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How to Save Google Docs as a PDF (Single or Multiple Docs)

Save Google Docs as PDFs - Built-in option for single PDF conversion, add-on for bulk conversions & Google Drive export.

Whether you’re sharing a document with someone who doesn’t have a Google account or want to lock down the formatting, converting your Doc to a PDF is a versatile option. This guide will walk you through two methods for saving your Google Docs as PDFs: the built-in download option for single documents and the “Docs to PDF” add-on for bulk conversions or saving PDFs directly to the Google Drive.

Saving a Single Google Doc as a PDF

To convert a single Google Doc as a PDF, you can use the native Google Docs feature as explained below.

  1. Open your Google Doc - Locate the document you want to convert in Google Drive and double-click to open it.
  2. Access the File Menu - Click on “File” in the menu bar at the top of your screen.
  3. Download as PDF - Select “Download” and choose “PDF Document (.pdf)” from the options.

Convert Google Docs to PDF

This action triggers Google Docs to convert your document and automatically download it to your default download folder on your computer. Likewise, you can download your Google Docs as other formats such as Word Documents, HTML, Rich text, Open Document format(.odt) etc.

Note: This method only works for a single document at a time.

Using the Print Function

While the “Download as PDF” option is the simplest method, the “Print” function offers an alternative, especially for large Google Docs. You can also use this option to export only specific pages of a Google Doc to PDF.

Here is how to print the Google Docs as PDF.

  1. Open your Google Doc.
  2. Click on “File” > “Print”.
  3. Under “Destination,” select “Save as PDF”.
  4. Customize Settings (Optional) - While the default settings will usually work well, you can further customize them if needed. The available options may vary slightly depending on your browser, but you might be able to adjust things like page size, orientation, and margins etc.
  5. Click “Save”.

Limitations of Google Docs PDF Download Functionality

While Google Docs lets you download a single document as a PDF, it currently lacks two key functionalities:

  1. Direct Export to Google Drive - There’s no built-in option to export a PDF directly to your Google Drive. This means the downloaded PDF ends up in your computer’s default download folder, requiring manual upload if you want it in Drive.
  2. Bulk Conversion - Google Docs doesn’t offer a native way to convert multiple documents to PDFs at once. This can be inconvenient if you frequently work with batches of documents.

These limitations can be time-consuming, especially if you need to convert multiple Google Docs to PDFs regularly. Additionally, having the PDFs stored in Google Drive offers several advantages:

  • Easier Sharing - PDFs in Drive are readily accessible for sharing with collaborators, even those without Google accounts.
  • Cross-Device Access - You can access your PDFs from any device with an internet connection, as long as you’re signed in to your Google Drive.
  • Centralized Organization - Keeping your PDFs in Drive alongside your original Google Docs helps maintain a central location for your documents.

Using the Docs to PDF Add-on to Convert Google Docs to PDF (Bulk Conversion)

If you need to export multiple Google Docs as PDFs or save them directly to your Google Drive, consider using the “Docs to PDF” add-on available in the Google Workspace Marketplace.

Here’s how to user the add-on for both single and bulk conversions:

  1. Install the Add-on - Install the Docs to PDF add-on from the Workspace marketplace.

  2. Launch the Add-on - Once installed, access the add-on by going to Extensions > Convert Docs to PDF.

  3. Single Document Conversion - In the “Docs to PDF” dialog, click the “Select Files & Convert” option. Choose the specific Google Doc you want to convert and click “OK.” The add-on will convert and save the PDF directly to your Google Drive.

  4. Multiple Document Conversion - For converting multiple documents, choose the “Select Files & Convert” option in the dialog. Use the file picker to select all the Google Docs you want to convert and click “OK.” The add-on will batch convert them and save the PDFs to your Google Drive.

  5. Automatic Downloads (Optional) - If you prefer automatic downloads of the converted PDF files, enable the “Download files automatically” option in the add-on settings.

The following image shows the screen of the Docs to PDF converter add on.

Bulk Convert Google Docs to PDF using Docs to PDF

By following these steps, you can efficiently convert and manage your Google Docs as PDF files, either individually or in batches.

Security and Privacy of the Docs to PDF add on

While the Docs to PDF add-on seems convenient, it’s important to be aware of the permissions it requests.

Access to Your Google Docs - The add-on requires access to your Google Docs documents. This is necessary for it to read and convert your Docs to PDFs. It’s important to note that it doesn’t request access to your entire Google Drive which might contain Google Sheets, images etc, but only your Google Docs.

Data Processing - The add-on performs the conversion entirely within your Google account. This means the contents of your documents are not uploaded to any external servers for processing, making it the most secure option to convert the Google Docs into PDF format in bulk.

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