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I have a Google Drive filled with Docs, Slides, and Sheets. The new Google Drive interface no longer supports choosing the file format for bulk downloads, and just gives me a bunch of useless Microsoft Office formatted files.

How do I download everything as PDF, other than manually opening and downloading each of hundreds of files?

I cannot use Google Takeout, because my Google Apps administrator has disabled it for some unknown reason.

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  • I have Google Drive installed on my computer, which means that when I look at the files contained there, I see, for example, a file called "project.gslides". It has that file type because I created the project on the web using google slides, not powerpoint. So wouldn't the solution to your underlying problem be to install Google Drive on your computer? Nov 15, 2015 at 4:11
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    @aparente001 Those files are just links. They do not contain any data.
    – Andrew Sun
    Nov 15, 2015 at 12:26

5 Answers 5

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The easiest way to download an entire folder is with the Google Takeout tool. You can download just the folder you need, and you can chose which format you would like (in this case PDF).

https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout

In your original question you indicated that your domain admin has this feature DISABLED, but it should be easy them to activate the tool so that you can use it. It's really useful for people who are leaving your organization a well!

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  • Yes, but the admin can enable it. I'm a google apps admin and you can enable these tools in about 3 minutes. Why try to work around the takeout tool when it can be easily activated - it's the best way to accomplish this.
    – Mark Hall
    Dec 22, 2016 at 3:39
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    Worked like a charm! Mar 19, 2018 at 10:31
  • This option is preferable in my opinion, since it doesn't require trusting anyone other than Google (who, regrettably, may or may not be trustworthy, but by the time you need this, you've already ceded that ground).
    – Christi
    Mar 16 at 10:10
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I found that the drive Google Drive client can download a folder structure that contains Google Docs exported as PDF (and some other formats as well).

drive pull -export pdf /path/to/folder
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I just spent some time searching through Google Drive apps for one that would convert Docs editor formats into PDF, but I came up empty-handed. (That said, Drive apps are always a good place to start looking if you need a feature that Drive itself does not include or, in this case, no longer includes.)

I had no idea that Google had altered its whole file-export model to be so restrictive. It turns out (as I learned from the Drive Help Center) that even trying to download a single, say, Google Doc from the Drive file browser screen will only ever yield an MS Office file.

It appears that the only way to download a Docs editor file—Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.—as a PDF now is to open up each file and go to the "Download as" sub-menu.

That, and Google Takeout, which would also let you download as PDF in bulk, but you mentioned you don't currently have access to that on your Google Apps domain. Perhaps you could bring it up with your Apps administrator, especially if not having access to Takeout would hinder your productivity?

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Check out PDF Mergy on Google Apps.

Install it, then in your list of files in Google Drive "select all," right click, open with PDF Mergy.

Works like a charm, yet does not appear in some more common searches in the app store.

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    You could at least link to it.
    – ale
    Feb 8, 2017 at 18:54
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The Google Apps script introduced in this video worked really well for me.

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