How to Edit a PDF in Google Drive With Simple Steps

Google Drive is more than an online repository for your files. It is an essential tool for managing collaborative projects efficiently. Its compatibility with a wide range of file types makes it incredibly versatile, catering to the needs of those who frequently share and edit documents, images, and PDFs. This flexibility ensures seamless collaboration, whether you’re working on a team report, a creative project, or any other group task.

One of the standout features of Google Drive is its robust support for PDFs. Not only can you store and share PDFs with ease, but you also have access to a plethora of formatting and customization options. These tools allow you to edit text, add annotations, merge documents, and much more, directly within Google Drive.

To help you make the most of these features, we’ve created a comprehensive guide. It will walk you through each tool and function, ensuring that you can fully utilize Google Drive’s capabilities for your PDF needs. This guide will empower you to take full advantage of the platform’s potential, making your collaborative efforts more productive and streamlined.

Log in to Google Drive

To get started with Google Drive, follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Access Google Drive

Open any web browser and navigate to Google Drive. Click on “Go To Drive” to enter the cloud platform.

  • Step 2: Sign In

If you’re new to Google Drive, setting it up is quick and easy. Sign in with your Google account email and password. All basic features, including PDF editing, are available for free.

  • Step 3: Prepare Your PDF

Once you’re logged in, ensure that the PDF you want to edit is downloaded and stored on your local computer or another easily accessible location. This will make it easier to upload and start editing your PDF in Google Drive.

By following these steps, you’ll be ready to utilize Google Drive for all your collaborative and PDF editing needs.

Open a New File and Find Your PDF

Step 1: Add a New File

After logging in to Google Drive, you need to start by creating a new file or uploading your PDF.

  1. Locate the ‘New’ Button: In the upper-left corner of the Google Drive interface, you’ll see a large button labeled “New.”
  2. Select ‘New’: Click on this button to open a menu of options.

By selecting “New,” you’re on your way to either creating a new document or uploading your existing PDF for editing and sharing.

Step 2: Upload Your PDF

  1. Select ‘File Upload’: In the menu that appears after clicking the “New” button, choose the “File Upload” option.
  2. Locate Your PDF: Navigate through your computer’s files to find the PDF you want to upload.
  3. Upload the PDF: Select the PDF file and click “Open” to upload it to Google Drive.

This will add your PDF to Google Drive, making it accessible for editing and sharing.

Step 3: Locate and Select Your PDF

  1. Access Local Storage: After choosing “File Upload,” a window will open displaying your local storage.
  2. Navigate to Storage Locations: You can navigate to other storage options, such as connected external drives.
  3. Find Your PDF: Locate the folder where your PDF is stored. If you recently downloaded it, you might find it in your Downloads folder.
  4. Select Your PDF: Click on the PDF file you want to upload. For example, you might select a file like the “Website Accessibility Checklist” from the Bureau of Internet Accessibility.
  5. Upload the PDF: Once selected, click “Open” to upload it to Google Drive.

This will add the PDF to your Google Drive, ready for any editing or sharing tasks.

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Download Your PDF to Google Drive and Open It

Step 1: Monitor the Download Notification

  1. Check the Bottom Right: Once you start uploading your PDF, a download notification will appear at the bottom right of your Google Drive window.
  2. Monitor the Progress: The notification will indicate the progress of your upload. For larger PDFs, this might take a bit of time, so keep an eye on it.
  3. Wait for Completion: When the upload is finished, the notification will change to indicate that the file is ready.

Step 2: Open the PDF

  1. Locate the Uploaded PDF: Navigate to the main Google Drive window. Your newly uploaded PDF should appear in the file list.
  2. Open the File: Double-click on the PDF file to open it in Google Drive’s preview mode. This allows you to view the document.
  3. Enter Editing Mode: If you need to edit the PDF, click the “Open with” dropdown menu at the top of the preview window and select “Google Docs.” This will convert your PDF into an editable Google Docs file.
  4. Start Editing: Once in Google Docs, you can begin editing your PDF as needed.
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By following these steps, you can upload, access, and start working with your PDF directly in Google Drive.

See What Edits You Can Make

Immediate Interaction with the PDF

  1. Open the PDF: Once your PDF is open in Google Drive, you can immediately begin interacting with it.
  2. Direct Edits: If the PDF is one you’ve previously accessed or a group PDF with permissions, you might be able to directly edit text and images. This is common for shared documents within a team.

Handling Non-Editable PDFs

  1. Limited Editing: Many PDFs downloaded from the internet are designed to be non-editable. These restrictions mean you can’t alter the text or images directly.
  2. Commenting and Discussions:
    • Highlight Content: You can still engage with the document by highlighting text or other elements.
    • Add Comments: After highlighting, a plus-sign icon will appear on the right side of the document. Click this icon to add a comment.
    • Collaborate: This feature allows you to have discussions, provide feedback, and collaborate with your team even if the actual content of the PDF cannot be altered.

By using the commenting feature, you can effectively communicate and collaborate on the document without the need for direct edits. This is especially useful for team projects and shared reviews.

Open with Google Docs for Further Options

Converting PDFs to Editable Documents

  1. Open With Google Docs:
    • At the top of your Google Drive window, select the option to Open With Google Docs.
    • This will convert your PDF into a Google Docs file, allowing you to make text edits.
  2. Editing in Google Docs:
    • Once the PDF is converted, you can edit the content as you would in any Google Docs file.
    • Be aware that conversion might not be perfect. Text formatting might change, and images may not align correctly or may be missing.
  3. Quick Access to Text:
    • This method is useful for quickly accessing and editing the text in a PDF when other methods fail.
    • Keep in mind that this is a basic solution, and for more complex PDFs, other tools might be necessary.

Editting PDFs is Simple and Seamless Throgh Automatic Saving

Editing PDFs in Google Drive is straightforward. Once you’ve opened your PDF, you can make changes right away. If the PDF is editable, you can modify text and images directly. Otherwise, you can still add comments and highlight content for discussion with your team.

If you need to edit the text directly, you can open the PDF in Google Docs. This converts the PDF to a Docs file, allowing you to edit the text. However, be aware that images may not convert perfectly, so it’s best for text-heavy documents.

Google Drive also offers suggestions for third-party apps like Lumin and DocHub. These apps can be useful for specific tasks like signing and sending PDFs, especially for legal documents.

Your changes in Google Drive are automatically saved, so there’s no need to worry about losing your work. When you’re done editing, you can easily share the PDF with others by clicking the share icon. If you want to return to your Drive dashboard, simply click the back arrow.


As we’ve learned in this article, editing PDFs in Google Drive is simple. Whether you need to make direct edits, add comments, or convert the PDF to a Google Docs file, Drive offers versatile options to suit your needs. With automatic saving and easy sharing capabilities, managing PDFs becomes seamless and efficient. By harnessing the power of Google Drive, you can streamline your document editing workflow and collaborate effectively with your team.

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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