Tips to know with PDF files on Google Drive

Google Drive currently provides quite a few useful tools to help us edit text files, spreadsheets or presentation slides. But that’s not all this cloud service can offer because Drive also supports very well interacting with PDF files thanks to built-in features as well as external installations. In this article we take a look at a few ways to take advantage of Drive’s PDF support so we can work faster and easier.

Download Google Drive for iOS

Download Google Drive for Android

Download Google Drive for Windows Phone

Download Foxit Reader

1. Available Features

Save PDF files directly to Drive when viewing with Chrome

Chrome itself has a pretty cool PDF viewer built in with fast loading speeds. In addition to saving files to your computer, this viewer also has a button to save files directly to our Drive account that not many people know about. Normally you have to download manually and then re-upload to Drive manually, while now it only takes one click to finish.

Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive

Usage is also very simple. First of all, you need to make sure that you are signed in to your Google account in Chrome. Afterward:

  1. Browse the web and open any PDF file
  2. In the new screen that appears, click on the printer icon in the toolbar that appears at the bottom edge
  3. Click on the button “Change” > scroll down to section “Google Cloud Print
  4. Choose “Save to Google Drive
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Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive

Edit the contents of a PDF file

Google Drive has built-in technology to help read and convert PDF files. Based on this technology, you can quickly search for content in PDF files similar to when you find a certain keyword in Word, Excel, PowerPoint files. In addition, because the text in the PDF document has been converted to editable text, you are free to edit the content as you like.

Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive


  • Upload your PDF file to Drive
  • Right click > select Open With > Google Docs.
  • Once the file has opened, save it as Google Docs
  • Edit, edit, search as you like
  • When finished editing, you can save the file as a PDF for further use (See instructions below)

Note: for PDF pages with complex formats, such as the document table of contents, the content may be skewed after converting to a Google Docs file. Images, notes, colors, fonts… are mostly still the same, so it doesn’t affect much.

Content converted from PDF files to Google Docs for editing

Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive

Export any document file to PDF

Normally, when you edit text files, spreadsheets or presentations on Google Drive, you will have the option to save it to your computer as Word, Excel or PowerPoint. But that’s not all, because Drive also supports us to export PDF files. Usually to share and do not want others to edit, you should choose PDF, so the format will be preserved, and it is also easy to view on many different devices.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. In any open document in Drive, click the File menu
  2. Choose Download as > PDF Document

Scan PDF files with mobile apps

When you install the Drive app on Android or iOS, you can take advantage of your phone’s camera to scan a document on paper and convert it into a PDF file. A special feature is that after using the camera to take a photo, Drive will automatically trim the page accordingly, then increase the contrast and other parameters to make it easier to read. The sheet of paper can also be flattened and brightened compared to the camera image. Great for storing documents online and getting rid of paper clutter.

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Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive


  1. Run the Drive app on Android or iOS
  2. Click the + sign like when you create a new document
  3. Select the camera icon
  4. Put the paper into the photo frame, note that it is better to shoot in a well-lit environment, the results will be better
  5. Press capture, then press the tick button and wait for Drive to convert the image to PDF

2. Use external add-ons via Chrome

Markup on PDF file

Notable PDF is an add-on that turns Chrome into a powerful PDF viewer. It will allow you to highlight, underline, strike out, insert comments and add text to documents, just like Adobe Reader on a computer can do. If you often work online, even just using Chrome to process PDF files is enough.

How to use: right click on your PDF file and select select Open With > Notable PDF

Download the Notable PDF add-on

Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive

Fill in and sign the PDF file

Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer by default lets you fill in PDFs with blanks. However, if you need to checkmark, insert a signature or have to fill in the same information multiple times, you will have to resort to services like HelloSign or DocuSign. Both have the ability to integrate with Drive, so you just need to right-click on your PDF file and select Open With > HelloSign / DocuSign and you’re done, no need to manually upload to these two services.

The free account of the two services mentioned above allows you to work with a total of 3 files per month, but that’s okay because if we sign any file we can save it on our Drive and delete it from HelloSign / DocuSign.

Download HelloSign

Download DocuSign

Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive

Merge multiple PDF files into one

Normally to do this you have to use software installed on your computer, but if you use the PDF Mergy service, everything will be done online, so it will be faster. Usage is extremely simple: in Drive, you right-click which files to merge, then select Open With > PDF Mergy. These documents will then be automatically transferred to the PDF Mergy website, where you can easily move them to the desired location, drag and drop or add files as you like.

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When everything is as it should be, click the “Merge“Brown blue to perform the blending operation. You can save the resulting file to your computer or save it to Drive.

Download PDF Mergy

Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive

Crop PDF file, why not?

Once mixed, now cut. There will be times when you need to crop a PDF file to get only the necessary pages or to reduce the file size before uploading it somewhere. PDFSplit Tool! will help you do this, and of course it is well integrated with Drive so everything becomes even more convenient.


  1. Open a PDF file in Drive
  2. Click the Open With icon
  3. Choose PDFSplit!
  4. In the new web page that appears, in the “Pages” line, enter the serial number of the page you want to start cutting and the number of the end page.
  5. For example, if I want to go from pages 6 to 9 of a PDF file, enter the number 6 in the first box, the number 9 in the second box.
  6. Click Split when you’ve made your selections.

Download PDFSplit!

Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive

Set password for PDF files

With the same usage as PDFSplit! but the PDFProtect add-in! will allow you to password protect your PDF file. You will be able to choose different levels of encryption, whether to allow printing of documents or not, whether to change the file content or not… Great and convenient, isn’t it?

Download PDFProtect!

Tips to know to work more efficiently with PDF files on Google Drive

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