We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

What is the best software to convert a PDF to Excel?

What is the best software to convert a PDF to Excel?

The usual PDF-software, like PDF Foxit Phantom Business or Adobe or Nitro, I think normally convert only into PDF but not from.

Could FileMaker Pro work? Without having any database, only convert a PDF with many pages to Excel? What about the row limitation in Excel 2003 (which I use), what happens if that exceeds during conversion? Will the conversion from PDF to Excel just continue on a new tab in the same Excel-sheet?

Two other alternatives which would be the absolute easiest, although I'm not sure it works:

1. Save as Excel directly when scanning (if there is any scanner/scanning software that can do this)?
2. Save as Excel when doing OCR with either ReadIris Pro 12 Asian or ABBYY FineReader Pro?

Perhaps I would need to use Adobe:

Watch Question

Nuance PDF Converter will probably do the trick for you.

Apparently the Free Version of this product will also convert for you however I've never used it.. http://www.nuance.com/for-business/by-product/pdf/index.htm (Down at the bottom "Nuance PDF Reader - Convert PDFs to Word, Excel, or RTF)

omnipage wil do it, but it is never an easy process
Qian BaoTechnical Specialist
a semi-automatic way of converting PDF to Excel is to extract the PDF text and save it into a plain text file with .CSV extension. Excel may open CSV file directly.

heaps of ways available to convert PDF into text, including copy/past directly (if allowed) or use of 3rd-party PDF readers such as Nitro PDF Reader.
Ayman BakrSenior Consultant
I believe Cogniview PDF2XL might be the answer to your issues. However I must say that I have never tried it before. You need to read about it or even test. Here is the link for their page http://www.cogniview.com/pdf2xl-buy.php


Thanks Mutawadi, this will definitely be worth trying, will download the 30-day trial and see how it works!
Having had this same issue myself, I spent a while looking at the various options and prices of those options.

The best option that I cam across - and which works pretty well for me - is the following application::

PDF to Excel Converter
wait for it....
PDF to Excel Converter, Inc. !
I wouldn't recommend purchasing solely for this purpose, but if you already have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro (v10.1.1), it has good Save as...spreadsheet capabilities (and a host of other formats).
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018
A couple of folks have already recommended two Nuance products – PDF Converter and OmniPage. I'll toss one more into the mix – PaperPort:

It has built-in OCR (in fact, it uses the OmniPage OCR engine) and has a "Send To" bar with an Excel icon on it. You simply drag-and-drop an image file to the Excel icon and PaperPort automatically invokes its built-in OCR and creates an Excel spreadsheet. Btw, I've never bumped into the row limitation during conversion/OCR so I don't know what will happen.

Another really nice feature is that it can scan directly to Excel. When you set up a scanning profile, you can pick the File Type for the output file and there are many choices, one of which is Excel (Word, too). Here are screen shots of the File Type drop-down (two screens because all of the choices don't fit in the dialog box without scrolling):

scanning file types screen 1scanning file types screen 2
You mentioned ABBYY FineReader Pro, which is a great product, as good as OmniPage, so it can certainly do the job, too (but both of these are heavy-duty OCR packages and fairly expensive).

If you go with PaperPort, there is a new version of PP that came out recently, V14. The main difference between V12 and V14 (Nuance was superstitious and skipped V13) is support for the cloud, which I doubt that you'll need. PP12 is certified for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 (as well as Vista and XP). PP12 is less expensive than OmniPage or ABBYY (or PP14), being available for download at Newegg for $39.99:

The download will probably be version 12.0. Don't install it. Instead, read my EE article on how to upgrade to 12.1 for free:

OmniPage and ABBYY give you more capability in pure OCR, such as correcting OCR errors, but PP is easier to use, the street price is lower, and it has both conversion and direct scanning to Excel. Just another idea for you to consider.

As a disclaimer, I have no affiliation or financial interest with any of the companies mentioned. Regards, Joe


I actually already own a license for ABBYY FineReader 9.0 Professional, but have not used it so much, find it too difficult to get started with. I've scanned a lot of books in Chinese, the characters are scanned but often misplaced on the page etc. after OCR in ABBYY.

I was recommended on another posting I made that for Chinese OCR, and OCR of Asian languages, I should use ReadIris Pro Asian for Windows instead of ABBYY (for better recognition of Chinese characters).

Regardless of what scanning software I use, if I would scan directly to Excel (instead of directly to PDF as I usually do), can I afterwards edit and correct the scannings (just as I can do if I scan to PDF, just to edit and correct the scanned and OCR:ed PDF in ABBYY FineReader)? Will scannings directly to Excel be in Excel-format, not images in Excel (like when I scan to PDF, they first become images in the PDF so I have to OCR afterwards)? So that scanning to Excel means OCR at the same time?
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

Yes, you'll be able to edit and correct the text in Excel, just as if you had typed it in. The scanning to Excel means that PaperPort automatically invokes the built-in OCR and puts data (not images) in the cells. Regards, Joe