PDF to Excel Conversion – How and Why

pdf to excelPDF has become the standard in document presentation, and with newer versions of the Adobe software having powerful copy-and-paste capabilities, there isn’t much you can’t do with a PDF document. However, there are times when you may need to convert a PDF document to another format, such as Excel. In order to do that, not only do you need to understand PDF and its potential, you need a basic grasp of Excel. With that knowledge you can choose whether to manually convert a PDF document, perhaps by cutting and pasting into a text document first, or whether conversion software is a better choice.

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There are many options to help you convert PDF to Excel. Which is best will depend on the contents of the PDF file, the type of software you are using, and what outcome you hope to achieve. A complex document with many columns, text separations, and tables, for example, may need a more powerful software than a bill or short instruction manual. Manual conversion can be done by converting PDF to a txt file first, then importing it into Excel. Another method is to print the page, scan with optical recognition software (OCR), then save the file in Excel. Data can also sometimes be copied and pasted into the Excel workbook, then reformatted with Excel. These methods work, but can be time-consuming and awkward. Errors may be introduced and your data will need to be re-checked for reliability. If you are copying a telephone bill for analysis, these manual methods may be sufficient. More complex PDF data, however, is better done with software designed for the specific purpose of converting PDF to Excel.

Conversion software ranges from free web-based converters to more professional applications that run the spectrum from affordable home-user products to expensive all-inclusive packages. Adobe has a conversion tool embedded in Acrobat XI which simply involves exporting the file into Excel. A tutorial is provided, but the process is straightforward and simple. One free PDF web tool is PDF Converter. You simply select the file for conversion, choose output format, and click “convert. You can optionally receive the converted file via email. Only a small number of files can be processed, however, and you may have to wait in a queue. Another free web tool is Nitro Cloud. Although this tool has some file size limitations, the company claims that the vast majority of conversions can be done without needing to upgrade to the paid version.

Among the more sophisticated conversion solutions is Blue Label Soft. This product allows single or multiple file conversions and works with most versions of Windows. The conversion wizard tool makes it simple to select documents from a file and convert them, but more advanced users can adjust properties and features, including setting a security password. Adept PDF to Excel Converter is another option. This converter ensures the accuracy of the data while preserving the layout and the formatting, including graphics. This type of software is useful for documents with a range of information, such as tables, text, and pictures, as it allows you to more easily manipulate the converted information and preserve layouts, with the option of removing graphics and pictures.

In making the choice of product, you may need to decide whether a basic free website with a few features will do the job, or if you need to spend more money and get convenience and speed and all the bells and whistles. It’s generally a good idea to try the free PDF to Excel conversion tools first. That way you can see if the software will do the job and you will get a feel for both the outcome and what the conversion possibilities entail. Many of the pricier products offer a free trial option. Once you understand the process of converting PDF to Excel and have learned more about what type of data analysis you can do with Excel, you will likely start to see all kinds of possibilities, both personally and professionally.

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Why would you want to convert PDF into Excel?

There are many reasons. Home accounting is one. Many companies are eliminating paper and now send you an electronic bill in PDF. You might want to convert your cell phone bill, for example, so that you can more easily search the data in Excel – total minutes, frequent calls/callers, time of day – and calculate whether your phone plan best meets your needs. Or you might want to convert your bills as part of your overall personal income tax or small business accounting. A first step might be to learn some basic accounting practices with this introduction to accounting course.

Another possibility is if you are writing an Ebook. With the many self-publishing options out there, almost anyone can share their knowledge with the world by means of an Ebook. This course helps you learn how to publish an ebook. You may have technical material to add to your book, and the ability to convert from PDF to Excel so that you can add the information in graph or table format might be invaluable.

Also, a common problem that occurs for accountants performing a business audit is working with multiple PDF documents with different formats. Being able to convert the PDF file into Excel can save time and improve accuracy.