Thursday, March 10, 2011

View a PDF in Google

If you are searching Google and come across a PDF, sometimes you only want to view it and not download it. The same is true if someone sends you a PDF file. Sometimes you want to view the PDF, but you don't necessarily want to save it on your computer's hard drive. 
Google allows you to view PDFs without downloading them. Google Docs is the specific application that allows you to share and view documents online. You can sign up for Google Docs and this will give you the ability to upload and share files--for free. You can also simply view documents on Google Docs without an account.

  1. Click "Quick View" on a Google search result that links to a PDF. Underneath the link or title of any search results that are PDFs, you will see the words "File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat" and the phrase "Quick View," which will be in blue text. When you put your cursor on "Quick View" it turn into a clickable link that will open up Google Docs in your browser and allow you to see the PDF. You can scroll through the PDF, and look at it page number by page number.
  2. Click "View" next to a PDF file that you receive in your email. You will see this option if you have Gmail. The PDF document will open up in your browser, in a separate window, within Google docs. It will display here, but will not download to your computer.

    From here you also have further options, such as downloading, printing, or saving it to Google Docs.
  3. Go to the Google docs Viewer, directly, if you don't have Gmail, or aren't looking at a PDF result on Google. Perhaps you have the URL of a PDF that you want to view. Paste the full URL of the PDF in the box. 

    For example, you could enter "". Click "Generate Link." This will generate a link that you could attach to an email and send. Clicking "Generate Link" will also display a message below, that says "To View Now Click Here." Click on "Click Here" and the docs viewer will then display the document.