When you receive a PDF, or PowerPoint, file by email you can already choose to view it in your browser, or to download the file to your computer. This is endlessly handy if you don’t want to clutter your computer hard drive with files you just really need to see once, and can delete after or keep in your Gmail inbox for future referencing.
Google Docs Viewer is an easy to use tool. The page itself is pretty simple, just containing two text boxes: one for the link to your online file you want to view, and one optional text box for a link text.
How to view documents online with Google Docs Viewer
- First, surf to Google Docs Viewer
- In the link text box, copy and paste the link location of your file. If you are getting it from a website, you can right click on the link and copy the link location. See the example below, I was trying to view the schedule for drop in fitness classes, but don’t really want to download the entire pdf to my hard drive:Â
- With the link location copied, you can go back to Google Docs Viewer and paste it into the link box:
- Click on “Generate link”, and you will receive a link you can paste into an email or IM. You will also get some HTML code if you want to integrate your document into your website or blog, and you can also opt to paste it into a website in an embedded viewer. This option looks pretty cool, and en example of how it looks is on the Google Blog post. Don’t miss the little blue link right at the bottom that says “click here” if you just want to see your file directly in your browser:
- Once you open the file in your browser, essentially you see something like this:
So your file looks like a regular Google Docs file, which you can still download or print if it turns out to be a document you will need to save after all.
I love that I won’t need to download, open, and then delete every single PDF file I need to reference online anymore. So, this is definitely a tool worthy of a bookmark as far as I’m concerned!
Has anyone used this tool yet to embed a pdf into a blog or website? I’m curious if you think this is useful, or if you’re just so used to downloading all your files that you can’t see yourself using this very often? Tell us in the comments!