How to Convert Images and PDFs to Text Documents For Free

Posted by Erica Warren on

Have you ever wondered if you can turn an image or a PDF or into an editable document? What was once a costly and buggy turnaround, is now free and quick with Google Drive. This can be an invaluable trick that can save students time, resources, and most of all, energy! Let me show you the steps. 

Person working on computer converting images to text

What are the Steps?

1) On your computer, go to or select the icons shown in the image below.
2) Drag the desired file into your Google Drive as illustrated below. You can convert JPEG, PNG, GIF, or PDF (multipage documents) files.
google drive images
3) Select File  ➡ Open with  ➡  Google Docs as shown below.

google drive images 2
4) A sheet icon appears while the file is converting (see below). Google is now changing your PDF or image file to text with OCR.
5) A Google document will soon open. The image will be on the top and the new editable text will be below it.
original image

What are the Ways Students Can Use This Helpful Feature?

  1. Take a clear picture of a teacher's notes or another student's notes, pull then into a Google document, and make them your own.  You can now add additional information or comments.
  2. Make a PDF worksheet editable so that you can fill in the answers without having to retype the questions.
  3. Take a screen shot of the text from a webpage, do the conversion and then quote portions of the text in research papers.
  4. Use some of Google's other free tools, such as Voice Typing to make additions by speaking to the computer and letting it type for you or use Add ons, such as Easy Bib that help you quickly create a bibliography or Reader that helps you edit by reading your text document aloud.  
So, now you know how to convert Images and PDFs to text documents for free by using Google's embedded OCR tool!  If you would like to learn about some other helpful technology tips CLICK HERE to review some of my blog post.  

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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