How to Convert a Google Doc to PDF

Yeah, Google Docs lets you do that too

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Google Docs is a powerful file sharing and collaboration tool. It supports a wide range of file types, including documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and web pages. But did you know that you can convert a Google Doc into a PDF file too? You can, and it's super easy to do.

Here's a closer look at PDF files and how to save your Google Docs into this popular file format.

What Are the Benefits of Using a PDF file?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. The PDF file format was created by Adobe Systems in the early 1990s as a way to share files across any system without a loss of formatting. 

Before then, sharing files across computers could be problematic. You might have a really great font in a your report, only to have it replaced by Times New Roman when the other person opens your file.

This won't happen with a PDF. When someone opens your PDF file, it looks exactly how it did when you saved it. The fonts are the same, the text sizes are the same, and nothing shifts around. The formatting is locked in to your document, preventing unwanted changes.

But that's not all:

  • You can add a variety of visual elements to a PDF file, including clip art, digital images, and photos.
  • PDFs use internal compression which means they use less space than other types of files. This makes them a good format for emailing, printing, and uploading to the web.
  • PDFs look polished and professional, adding that special touch to documents when you want to make a good impression.

When Would I Want to Use a PDF?

There are many times you may want to use a PDF over a regular document. In addition to preserving your formatting, PDFs remove unnecessary and distracting elements from digital documents, like margins or outlines. They look great printed as well.

PDFs are an ideal choice for:

  • Legal forms such as contracts, leases, and bills of sale
  • Invoices, resumes, cover letters, and online portfolios
  • Downloadable materials, such as ebooks or white papers
  • School projects and research papers

The 3 Ways to Create PDF Files in Google Docs

If you're ready to learn how to save a Google Doc as a PDF, go on the next sections. There are a few ways to accomplish this, including: downloading, emailing, or using the print workaround method to save PDFs directly to Google Drive.

Save a Google Doc Into a PDF File by Downloading

  1. If you haven't already, log into your Google Docs account and open the document you wish to convert to PDF.

  2. From inside your Google Document, go to File > Download As > PDF Document (.pdf).

    Download As PDF from Google Docs
  3. Check your computer's download folder for the PDF you just created. You can access your downloaded PDF file here.

Send a Google Doc as a PDF Attachment Over Email

  1. If you haven't already, log into your Google Docs account and open the document you wish to email as a PDF attachment.

  2. From inside your Google Document, go to File > Email As Attachment.

    Email PDF as attachment from Google Docs
  3. In the pop-up window, enter the recipient's email address in the To section. You can also add a message for the recipient and/or send a copy of the email to yourself.

    Email as PDF options in Google Docs.
  4. Click Send, and you're all set. The recipient will receive the PDF as an email attachment which they can download.

Convert and Save a Google Doc to PDF in Google Drive

Sometimes you may not want to download or email your PDF. Perhaps you just want to keep the PDF in your Google Drive or share it out to other people from there. In this case, you can use the following quick workaround.

  1. From inside your Google Document, go to File > Print.

    Print Google Doc to save to Google Drive
  2. Inside the Print dialog, where is says Destination, select Save to Google Drive, then click Save.

    Print and save PDF to Google Drive
  3. The PDF should now be saved to your Google Drive. You can view or share it directly from this location.

More Options for Saving PDFs From Google Docs

In addition to these methods for saving a Google Doc as a PDF, you can also install third-party software, such as DriveConverter, which lets you download Google files into different formats, including PDF, jpg, and mp3.