Whether you’re using Excel, LibreOffice Calc, Google Sheets, or other apps, the spreadsheet is the universal data organizing tool. Also, since the MS Office package is among the most popular, the “.xls” or “.xlsx” formats are very used by students, business people, and budget makers everywhere.
So, whenever you receive your data in a format that’s not a spreadsheet, it can be unsettling. Luckily, Excel can import external data from a wide range of files like CSV, TXT, and even Access Databases. However, it can’t import data from PDF files (yet), which can be a problem since the PDF format is very popular in all walks of online life.
As such, there are several converter tools that promise to spare us the drudgery of manual data introduction. In this spirit, today we’ll talk about the top three ways you can convert PDF files directly into Excel format files.
#1: Online Converters
This is by far the easiest method if you have the right tools. Not every converter can do the job, and some will only mess up your data, making the job even more difficult.
A good PDF to Excel online converter must be able to recognize the structure of the spreadsheet and know how to translate it into an Excel format. Otherwise, you will end up with an organizational mess that makes no sense whatsoever.
In addition, a reliable converter must also protect your data from any privacy-related risks. In order to convert a file, you have to first upload it on the site, and this is quite a risky move if you work with sensitive data. As such, it’s best to choose an online converter that automatically deletes all the files after the conversion is complete.
#2: Use MS Word
If you don’t trust online converters (or can’t find a good one), you can try the conversion via MS Word (the desktop version).
Start by opening the PDF file in a Word document (right-click on the file -> Open With -> Word). You will see a dialog box that informs you the PDF file will be converted to an MS Word editable format and that it may take a while (depending on the size and complexity of the document).
Once the conversion is complete, you will be able to edit and select the text in the new document.
The next step is to select the data you need and copy-paste it into a new Excel spreadsheet. I recommend using the “Paste without formatting” setting, so the data will be easier to manipulate. Otherwise, it may keep some weird formatting settings from Word, and this can mess up your table structure.
#3: Copy – Paste
This method works when the text in the PDF file is selectable and copy-paste is enabled.
As you probably guessed, it’s the same principle as with method #2, but you skip the conversion to Word. Simply select the data you need, hit CTRL+C, and paste it into the new spreadsheet.
As you can see, the most efficient method is the one that involves a converter. The Copy – Paste methods only work with small files where the data is easy to select and copy. In conclusion, if you work with lots of PDF files and you need them transferred to .xls(x) format, make sure to find a high-quality converter.