I’ve been using Google Docs for quite a while now, and I’m a big fan.
The main reason I switched from Microsoft Office Word to Google Drive is data loss. I’ve suffered Word file corruption issues on PCs, and have witnessed the suffering of others as well. Also, I’m kind of lazy: I don’t want to bother with regular backups in case of computer hard drive failure. Another reason I switched — and this is one of Google Docs’ biggest selling points — is the need for collaboration. I find Google Docs super convenient for teamwork.
However, Google Docs isn’t perfect. One of the challenges I’ve faced with Google Docs in the past is this: How to extract images from a document. Unlike other document software, Google Docs doesn’t allow you to directly copy images from a file and use them in your computer’s clipboard. It allows you only to crop, adjust or replace the images by right-clicking on an image.
Today, I’ll show you a few simple methods to get that done. What’s the best way? Well, it depends. Read my notes for the most appropriate scenarios and choose the method that fits your needs.
Personally, #3 is my favorite, and I still use the image extractor add-on today.
Using Google Slides? Also read: How to Extract Images from Google Slides
1. Publish to the Web, then Save Images One-by-One
Use This Method When: You only want to extract a few images.
Step 1: Open your document in Google Docs. On the top left corner, click File > Publish to the web.
Step 2: Hit the blue Publish button. If your document contains private or confidential data, remember to stop publishing it after you save your desired images. See step 6.
Step 3: In the pop-up window, click OK to continue.
Step 4: You’ll get a link. Copy the link, then paste it into a new tab on your web browser. Press the Enter or Return key to load the web page.
Step 5: Locate your images on the web page that just appeared, right-click, then select “Save Image As…” Specify the destination to save those images.
Step 6: Almost there. Go back to your Google Docs document, then go to the publish window (File > Publish to the web). Under the blue Publish button, click “Published content & settings” to expand it, then hit “Stop publishing”. That’s it!
2. Download as a Web Page, then Extract Images in Batch
Use This Method When: You have lots of images to save in a document.
Step 1: In your document, click File > Download as > Web Page (.html, zipped). Your Google doc will be downloaded to a .zip file.
Step 2: Locate the zip file (usually it’s in your “Download” folder), right-click it, and open. Note: I’m on a Mac, which allows me to unzip a file directly. If you are on a Windows PC, make sure you have the right software to open the archive.
Step 3: Open the new unzipped folder. Find the sub-folder called “images.” Double-click to open it.
Step 4: Boom! You’ll see all the images that your Google Docs document contains.
3. Use Image Extractor Add-on
Use This Method When: You need to download several images, but not all of them.
Step 1: Open your Google Docs document. In the menu, go to Add-ons > Get add-ons.
Step 2: In the new window that just opened, type “Image Extractor” into the search bar and click Enter. It should show up as first result — Image Extractor by Incentro. Install it. Note: Since I’ve installed the add-on, the button in the screenshot below shows “Manage” instead of “+ FREE”.
Step 3: Once you’ve installed the plugin, go back to the document, select Add-ons > Image Extractor, and click Start.
Step 4: The Image Extractor add-on shows up in your browser’s right sidebar. Select the image you want to save, then click the blue “Download Image” button. The image will be downloaded. Done!
4. Take Screenshots Directly
Use This Method When: You have a few images to extract and they are high-resolution.
It seems like a no-brainer, but it works amazingly well and it’s efficient. Just enlarge your web browser to full screen, select the image, zoom in to a desired size, and take a screenshot. How do you do that? If you are on a Mac, press Shift + Command + 4. For PC, use Ctrl + PrtScr, or you might need to install a third-party screenshot tool like Greenshot, which is totally free.
5. Download as Office Word, then Reuse the Images as You Want
Use This Method When: You want to reuse the images and content of a Google Doc in Microsoft Office Word.
Step 1: Click File > Download as > Microsoft Word (.docx). Your Google Doc will be converted to Word format. Of course, all the formatting and content will remain — including the images.
Step 2: Once you open that exported Word document, you can copy, cut or paste the images as you want.
Google Docs is a one of the best productivity tools out there, one I use almost daily. It’s powerful and easy to use. But you may encounter some challenges, one of which is extracting pictures from a doc your coworker sent to you. If you know how to use the right tool or technique, it’s an easy fix.
I hope you find these five methods useful. If you happen to find another quick method, please leave a comment below and let me know.