A Tutorial on How to Convert PDF to Excel Spreadsheets (3 Solutions)


How many people had survived a headache when we need to use the tables and data from a PDF document? I've tried many methods to copy and paste a table from PDF to Excel, yet to get a messy "spreadsheet" that needs completely readjustment. In other words, I could barely use it.

Luckily I've now gained some experience and have summarized 3 easy ways on how to convert PDF to excel spreadsheets for you. To extract tables and data from PDF to Excel efficiently and correctly, there are 3 easy methods that you can use right away: Microsoft Office, EasePDF, and Adobe Acrobat. I'll show you breakdown steps and you can choose any solution that is best for you.

To begin with, let's take some time to discuss a question: why we convert PDF to Excel and what do we want to get? I think most people's answer will be to get some editable tables and data from a non-editable PDF document. In that case, the quality and usability of converted tables should be a big priority when we considering how to convert PDF to Excel.

For some methods we tested that are not listed on this post, they came with a pretty bad table layout and cause serious problems like data error and dislocated. Here’s an example when the converted data of the Excel table being altered.

PDF to Excel Difficulty Decimal Digits

We only mention this to remind you that the output quality is very crucial. If you intend to quote the data from the original PDF file as proof or demonstration to your work, please pay attention to the accurate delivery of the conversion.

Method 1. Convert PDF to Excel for Free Using EasePDF

Using Microsoft Word as a transition to convert PDF to Excel is a free and easy way. But there's another way to make the conversion faster easier, and still free. That is to use a free online PDF to Excel Converter, and EasePDF is without a question your best choice.

EasePDF is a professional online PDF service that offers a bunch of online PDF-related tools, such as PDF Converter, PDF Editor, PDF Merger, PDF Splitter, etc. It's 100% free and no registration required. Using an online PDF converting tool saves us a lot of trouble downloading software.

Step 1. Go to EasePDF, and click "PDF to Excel"

PDF to Excel EasePDF

Step 2. Upload PDF file

You can convert single or multiple PDF files at once with EasePDF. There are 3 ways to open the PDF files(s) you want to convert.

  • Click "Add File(s)" to upload the PDF file(s) from your local device.
  • Choose the target PDF file (s) on your computer and drop them to the interface.
  • Choose file(s) that stored in your Google Drive, Dropbox or any other URL.
  • Upload Files

    The file(s) you choose will be uploaded immediately. The uploading time depends on how big the file is, normally it takes seconds.

    Step 3. Convert PDF to Excel

    When the PDF file(s) finishes uploading, click the "Convert" button to start the conversion. It takes seconds to process medium and small size files and minutes for a bigger size.

    PDF to Excel Converting

    Step 4. Download the converted Word document(s)

    Your document will be ready for download once the converting process is done. Click the "Download" button to save the file(s) to your local device, or import the converted file(s) back to Google Drive or Dropbox.

    PDF to Excel Download

    Now you've got your PDF to Excel work done. If you have many graphics and images on the original PDF file that needs to extract, you can use their PDF to JPG or PDF to PNG tool.

    This is a capture of the converting result that we tested. Everything looks perfect.

    PDF to Excel Conversion Result

    Besides EasePDF, there are many online PDF converters can help you convert PDF to Excel workbook. Each online converting service has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are two articles that might be helpful when choosing the best converter for you: 4 Best Online PDF Converters 2019 and 9 Tips for Choosing A Best PDF Converter.

    Method 2. Convert PDF to Excel Using Microsoft Word

    In this post How to Convert PDF to Word for Free (6 Ways), we've listed 6 solutions to convert PDF to editable Word document including using Microsoft Word (2013 and above version). From Microsoft Word 2013 to the latest version, it has a built-in feature called "PDF Reflow" that allows users to change PDF format to editable Word.doc directly.

    Therefore, by converting the PDF file to a Word.doc, the tables on the original PDF become editable. Then we can easily copy and paste it to Excel spreadsheets, maintaining the original table layout and figures.

    Step 1. Open PDF file using Microsoft Word (2013 or above)

    There are two ways to open a PDF file with Microsoft Word.

    #1. Find the target PDF file, right-click it to open a menu. Select "Open with", and click "Word 2016" (or other versions your computer installed).

    Open PDF with Microsoft 2016

    #2. Open Microsoft Word and click "File".On the pop-up menu bar, click "Open".Choose a location that your target PDF file is, it could be on your computer, OneDrive or other web locations. On the Open dialog box, choose your target PDF file and click "Open" button.

    Microsoft 2016 Open PDF

    Note: If your PDF file was invisible in the opened target folder, please select "All Files" on the open dialog.

    Step 2. Convert PDF to Word

    After the PDF file was open with Microsoft Word, a warning message will pop up. Microsoft will remind you this action will convert your PDF to an editable Word document, and the resulting Word document will be optimized to allow you to edit the text, sot it might not look exactly like the original PDF, especially if the original file contains lots of graphics.

    Microsoft Word 2016 Converting Warning

    Click "OK" and your PDF file will be converted into a Word document.

    In this way, the graphics and pictures from the PDF might be missing, but the tables will be extracted to Word with its original layout.

    Step 3. Copy the table from Word and paste to Excel Spreadsheet

    Now that the PDF file is converted to Word, it became editable. You can transfer texts and tables from Word to Excel conveniently.

    #1. Find the tables you need on the right page on Word, right-click to choose "Copy" or use a keyboard shortcut such as "Ctrl + C".

    Microsoft Copy Table

    #2. Open a new or existing Excel spreadsheet you want to paste the table in. Click the "Paste" button in the Home tab of the Ribbon or use the "Ctrl + V" keyboard shortcut.

    Microsoft Copy Table to Excel

    Now you've got your table from PDF to Excel. As the example picture shows, the conversion of the table layout is not perfect, we need to do some manual adjustment. It can also take lots of work if you have many tables needed to convert from PDF to Excel.

    So we highly recommend another easy method to do the work once and forever, such as using EasePDF that we mention before, or using Adobe Acrobat as the following tutorial.

    Method 3. Use Adobe Acrobat to Convert PDF to excel

    Invented by Adobe, PDF is now a world-wide open standard that a lot of third party PDF-related software and apps have been developed. Adobe itself is no exclusion. Adobe Acrobat DC is one of the world's premier PDF reading and editing application software. We can use it to quickly export PDF files like Excel spreadsheets easily. Adobe Acrobat DC is paid service, but we can use it's 7 days free trial to do the conversion.

    Step 1. Install Adobe Acrobat

    Download 7 days free trial of Adobe Acrobat DC, install it to your computer.

    Adobe Acrobat Free Trail

    Step 2. Open PDF file with Adobe Acrobat

    Run the software and select "Tools" on the interface. Click "Export PDF", and choose any PDF file you want to convert on the opened window.

    Adobe Export PDF

    Step 3. Export PDF to Excel

    When you select your PDF file, an "Export your PDF to any format" window will show up for you to choose a converted format. Click "Spreadsheet", choose "Microsoft Excel Workbook" or XML Spreadsheet" as your need.

    Adobe Export to Excel Spreadsheet

    You can click the setting icon to adjust the output spreadsheet settings. For example, you can choose to create a single worksheet for the document, create worksheets for each table, or create worksheets for each page. You can also choose what symbols are used as data separators and text recognition settings.

    When everything is settled down, click the "Export" button. Choose a location you want to store the converted Excel workbook and click "Save". Once the conversion is completed, the new Excel spreadsheet will be automatically opened. Now you've finished converting PDF to Excel using Adobe Acrobat.

    In this post, we've listed 3 different methods on how to convert PDF to Excel - Microsoft Word, EasePDF and Adobe Acrobat. If you have any better solutions, please leave us a comment and it may help our readers a lot.

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