Getting Things Done – Create a PDF from Google Docs

By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO

I’m creating a new series called ‘Getting Things Done.’  It’s all well and good to write about software and hardware, but most people use their computers for productivity and entertainment. We’ll start with work and get some things done, then after our work is done, we’ll have some time to play.

If you have a GMAIL account, you have access to a suite of web based software.  Access this software by typing into your web browser.  Authenticate with your email address and password.  If you have 2 factor authentication enabled (highly recommended) you may have Google send a text with a code to your cell phone.  Once authentication is complete you have access to Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and much more.

I use Google Docs to write most of my articles, copying and pasting the article into WordPress 6.0 without issue.  I am not claiming that Google Docs is as complete as Microsoft 365 Word or even LibreOffice Write, but it does get the job done.  The interface looks like most word processors:

Google Docs can be shared and allow for collaboration with others.  Docs supports a wide variety of formats including Word and LibreOffice XML files – XML, by the way, is the x in the .docx file.  Document files can be viewed and then imported into Google Docs if needed.

PDF vs DOC Files

Portable Document Files or PDFs were created by Adobe to be an easy, reliable way to present and exchange documents – regardless of the software, hardware, or operating systems being used.  Once PDF files are created, they cannot be altered without special software.

On the other hand, older DOC files from Microsoft Word and the like are easily edited in any word processor.  Security is pretty weak and easily broken even when passworded.

Legal and financial documents are always in PDF format and can even be used for binding signatures.  If sending out documents to a group, I always recommend using PDF.

Be aware, however, if a mistake is made in the PDF it cannot be altered.  Go back to the original DOC file, make the corrections and then create a new PDF for distribution.

Creating a PDF

Once a document is created in Google Docs it can be downloaded as several different formats including PDF.  Click on File, and then Download to select PDF.

Download the file into a directory for sending out via email or shared with others.

Today, people are aware of PDF files and have the software to open the files for easy reading.  Most browsers support PDF as a format.  Adobe Acrobat Reader, Foxit and others are free to install software that can open PDF files.

Do you agree that PDF is a preferred format to DOC files when sharing with groups?