Do more than look at your PDF with Google

2016Apr22_Google_BMany businesses use PDFs on a daily basis. It’s a viewing format that is universal across different platforms, it’s secure, and it’s easy to create one. But can you do more than just view a PDF file? With Google Drive’s built-in features and some help from third party services, interacting with PDF files in your web browser has never been easier. Here are a few tips to help you do more with your PDF files on Google Drive.

Save PDFs to Google Drive

Google Chrome’s PDF viewer can do much more than just read your PDFs. Like other web browsers, Chrome lets you save web pages as PDFs by going to the Print button at the bottom right of the browser and Save as PDF. However, if you’re logged into Chrome, you can save PDF files into your Google Drive. To do this, go back to the printer tab, click Change and, if you scroll down, you should be able to find the Google Cloud Print section, where you can Save to Google Drive. This will save you some time from having to go to your Google Drive and manually uploading the file from your local disk.

Convert docs into PDFs

If you have a Google Doc that needs to be sent out as a PDF, you can do that without using any third party applications. On your doc, go to File > Download as > PDF Document (.pdf).

Google Drive scan and search

With Android devices, you can access a Google Drive app feature that is normally unavailable on the iOS. Google Drive on Android gives you the option to scan a document with your phone’s built-in camera and lets you convert it to a PDF. Once scanned and saved to your drive, the contents of the document are searchable by using Google Drive’s search tool. Unfortunately, handwritten documents cannot be detected. Only typewritten text is searchable within Google Drive. This feature is great for scanning and recording receipts, certificates and signed official forms. To create scanned PDF documents in Google Drive you have to:

  • Access the Google Drive app on your Android phone.
  • Select the plus (+) button on the screen to create a new project.
  • Choose Scan. This will open your phone’s camera application.
  • Take a picture of your document. From here, you can choose to rescan the page or create another PDF file.
  • If you’re happy with the scanned document, tap the checkmark button to save to Google Drive.

Electronically interact with PDFs

While PDFs are compatible across a wide range of platforms, they don’t give you the option to edit. Luckily, third party services like Kami or HelloSign allow you to electronically interact with a PDF document. Kami is a Google Drive extension that enables you to draw, highlight, strikethrough, underline, and add text and comments on your PDF. On the other hand, HelloSign gives you the ability to add check marks and signatures to your PDFs. Consider these add-ons if your business needs to edit some PDFs.

Merge PDFs

If you want to combine several PDF documents together, we recommend using PDF Mergy. This is another Chrome add-on that allows you to simply right click on any selected PDF files and Open with > PDF Mergy. Your selected PDF files will be immediately imported to the third party party application. You can also rearrange the order of the PDF documents as well as add more files from your drive. Select Merge, if you’re satisfied with the changes, then you can either save the new PDF to your local disk or back in your Google Drive.

With so much third-party software popping up, Google Drive is becoming a strong cloud-based tool that not only lets you export PDFs but helps you interact with it as well. The next time you have to manage a lot of PDFs, have a go with these underused and underappreciated time saving features. Want to know more Google Drive features to help you around the office? Contact us today.

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