How to Convert a PDF to Excel

by Hassan Shabeer

In today’s data-driven world, the ability to convert a PDF to Excel is a skill that can significantly boost your productivity. While PDFs are excellent for preserving the formatting of documents, they can be challenging when you need to work with the data they contain. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various methods and tools to help you understand how to convert a PDF to Excel, giving you full control over your data.

Why Convert PDF to Excel?

Before we look into the ‘how,’ let’s understand the ‘why’ you should convert a PDF to an Excel sheer in the first place. Converting a PDF to an online Excel sheet offers several advantages:

1. Data Manipulation: Excel provides robust tools for data analysis and manipulation. By converting PDF data into Excel, you gain the ability to perform calculations, create charts, and efficiently organize information.

2. Searchability: Excel’s search and filter functions make it easy to find and extract specific data points from a PDF document, enhancing data accessibility.

3. Data Extraction: Many PDFs, such as financial statements, invoices, and reports, contain structured data that can be instantly extracted into Excel columns for further processing.

4. Data Integration: Excel allows you to combine data from multiple sources, making it easier to analyze and visualize information by consolidating it into a single spreadsheet.

Method 1: Using Adobe Acrobat

The simplest and easiest way to convert PDF files to different formats including Excel is using Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you have access to Adobe Acrobat, you can convert PDFs to Excel directly:

1. Open PDF in Acrobat: Launch Adobe Acrobat and open the PDF document you wish to convert.

2. Export PDF to Excel: Click on ‘File,’ then select ‘Export to,’ and choose ‘Microsoft Excel Workbook’ from the list of all available options. 

3. Customize Settings: A dialog box will appear, allowing you to customize conversion settings, such as which pages to convert or layout options.

4. Save Excel File: Click ‘Export,’ select where you want to save the Excel file and provide a name. Click ‘Save,’ and Acrobat will convert the PDF into an Excel workbook right away and save it at your desired location.

Method 2: Using Online PDF to Excel Converters

In case Adobe Acrobat is currently not available to you, there are several online tools that offer PDF to Excel conversion for free. Here’s how to use one:

1. Choose an Online Tool: Select reputable online PDF to Excel converters, such as Smallpdf, Cloud Convert, Adobe’s online converter, or Investintech’s PDF to Excel tool.

2. Upload Your PDF: Follow the tool’s instructions to upload the PDF file you want to convert.

3. Initiate Conversion: Start the conversion process. The online tool will extract the data from the PDF and provide you with a download link for the Excel file.

4. Download the Excel File: Click ‘Download’ to save the Excel file to your computer.

Method 3: Using Excel’s Data Tab (For Structured PDFs)

If the PDF contains structured data, you can extract it directly using Excel:

1. Open Excel: Launch Microsoft Excel.

2. Navigate to the Data Tab: Click on the ‘Data’ tab on the Excel ribbon. In case you are using an online sheet such as Google Sheets, the data tab is available separately in the menu.

3. From PDF: In the ‘Get & Transform Data’ group, select ‘Get Data’ and then choose ‘From File.’ From there, select ‘From PDF.’

4. Select the PDF: Locate and select the PDF file you want to convert. Click ‘Import.’

5. Choose the Data to Extract: In the Navigator dialog box, choose the tables or data you want to extract from the PDF. Click ‘Load’ to import the data into Excel.


Converting a PDF to Excel is a valuable skill for working with data efficiently. Whether you use Adobe Acrobat, online converters, or Excel’s built-in data import tools, mastering this skill empowers you to unlock the data within PDF documents and leverage Excel’s powerful features for analysis, reporting, and informed decision-making. With these methods at your disposal, you can confidently tackle data challenges and enhance your productivity.

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