How to Save Google Docs as PDF

525766 How to Save Google Docs as PDF

Google Docs is a popular cloud-based document creation and editing tool. It allows real-time collaboration between multiple users and easy sharing of documents. However, you may sometimes need to save your Google Docs files in the PDF (Portable Document Format) for better compatibility and portability. Here is a comprehensive guide on the different methods to save Google Docs as PDFs.

Download Google Doc as PDF

The easiest way to save a Google Doc as PDF is to use the built-in download option:

  • Open the Google Docs file you want to download as PDF
  • Click on File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf)
  • The file will be downloaded to your computer as a PDF


  • Simple one-click process
  • Preserves all formatting and contents
  • Works on all platforms


  • Requires you to manually save the PDF on Google Drive for cloud access
  • Does not allow setting PDF security options

Print Google Doc to PDF

Alternatively, you can use the Print option to save Google Docs as PDFs:

  • Open the Google Doc and click on File > Print
  • Change the print destination to Save as PDF
  • Click on Save to save the PDF file on Google Drive


  • Saves the PDF directly on Google Drive
  • Faster than downloading and re-uploading


  • Only works on Chrome browser currently
  • Does not allow setting passwords or access restrictions

Email Google Doc as PDF

To share a Google Doc as a PDF via email:

  • Open the Google Doc and select File > Email
  • Enter email recipient(s)
  • Choose PDF as the attachment format
  • Customize the email subject and body
  • Click on Send


  • Share PDF quickly without downloading
  • Add custom message for recipients


  • Cannot save emailed PDF back to Drive
  • Maximum email attachment size is 25MB

Use Third-Party PDF Converter Tools

There are many free online tools like SmallPDF, PDF Candy, etc that allow converting Google Docs to PDFs.


  • Provide more PDF customization options
  • Support batch conversion of multiple files
  • Integration with Google Drive for easy access


  • Requires uploading files to third-party servers
  • Need to re-download PDFs to Google Drive

Insert PDF Printout in Google Docs

To insert an existing PDF file into a Google Doc:

  • Upload the PDF file to Google Drive
  • Open the Google Doc and click Insert > Drive
  • Select the PDF file and click Select

This inserts the PDF as an image in the Google Doc.


  • Allows inserting parts of a PDF document
  • Retains original formatting


  • PDF is inserted as image hence not editable
  • Increases file size due to embedded images

Best Practices for Conversion

Follow these best practices when saving Google Docs as PDFs:

  • Proofread the Google Doc thoroughly before conversion
  • Simplify formatting like fonts, indents, columns for better rendering
  • Check page count to ensure no content is lost
  • Enable link access so hyperlinks are clickable in PDF
  • Insert page numbers if needed for reference

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common FAQs about converting Google Docs to PDF:

  • Does conversion preserve all formatting and contents?
    Yes, saving as PDF will retain all texts, images, page layout in the Google Doc.
  • Can I restrict or password-protect my PDF?
    Yes, you can set user permissions and passwords on PDFs saved to Google Drive.
  • Is there a size limit for PDF files?
    No, Google Drive allows PDF files up to 1.02GB in size.
  • What if my PDF contents appear misaligned or clipped?
    Simplify formatting prior to conversion and check page size to prevent content loss.
  • How do I convert a scanned PDF back to an editable document?
    You can use Google Drive’s built-in OCR to extract text from scanned PDFs and export it to docs.


Saving Google Docs as PDFs is easy whether you want to download them to your device or share them directly from the cloud. Following the best practices around formatting, page size, and link access will ensure your PDF file looks exactly the way you intended. If you need more customization options, third-party PDF converters are great alternatives.

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