How To Insert a PDF into Google Slides

If you use the Google suite of online office apps, you’re probably familiar with Google Slides — basically the Google version of Microsoft PowerPoint. Slides does not have the extensive feature set of PowerPoint, but it is far easier to use, free, and gives users a cloud-based solution for their presentation needs.

Using Slides, you can create attractive presentations quickly and easily without having to deal with a huge learning curve. Instead, all you need is an account on Google Docs and access to the Internet to get started. Slides will even work on a smartphone or a tablet, although it is of course much easier to work from a desktop or laptop machine using a browser.

Slides does have some disadvantages, though. Features that PowerPoint users have come to take for granted are often simply not available in Slides. For example, in PowerPoint users can easily import PDF files to be part of their presentation deck — there’s no conversion or translation necessary. You simply hit Insert->Object and select your PDF, and presto, it’s part of your presentation.

When Slides users want to include a PDF, they hit a brick wall. Slides has an Insert menu but cannot handle arbitrary external objects like PDF files. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re a PowerPoint user.

However, fortunately, there is a workaround that will allow you to get the information you need into your Slides presentation. It’s not as effortless as the PowerPoint method, but it isn’t too bad.

In this article, I will present a simple tutorial on how to insert a PDF into Google Slides.

How to Insert a PDF into Google Slides

The basic method is simple. You can’t directly insert a PDF directly into Google Slides, but you can insert image files, and you can link those image files to online resources.

So what you need to do is to create image files from your PDF and insert those image files into the Slides document. If you want the image file(s) from the PDF to link to the original PDF document, you can ensure that PDF is available online (using an online file repository) and link one or more images from your Slides document to the online copy of the PDF. It isn’t the most elegant of workarounds but it gets the job done.

There are really three main approaches here.

The first approach is to convert the PDF into a series of JPG files. There are commercial software packages that will let you do this simply and easily on your desktop, or you can use a web service like ours that is free.

The second method is to take a screenshot of each and every page in the PDF. This might seem like an enormous hassle, depending on the size of the PDF, but it does what you need it to do.

Alternatively, you can just take a screenshot of the cover page of the PDF and link it, and then during your presentation, you (or the people viewing the presentation) can click on the cover page and visit the online PDF. This does take them out of the flow of your presentation, however. It’s your choice to make. This is likely the easiest choice available.

Recently, I have discovered a fourth way to insert a PDF into a Slides document, and that is by converting the PDF into a Powerpoint document, uploading the Powerpoint document to your Drive, and then opening it as a Slides document. I’ll describe this complete process as well.

With that being said, let’s take a look at the methods you can use to insert a PDF into your Google Slides presentation.

Convert the PDF into a JPG

Perhaps the simplest approach, particularly if the PDF file isn’t likely to change, is to just convert the PDF file into a series of JPGs. These images can then be directly imported into your Slides presentation.

There are many programs and web services available to do the conversion for you. One straightforward and free service is our own pdf to jpg conversion tool. All you need is the PDF file stored on your local drive, Google Drive, or your Dropbox.

Just follow these simple steps to get started:

  1. Navigate to our free conversion tool
  2. Click the Upload button and select the pdf file you want to convert.
  3. Click Convert.
  4. Click Download File.
  5. The JPG will appear in your browser; right-click on it and save the file to your local drive.

Note that we have lots of other useful tools available as well for editing and updating PDF documents.

 

Insert a PDF into Google Slides, Page by Page

The first method involves taking a screenshot of each page in the PDF. Follow these steps to use this method:

  1. If you’re using Windows, open the Snipping Tool. If on Mac, open Grab.
  2. Use the Snipping Tool or Grab to take screenshots of each page of the PDF and save them as .JPG images.
  3. Open a presentation in Google Slides and select where you want to add the PDF
  4. Select Insert->Image.
  5. Select the .JPG you want to upload and drag it into the new window.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each image file you want to use.

This method can be time-consuming, but it’s the most straightforward way to add a PDF to your Google Slides presentation.

Insert a PDF into Google Slides as One Image With a Link

Next, you can just add the first page of your PDF with a link to the online version. Follow these steps to do this:

  1. If you’re using Windows, open the Snipping Tool. If on Mac, open Grab.
  2. Use the Snipping Tool or Grab to take a screenshot of the first page of the PDF, or of a representative image, and save it as a .JPG image.
  3. Open a presentation in Google Slides and select where you want to add the PDF.
  4. Select Insert->Image.
  5. Select the image in the Slides document.
  6. Select Insert and then Link.
  7. Add the URL where the PDF can be accessed.

As long as the PDF file is accessible to those you are presenting to, it will be available both at the time of the presentation and afterward if you send out the slideshow. This is definitely the easiest method available, but it could impact the flow of your presentation.

Insert a PDF into a PowerPoint presentation

If you decide that this method is too crude or too much hassle, you can always use PowerPoint. While it costs money, most new computers come with a copy of Office even if it’s just a trial. Though Google Slides is a great free alternative, PowerPoint is still the gold standard for creating high-quality presentations.

Here’s how to insert a PDF into a PowerPoint presentation:

  1. Open your PDF document and leave it open on your desktop.
  2. Open your PowerPoint presentation and select the area you want to insert the PDF.
  3. Select Insert->Images.
  4. Select Screenshot and the icon of your PDF in the Available Windows list.
  5. Select Screen Clipping and drag and drop the cursor to select a section of the file to feature in the slide. Press Escape when done.

This works similarly to Google Sheets but inserts the whole PDF file behind the image. It is a more workable method as you don’t have to make the PDF file available separately. Instead, it’s integrated into your PowerPoint document.

You can also insert a PDF into a PowerPoint presentation as an object. This time you need to ensure the PDF file is not open on your computer:

  1. Open your PowerPoint presentation and select the area you want to insert the PDF.
  2. Select Insert->Object.
  3. Select Create from File and browse to the file location.
  4. Select the PDF file and OK.

The PDF should now become part of the slide and will stay as an object within the slide. Double click the file image to open the PDF.

Convert the PDF into a PowerPoint and Open the PowerPoint in Slides

If you still want to open the presentation in Google Slides for whatever reason, you can create the presentation in PowerPoint and export it to Google Slides.

This sounds like a very convoluted way to do things but it’s actually quite effective and simple to achieve.

The first step is to take the PDF and convert it into a PowerPoint presentation. There are several different ways to accomplish this.

If you have a license for Adobe Acrobat, you can directly convert the document as follows:

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat.
  2. Click on Export PDF in the right panel.
  3. Choose PowerPoint as the export format.
  4. Click Export.
  5. Name the PowerPoint file and save it wherever you wish.

Most of us don’t have Adobe Acrobat, however, and will have to rely on a third-party tool. There are a wide variety of available tools online. In this example, I will show you how to use SmallPDF.com, an online converter that is simple and reliable.

You can subscribe to the pro version of SmallPDF if you plan to do a lot of converting, but for a one-off project, you can use the free service.

To use this tool, follow these three quick steps:

  1. Drag the PDF file to the SmallPDF icon, or click Choose File and load it through the file system.
  2. Wait for the conversion to run.
  3. Download the converted PPT file.

Once you have the converted PPT file, you need to visit Google Drive and upload the PowerPoint to your Drive directory.

Then, simply right-click on the file in Google Drive, select Open With, and select Slides. That’s all there is to it. Your PDF file is now a Slides file and you can use it as you wish within Slides.

Note that you may lose elaborate formatting, so this is a process best suited for straightforward PDF files.

5 thoughts on “How To Insert a PDF into Google Slides”

Avatar MakumbA says:
Google Slides – another piece that designers have to work with. Pitch Decks are the worst thing to work on in the whole graphic design business. Is it so hard to create some import modules that imports PDF files to Google Slides and make them editable in those GSlides pages? Why torture Designers with these programs – WHY :O!
Avatar Vivian Johnson says:
OMG! I’m a teacher who prefers old-school pencil and paper. Coronageddon has caused me to make a massive, scary shift. But this article just made my life SO MUCH EASIER! I can now focus my energy on teaching! Thank you so much!
Avatar Sasha Faynor says:
Thank you. Like many school districts, ours has gone to distance learning. It’s unbelievably time consuming. Your tip enabled me to make Google Slides out of existing PowerPoint presentation and saved me considerable time and headache. (Am also a blogger, writer, part-time journalist.)
Avatar Zeb says:
Do you know how I can insert a pdf onto/into a tab of a Google Sheets workbook? I want to keep it in a workbook for reference. Thanks!
Avatar Jeffrey Scott Kantak says:
Thanks Jamie that saves me a lot of back work. Cheers

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