How to get a PDF into Google Jamboard

Teachers often need to bring PDF study material into Google Jamboard. Jamboard does not let you import PDF files, so we wrote this article to show a few ways to get a PDF into Jamboard.

Jamboard is a useful whiteboard app – a teacher can write and show things on screen. Jamboard is also good for group exercises with students.

There are two ways to import a PDF into Jamboard:

  1. Convert PDF to an image and use the image as background for a Jamboard frame.   
  2. [For iPad, Android and Chrome OS Jamboard app only] Import PDF from Google Drive

We discuss these solutions in detail.

1. Convert PDF to image and use image as Jamboard background

Jamboard lets you set a custom background for a frame. Click Set background > click Image and upload image to use as background as shown below.

How to set a background image

By converting a PDF to an image, we can use the image as background.

PDF converted to image and then used as a background image for Jamboard

Pros: You cannot move around a Jamboard frame background with a mouse pointer. This is useful for group exercises, so students cannot change contents of a frame.

Cons: Requires effort to convert PDFs to images each time, to use on Jamboard.

To convert a PDF to an image, you have two options:

  1. Screenshot the PDF using tools available on your computer. Screenshotting lets you get a partial screenshot of the PDF and the image is ready in an instant.
Take partial screenshot of a PDF
  1. Convert a PDF to image using an online tool like https://pdf2png.com or https://pdfcandy.com/ . These online tools produce a .png image of every page of the PDF. A shortcoming of this approach is it takes a few minutes to convert a PDF to image.
Using pdf2png to convert PDF to image

Here are the keyboard shortcuts to take a screenshot on different OSes:

Chromebook: Press Shift + Ctrl + Show all windows

Windows: Click the Start button. Type ‘snipping tool’ and select Snipping Tool from the list of results.

macOS: Press Shift + Command + 4

2. [For iPad, Android and Chrome OS Jamboard app only] Import PDF from Google Drive

Follow these steps to import a PDF.

  1. Upload the PDF to Google Docs.
  2. Insert the Google Doc into your Jamboard.
  3. Pull out specific pages and expand them in your Jamboard.
How to insert a PDF document into the Jamboard app

Pros: PDF to image conversion is not required.

Cons: The PDF must be on Google Drive. Also, because the PDF on Jamboard is not fixed, students can move it around during a group exercise.

The two strategies we described above let you incorporate PDFs into your Jamboard. Learn to use them both as they can come in handy in different situations.

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