How to Insert a PDF into Google Docs [Easy Guide]

While Google Docs is primarily used for editing text-based content, it’s also a well-known tool for opening and editing PDFs. For example, you can try to embed one on your document if you want to reference a PDF file for your current project.

To insert a PDF into a Google Doc, simply convert its pages to images first. Then, upload the images to your document by clicking “Insert” > “Image” and selecting the source where you saved them.

But that isn’t the only way to do it. In this article, we’ll explain the different ways on how to insert PDF into Google Docs, how to edit them, how to attach them to your other files and discuss easy fixes to some common issues you might encounter when uploading PDfs to Google Docs.

How to Embed a PDF in Google Docs

While there’s no explicit way to embed your PDFs in an existing Google Docs file, the best method you can do is to convert them into images before uploading them to your document. To do this, try using these popular conversion tools like Adobe Acrobat and Small PDF.

After converting the pages into individual photos, head over to your Google Docs workspace. Click “Insert” > “Images,” and pick the source where you saved the converted pictures. For example, you can choose to “Upload from computer if you saved them on your local storage. Then, simply select them and proceed with the upload process.

How to insert PDF into Google Docs— inserting an image to Google Docs


And there you go! Alternatively, you can also take a screenshot of your PDF if you only need to embed one of its sections. Do keep in mind that embedding your PDF in this way means:

  • You cannot scroll it anymore since each page is inserted as a photo.
  • There’s no way for you to edit the PDF aside from image editing features like cropping and color adjustments.

Unfortunately, there’s no other way to embed your PDF as a whole file itself that is scrollable and editable. Instead, you can attach a PDF in Google Docs by using a hyperlink or by merging it to your current document.

How to Insert a PDF into Google Docs as Editable Content

Google Docs also does a pretty good job of converting your PDF into an editable version — without the need for third-party tools. To access this feature, simply head over to Google Drive and do the following steps.

  1. On the main page of Google Drive, click “New”
Uploading file to Google Drive


  1. Select “File Upload,” which would prompt a system window to appear where you can choose your PDF file
Uploading files to Google Drive


  1. Pick your document and proceed to the upload process, e.g., clicking “Open” for Windows PC users
  2. After uploading, right-click on your PDF and select “Open with” > “Google Docs”
Opening PDF with Google Docs


  1. After that, you will be redirected to a new tab that displays your editable document

Before proceeding with this method, it’s worth mentioning that the converted file will not be perfect due to some formatting issues. Therefore, this method should mainly be used for documents that contain photos and other multimedia elements. If it’s purely text-based, there won’t be any problem.

Note: The file won’t be saved as a PDF automatically because Google Docs generates a whole new copy that you can edit. To save your file as a PDF, head over to “File” > “Download” > “PDF Document (.pdf).”

Download Google Doc as PDF


Alternatively, you can also try to use a PDF to DOC conversion tool to keep most of its formatting. Once converted, simply upload the DOC version to your Google Drive and open it with Google Docs.

How to Attach a PDF to a Google Doc

Aside from embedding your PDF pages as images or generating an editable copy of your file, you can also choose to attach them to an existing Google Doc that you have. When we say “attach,” we’re talking about including it inside as a separate file that your readers can access.

Including a Share Link

The concept is actually pretty simple. You just need to paste the link of your PDF (assuming that it’s stored somewhere online) to your document. Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, go to Google Drive and upload your PDF
  2. Right-click on your file and select “Share”
Share PDF via Google Drive


  1. From the dialog box that appears, toggle “Restricted” > “Anyone with the link” to change the viewing permissions of your file
Changing viewing permissions in Google Drive


  1. Click the “Copy link” button on the lower-left of the dialog box to get the share link to your document
Copying share link in Google Drive


  1. Head over to your current Google Doc and paste your generated link
  2. Google Docs might also offer to turn your document link into a chip, which you can toggle either with your mouse or by hitting the “Tab” key on your keyboard
Google Docs files chips

Merging Your PDFs With Your Current Google Doc

Alternatively, you might also want to include the contents of your PDF inside your document, which would come in handy in case your reader isn’t anywhere near a Wi-Fi connection. To do this, you would need to access a PDF merging tool.

But first, you have to download your Google Doc as a PDF. Simply click “File” > “Download” > “PDF Document (.pdf).”

Download Google Doc as PDF


Once you have downloaded your file, go to any PDF merging tool that you prefer to use. Among the most common and free software is Adobe Acrobat, which we’ll be using for our example. You can use whichever you like, though, but do ensure that they’re safe to utilize.

  1. To get started, go to Adobe Acrobat Merge PDF tool
  2. Upload your PDFs — the one you want to attach and your recently downloaded document
  3. You can rearrange the sequence of your PDF files
  4. Then, click “Merge” once you’re all settled
Merging PDFs in Adobe Acrobat


  1. After that, Adobe Acrobat will process your documents
  2. Once finished, you will see the generated preview at the side or click the “Download” button
Downloading merged PDF file

Common Issues Why You Can’t Upload a PDF to Google Docs

Google Docs is far from the perfect app to view and edit your PDFs, and you may even encounter a few problems when uploading it to the software. Here are some typical problems and how to fix them.

1. Full Google Drive storage

Having insufficient storage space is more common than you think, which makes the solution pretty simple too. For one, you can delete old and irrelevant files from your drive to free up storage. You can also use a different account or choose to buy more space.

2. PDF file size is too big

PDFs are usually embedded with the fonts that you use, as well as other multimedia elements, that can easily blow up its size. You can try to split your files into several documents to keep each file’s storage requirements low. Alternatively, you can compress your PDF.

3. Connectivity issues

Closely tied to large PDFs are connectivity problems. Working with low bandwidths often results in upload failures, especially when dealing with large files. The best solution to this is to disconnect all other devices while uploading. Keeping your PDFs small would also be more friendly for your connection.

4. Security restrictions

PDFs can be locked and encrypted, which helps preserve their integrity and confidentiality. These security measures might impede you from loading them in Google Docs. To solve this, you can either unlock your PDF using a third-party tool online or use a version that has no restrictions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Attach a PDF File to a Google Doc?

Yes, you can attach your PDFs to your Google Doc in several ways.

  1. You can try to paste the share link of your PDF file into your current document.
  2. Use a dedicated PDF editing software like a PDF merging tool and convert your file’s pages into images, and then insert in Google Docs.

How Do I Insert a PDF into Google Docs Without Losing Formatting?

If your document contains images and other elements, expect them to be out of place when inserted in Google Docs. The only way you can preserve your PDF formatting when opening it in the software is either by ensuring that it’s purely text-based or using a third-party PDF to DOC converter.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to insert a PDF into Google Docs would come in handy, especially when you need to do quick edits and use it as a reference for your project. You can do this easily by inserting its share link, converting its pages into images (which you can insert in Google Docs), and merging it with another PDF file.


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