.

The option to add or remove pages to a PDF file in Google Docs is also non-existent. Users are limited to only adding or removing text from the file. But formatted text or text that is part of another element like a table, graph, or footnote may also not be able to be edited or changed. Despite these limitations, however, users can still open PDF files with Google Docs to make quick changes to the text.

Preview Any PDF in Google Drive

One important feature that Google Drive does allow for with PDFs is the ability to preview PDF files. Users can upload any PDF file to their Google Drive account and then see a preview of it, unaltered and in its original formatting. This is important for users to open and read any important information in the file without needing to open it in Google Docs and potentially losing that information.

There is a risk that when a PDF is opened in Google Docs, some information will not be displayed clearly or in the correct format, thereby making it harder to read. The preview feature in Google Drive happens automatically when users scroll over the file or open it as an email attachment, before needing to open it in Google Docs.

Convert a PDF File to a Google Doc

Converting a PDF file into a Google Doc is as easy as opening the PDF file in Google Docs. Users will be given the option in the Preview section whether they want to open the file in Google Docs or in another application. Once they select Open With Google Docs, the file will automatically be converted into a Google Doc.

The file will appear with most of its text intact, but other elements that are not compatible with the file format will not appear, which is the most glaring limitation of using the Google Drive PDF editor. Users should be aware of this feature before selecting to convert their PDF into a Google Doc.

If users still want to edit the text in a PDF file they can do so, and create a new PDF file once they have updated the text. After making the necessary changes to their text, users can then either Print and Save the new text as a PDF file. They also have the option to export the file as a PDF from a list of other options. Choosing the PDF format will save those changes and create a new PDF file.

Open PDF Files Using Third-Party Readers

The other option for users who want to fully edit their PDFs is browser-based tools and programs that perform many of the same functions as top-notch software. There are dozens of different programs dotting the internet that let users edit, alter, merge and split PDF files while also giving them the ability to compress or convert files to the PDF format.

These third-party editing programs are often free-to-use although some of them have premium features. Many of these online PDF editors come in downloadable formats so users can edit or change their PDFs offline. Depending on the program, it can give users the option to perform other important PDF functions like locking or unlocking a PDF file, adding a digital signature, and automatically saving changes to the cloud.

Lumin PDF is one such program that gives users a wealth of options to make changes to their PDF files. Lumin comes in both an online and offline, desktop version so users can continue to make changes to their files even without an internet connection. Lumin offers many advanced features as well including cloud collaboration, annotations, OCR (optical character recognition), and compression or conversion services.

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