How to Edit PDFs Online for Free

Nancy Messieh 01-11-2017

Adobe Acrobat is a pretty heavy-duty PDF viewer complete with robust editing features. But if you don’t have access to the paid version of the program, there’s an easy online workaround for editing PDFs.


All you need to do is upload your PDF to Google Drive The Only Google Drive Guide You'll Ever Need to Read Google Drive is the perfect combination of online file storage and document management tools. We explain how to best use Google Drive on- and offline, by yourself and in collaboration with others. Read More . To edit a PDF, do the following:

  1. Upload your PDF to your Google Drive. Click New > File Upload and navigate to the location where your file is saved on your computer.
  2. Once the upload is complete, go to the file in your Google Drive, right click it and select Open With > Google Docs. 
  3. Your PDF will now open up as an editable document in Google Docs.
  4. Once you’re done editing it, you can save it to your computer as a PDF or Word Document, among other file formats. Click File > Download as and select your file type to save your edited document.

How to Edit PDFs Online for Free Edit PDFs in Google Drive

There are a few caveats to bear in mind when using this method.

It works best with PDFs that consist just of text. If you have a form that you’ve filled out, any structure or fields will be lost when you convert it to a Google Doc. Images in PDFs will also disappear, while any fancy text formatting (even in text-only PDFs) won’t be visible in Google Docs.

While there are a few apps you can connect to Google Drive that claim to be PDF editors (like Lumin PDF and DocHub), you can’t actually edit existing text using these apps. You can add annotations, highlight text, and more, but you can’t actually make any changes to the text in the document.


What’s your preferred method to open and edit PDFs without Adobe Acrobat? Let us know in the comments. 

Related topics: PDF, PDF Editor.

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  1. Scott Morris
    November 10, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I use Kami. Its a Google app for Chrome and makes it real easy to split, merge, re-order pages, edit and markup PDF files. I use it all the time to author my master expense report PDF before submitting. Check it out!

  2. Saqlain
    November 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    I use It's online like Google Drive. You can't edit text but there are workarounds like whiteout.

  3. BeedleTheBard
    November 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    This is such a convenient and useful tip especially on new computers that won't have Acrobat Reader installed. Saves a lot of time instead of downloading & installing Acrobat when all you want to do are minor changes in the PDF. Thank you for sharing.