How to Edit a PDF File in Google Drive on Windows and Mac

Last Updated on November 11, 2021 by Tina Clark

Although Google Drive is not one of the best PDF editor apps, it can edit a PDF in Google Docs. From filling in forms to editing layouts, you can do it with a Gmail account. According to a recent survey, Google’s services are helpful to a majority of people. It has constructed a digital world with extensive functions. More importantly, you can access these services with a single Google account. And this post focuses on how to edit a PDF in Google Drive.

How to Edit PDF in Google Drive

Part 1: How to Edit a PDF in Google Drive

Now, you have at least two ways to access your Google Drive, your browser on desktop, and the mobile app. As a result, the ways to edit a PDF in Google Drive are a bit various.

How to Edit a PDF in Google Drive on Desktop

Step 1: Open your web browser and visit Sign in to your Google account. If you have a Gmail or YouTube account, you can use all other Google services with the same account. Google provides each account with 15GB of free storage.

Step 2: Now, you have two options. If you have uploaded the PDF to Google Drive, go to the next step. To upload a PDF file from your hard drive, click the New button on the upper left side, select File upload, and add the PDF file you wish to edit to Google Drive.

Upload PDF Browse in Google

Step 3: Right-click on the PDF file and select Open with -> Google Docs. It does not only open your PDF file but also convert it to editable text.

OCR in Google

Step 4: Now, you can edit the PDF in Google Drive as a document. For instance, select several texts and delete them.

Step 5: After PDF editing in Google Docs, go to the File -> Download and choose the PDF Document option. When prompted, you can select a specific folder to save the PDF file and download it.

How to Edit a PDF in Google Drive App

Step 1: Run the Google Drive app from your home screen, which is available to both iPhone and Android. Log in to your Google account.

How to Edit a Document in Google Drive App

Step 2: Locate the PDF files and tap the three-dot to open the context menu. Then select Open with and choose Google Docs or relative option.

Tip: If the PDF is not in Google Drive, tap the Plus icon and upload it first.

Step 3: After editing, you can save the PDF file in your Google account and view it at any time.

How to Edit a Shared PDF in Google Drive

Google Drive is far more than a simple cloud service. Small businesses also use it as collaborative software. You can edit a PDF shared by your colleague in Google Drive too.

Step 1: You need to make sure that your colleague has hosted a PDF in Google Drive and shared it with you.

Step 2: Access Google Drive and go to the Share with me tab from the left-hand column.

Google Drive Shared with Me

Step 3: Find the PDF file and edit it as other PDF files in Google Drive.

More Tips to Edit PDF in Google Drive or Google Docs

1. First of all, you can edit a PDF in both Google Drive and Google Docs. The latter is a part of Google’s web-based office suite.

2. Not all PDF files can edit with Google Drive. The PDF files made by scanning or images, for example, cannot be edit. Moreover, encrypted PDF files are not available if you do not have the password. Google Drive does not offer an unencrypted function. Therefore, you have to do it with extra software and then edit PDF in Google Drive.

3. You are not editing the original PDF file in Google Drive. It recognizes the text and items in your PDF file and copies them so that you can change them.

4. Unlike the documents, you cannot get the full features in Google Docs, such as deleting a page and more. You can only edit the text.

5. Google Drive is a cloud service. It means that you can access the functions with a good internet connection. We do not suggest you use cellular data.

6. When editing a shared PDF file in Google Drive, you need to access permission and edit privilege. After editing the shared PDF, the changes will sync to the original account. So, you’d better make a copy and then edit the shared PDF in your Google Drive.

Part 2: Best alternative to Google PDF Editor

Google Drive is not for editing PDF but backup your files. You can only edit some items in your PDF file, such as text. Plus, it is only working with a network. From this point, we recommend WidsMob PDFEdit, the best alternative solution for Google Drive to edit PDFs. Its main features include:

  • Create a PDF and add text, images, graphs easily.
  • Edit each item on your PDF files while keeping the original quality.
  • Modify pages in PDF such as adjust the order, delete unwanted pages, etc.
  • Add signature and password protection to your PDF files.
  • Integrate a user-friendly and well-designed interface.

As its name said, PDFEdit is the best alternative to Google Drive for editing PDFs on your desktop. It is lightweight and works smoothly. More importantly, it provides more functions related to PDF editing than Google Drive.

Open Image File PDFEdit Win Download Mac Download


Based on the sharing above, you should understand how to edit a PDF in Google Drive or Google Docs. Sometimes, it is an easy way to edit the text in your PDF file if you back it up to your Google account. In addition to the PDF files in your Google Drive, you can edit shared PDFs as well. If Google Drive cannot meet your demand, we will suggest you try WidsMob PDFEdit. It is not only easy to use but also able to edit items and pages in PDF.