Can I Save a Google Document as a PDF?

In this article, we’ll explore the hows and whys of converting your Google Docs into PDFs. Picture this: you’ve just finished a masterpiece of a report on Google Docs, but now you need to send it to someone who prefers a hard copy. Or perhaps you need a format that’s a bit more universal, less likely to shift in layout, and more secure. That’s where PDFs come in handy. By the end of this read, you’ll not only understand how to transform your Google Docs into PDFs but also the pros and cons of doing so.


Have you ever worked on a Google document and felt a tad bit stumped on how to share it with others in a more professional format? Or maybe you’ve wondered if there’s a way to save that ever-important doc as something a bit more universal? This is where the magic of saving Google Docs as PDFs shines. It’s a handy trick for students, professionals, or anyone looking to distribute documents widely.

PDFs, or Portable Document Format files, are like the digital equivalent of a printed page: uneditable, universally viewable, and layout-locked. They’re vital in the business world, for academic submissions, and whenever you need to ensure the document looks the same on every device and platform. Google Docs is great for creating and editing, but when it comes to sharing and printing, PDFs are king. Let’s delve into how this simple skill can make your digital life a breeze and why it’s a tool you want in your digital toolkit.

Related: How to Email a Google Docs File as a PDF Attachment

Transforming Google Docs to PDFs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Before we get into the benefits and drawbacks, let’s look at how to actually convert your Google Docs into PDFs.

Step 1: Open Your Google Document

First things first, you need to open the Google document you wish to convert. Make sure all your edits are done and you’re ready to convert.

Step 2: Access the ‘File’ Menu

Click on ‘File’ in the top menu of your Google document. This is where all the magic begins.

Step 3: Download as PDF

Navigate to ‘Download’ and then select ‘PDF Document (.pdf)’. Google will then work its magic and download the document to your computer as a PDF.

Pros of Converting to PDF

There are plenty of positives when it comes to converting your Google Docs to PDFs. Let’s explore a few.

Preserves Layout and Formatting

One of the biggest pluses is that PDFs maintain your document’s layout and formatting. This means that what you see on your screen is what gets printed or seen on another person’s device.

Security Features

PDFs allow for added security. You can restrict editing, copying, or printing, which is great for sensitive documents.

Universally Accessible

PDFs can be opened on almost any device or operating system, making your document more accessible to a wider audience.

Cons of Converting to PDF

While there are many benefits, there are also a few limitations to keep in mind.

Less Editable

Once a document is in PDF form, it’s much harder to make changes. You might need special software or tools to edit a PDF.

File Size

PDFs can sometimes be larger in file size than Google Docs, which might be a consideration if you’re dealing with storage limits or email attachment size caps.

Compatibility Issues

While most devices can open PDFs, some older ones might need additional software, which could be a hurdle for some recipients.

Additional Information

There are a few extra nuggets of wisdom to keep in your back pocket when converting Google Docs to PDFs. For instance, be mindful of the images and fonts you use in your Google Doc; they can sometimes look different when converted to a PDF, especially if the recipient’s device doesn’t support certain fonts or has different display settings.

Another pro tip is to always preview your PDF after conversion. Occasionally, there might be minor shifts in layout or formatting that you’ll want to catch before sharing the document. And remember, while converting to PDF is great for final versions of a document, if you anticipate needing further edits, it might be best to share the document as a Google Doc first and only convert to PDF once all revisions are complete.


  1. Converting Google Docs to PDF preserves layout and formatting.
  2. PDFs offer added security features.
  3. PDFs are accessible on various devices and operating systems.
  4. PDFs are less editable than Google Docs.
  5. PDF file sizes can be larger.
  6. Some devices may require additional software to view PDFs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I convert a Google Doc to a PDF on my mobile device?

Yes, you can convert Google Docs to PDFs on mobile devices using the Google Docs app or your mobile browser, following similar steps as on a desktop.

Will my hyperlinks still work in the PDF?

Hyperlinks in your Google Doc should still be clickable in the PDF, as long as the conversion process preserves them.

Can I convert a Google Doc to a PDF without a Google account?

You can’t convert a Google Doc to a PDF without access to Google Docs, and for that, you need a Google account.

How do I ensure my formatting stays the same when converting?

The best way is to preview the PDF post-conversion and adjust your Google Doc as needed before trying again.

Can I save a Google Doc as a PDF directly to Google Drive?

Yes, you can save the PDF directly to your Google Drive by choosing the ‘Print’ option, then selecting ‘Save to Drive’ as the destination.


Embracing the digital shift doesn’t mean you let go of the reins when it comes to how your documents are presented. Converting Google Docs to PDFs is like giving your digital documents a suit to wear to the job interview. It’s about presenting your work in the best possible light, no matter who’s on the receiving end. As we move forward in an increasingly paperless world, knowing how to handle your documents with agility and awareness is critical. Stay ahead of the curve by mastering this simple, yet vital digital literacy skill.