How to Import/Copy Tables From PDF Into Excel: 3 Free Methods to Choose

how to import pdf into excel

If you have been on a quest for a method of how to export PDF to Excel equivalent, this is just the article for you. PDF files are known to provide a reliable way to share documents because they are able to preserve the formatting no matter the device they are opened in. However, they fall short when you want to edit the data they carry like for instance data tables. To manipulate the data, you have to depend on methods that help convert the PDF data so that you can edit it like in Excel.

In that line, this article focuses on the need to import PDF to Excel and to be specific, copying table data so that it can easily be manipulated in Microsoft Excel. To save you the time and effort taken in researching on go-to solutions, we have prepared this comprehensive article that will not only open you up to the best free methods but also will go the extra mile to let you in on the steps of achieving the task at hand with each of these methods.

These methods are not complex at all and will also not have you digging deep into your pocket for the services you are looking for. With that in mind, let us now dive into the list of methods that will come in handy to copy PDF to Excel.

This Tutorial Covers

Method #1 Import a Table From PDF Into Excel Using Microsoft Word

Apart from the ability to create and edit Word documents, Microsoft Word also happens to provide a nifty feature whereby you get to import PDF to Excel without necessarily looking for external complex software. The idea here when you export PDF to Excel is that you will be able to play with the data instituted in tables because that cannot happen in a PDF file since it does not support editing.

Actually, all you will require here is have the PDF file containing tables, Microsoft Word, and Excel already set up on your computer. Once you have met the prerequisites, here are the steps to follow to import data tables from PDF files and even any other kind of data.

Step 1: Open The PDF File Containing Tables

The best way to do this is by opening Microsoft Word first and then open the PDF file. Once you have Word up and running, click on the “File” menu on the far left side of the top ribbon or simply hit the “Ctrl+O” hotkey to access the interface below. Under the “Open” panel labeled 1, click on the “Browse” option labeled 2 to navigate to where your PDF file is located.


Going by this tutorial to copy tables from PDF tables into Excel, you just need to select the PDF file in the source directory as shown by Label 1, and then hitting the “Open” button labeled 2.


Step 2: Allow PDF to Word Conversion

Clicking on the button referred above will start processing the PDF file in preparation to open it in Microsoft Word. During this process, a popup like the one shown below will be presented to you that has some information regarding the file you are opening. One is that the PDF file will be transformed into an editable Word document and of course that the process can take some time depending on the size and nature of your PDF file. You are also given a heads up that the converted file may look different from the source. Once you are comfortable with that, click on the “OK” button to confirm. likely, in particular, if the file you’re converting has many graphics.

Step 3: Enable Editing to Disable Protected View

For your security, Microsoft Word will not just open a file and directly let you start editing especially when the source cannot be verified. In this case, you will notice a message below the ribbon warning you about working with certain files. But of course, we need to allow the editing in order for the process to be successful. Therefore, click on the “Enable Editing” button shown below in case the message shows up.


A message like the one in Step 2 will be shown again and you just need to hit the “OK” button to proceed.

Step 4: Select and Copy The Table Data

Now that the converted Word document allows editing, it is time to head over to where the target table data is so that you can copy it. To do this, hover the mouse cursor on top of the target table until you notice the icon labeled 1. Once it is visible, click on it so that all the data in the table can be selected. To confirm that the data is selected, you should notice a dark grey overlay on the data in the table. To copy the data, head over to the home category on the ribbon, and click on the “Copy” button shown by Label 2.


There are other two ways that you can also accomplish the copy process easily; one is where you just hit the “Ctrl+C” hotkey on your keyboard and the other one you right-click on the selected data and click on the “Copy” option shown below.


Step 5: Paste the Table Data Into Excel

We are now in the last step to have the table data in Excel. Here, you first need to open a blank Excel spreadsheet, select the cell where you want the data to begin like the one shown by Label 1, and then hit the “Paste” icon labeled 2. For convenience purposes, you can just use the “Ctrl+V” hotkey to achieve the same.


Immediately you do that, the table data you copied previously will now be imported into the Excel document you just created. As you can observe below, the sample table we have used in this article is now pasted successfully as shown below. All that you need to do now is make sure that everything is copied correctly, apply necessary adjustments to the alignment, perform further actions needed, and then save the new Excel spreadsheet with a preferred name.


The editing process is necessary because it is not all the time that you will be able to copy data from PDF to Excel perfectly. The good thing is that the adjustments will not feel like you are typing the whole table afresh.

Method #2 Import a Table From PDF Into Excel Using TalkHelper PDF Converter

TalkHelper PDF Converter has been the best pdf to excel converter to copy data from PDF to Excel when you consider the features it brings under its arms. It does not matter whether you are working on a native or scanned PDF file since this program manages all that without breaking a sweat. Working on scanned PDF files is made possible by the incorporated OCR feature. 

If you are looking to import data tables from multiple PDF files, this software boasts of the support for batch conversion to see to it that you take considerably less time when processing multiple PDF files. The comprehensiveness brought by this app is akin to no other and therefore really reliable to import data tables from PDFs into XLS. In this section, you will actually learn how to copy data from PDF to Excel using this powerful piece of software.

Step 1: Select the Conversion Mode and Set Output Directory

Once you have TalkHelper PDF Converter up and running, select the “PDF To Excel” option under the “Convert PDF To Other Files” section as shown by Label 1. Next, set the output directory under Label 2 and here you can either choose to rock the source folder or customize it to fit your preferred one.


Step 2: Add PDF(s) with Tables

It is now time to add the PDF file(s) or folders that contain PDF files with tables. As can be seen below, you can use the native file explorer methods under Label 1 or simple drag and drop the files or folders into the area labeled 2. Your files will be listed as can be seen with the table.pdf file added below with some information regarding the file.


Step 3: Define PDF to Excel Conversion Parameters

Basically, here you will be choosing the conversion mode in terms of format or editing priority and even the implementation of OCR if you are working with scanned PDF files. These adjustments can be done under Label 1 and when you need to import tables from specific pages or page ranges in a PDF file, make sure to define that under Label 2 as directed.


Step 4: Finish the Process to Import PDF Tables into Excel

Now that you have set up pretty much all the necessary options, it is the perfect moment to copy data from PDF to Excel and for our case, tables are our biggest priority. There is no complexity here at all as you just need to click on the “Convert” button below to kickstart the process. When you do that, you will be able to observe a progress bar on the file being converted, and once done, you will be able to find the output XLS file in the folder you defined.


Method #3 Import a Table From PDF Into Excel Using Nitro Pro

Nitro Pro gives a pretty efficient and fluid way to convert PDF files into the Excel file equivalent in just a few clicks. You need not take time fixing any inconsistencies on the layout like what happens with other tools since the original formatting is retained to a great extent. In so doing, you save time that would have been used in fixing fonts, images, and formatting issues. 

By being able to retain the original format, it consequently means the process to import data tables from PDF files into Excel spreadsheets meets the same fate and does not forget that batch conversion is supported too. To be specific, the tables will be converted into the Excel spreadsheet equivalent in an editable format and you can just dive right into the data manipulation process. To achieve this task to import PDF to Excel, these are the steps to take.

Step 1: Open PDF Containing Tables

Nitro Pro also doubles as a fully-fledged PDF viewer and therefore, just open the target PDF file with Nitro Pro through a simple right-click or just drag and drop it in the software if it is already running. Like for instance our case here, this is what you get when we open the sample PDF file that has a table. As you can observe, the interface resembles that of Microsoft Office and thus not complex to navigate.


Step 2: Head over to the Convert Section

On the tool ribbon at the top part of the interface, click on the “Convert” panel labeled 1 and from the expanded options below it, choose the “To Excel” option shown by Label 2 to open the relevant interface.


Step 3: Refine the Output Options

Basically, here you will be able to adjust various parameters in line with the kind of output that you are looking forward to using the dedicated tool to extract tables from PDF files below. Going by the interface below that pops up after going through the previous step, you will be able to do some file management options under Label 1 which includes the addition of more PDF files with tables. Under Label 2, you get to choose the pages that contain tables instead of converting the whole file and at the same time choose whether to output tables to a single spreadsheet or each table to its own individual Excel sheet. With that done, you just need to specify the output folder under Label 3 before finally hitting the “Convert” button labeled 4.


This should open up the interface below that shows the progress of the conversion process. Just be patient for the process to be completed and once it is done, the output will be opened in your default Excel software so that you can confirm that the process has gone just as you hoped.


Now that you have come to the end of the article, it is my hope that you have really gotten acquainted with the 3 free methods that you can choose from when you need to import PDF into Excel. These are definitely methods that are guaranteed to give you a reliable process but still, you have to pick the one that proves to augur the best with you. At the end of the day, you have a way out any time you need to grab tables from PDF files and get to manipulate the same data in Excel spreadsheets without the need to retype everything.

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