Exporting a PDF to Excel using Acrobat 9

By Rick Borstein – April 17, 2009

 

In this tutorial, learn how to export or convert PDF to Excel (sometimes called PDF to Excel converter or PDF converter) using Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard or Acrobat 9 Pro. If you're using Acrobat X, check out the How to export PDF to Word or Excel quick tip video.

Acrobat offers a couple of different ways to export or convert PDFs to Excel:

Converting to Excel from PDF: Copy Table as Spreadsheet

I've had better luck using this method for scanned documents and documents that were not originally spreadsheets. Here's how to use it:

  1. Open a PDF and OCR if it was originally scanned. Document—> OCR Text Recognition
  2. Select the Select Text tool (cursor).
    001_cursor_tool

  3. Hold down the ALT (CMD on the Mac) key to make a rectangular selection over a table in the document. Your cursor will change shape to:
    002_area_cursor

  4. With the text still selected, right-click and choose “Open Table in Spreadsheet.”
    003_context_menu_000

  5. The table data will open in Excel.

What are the other options?

Copy as Table will copy the data to the clipboard. From there, you can paste it into Excel or another document. Save as Table will allow you to name the data and save it as a Comma Separated Value (CSV) file.

Mac Users: Only Copy as Table and Save as Table are available.

Converting to Excel from PDF: Save as tables in Excel spreadsheet

This method allows you export a multiple page PDF to multiple Tables in an Excel file. It seems to work best on documents that have been converted directly to PDF from Excel or converted using Acrobat (rather than a clone).

Save as Tables works better in Acrobat 9.1

Adobe greatly improved the capability to export to Excel using this method in Acrobat 9.1. Acrobat 9.0 sometimes exported XML tables that Excel could not open. Make sure you update.

How to use it:

  1. Open the PDF you want to convert.
  2. OCR the document if it was originally scanned. Choose Document—> OCR Text Recognition
  3. Choose File—> Save As
  4. From the Type list at the bottom of the window, choose Tables in Excel Spreadsheet.
    004_chose_tables_in_excel

  5. Click Save.

How do I open the file in Excel?

Depending on your file associations, you may not be able to double-click the resulting XML file to open it in Excel. You’ll need to open Excel and choose File—> Open

Where are all the pages?

Each page in the PDF is converted to a different worksheet in the Excel file. Look at the tabs at the bottom of the screen.

Batch Converting PDF to Excel

Have a lot of PDF files you want to convert to Excel? No problem! This works in any version of Acrobat 9.

  1. Choose File—> Export—> Export Multiple Files
  2. Click the Add Files button at the top of the window and locate your source PDFs.
    005_export_multiple_files_window

  3. The Output Options window appears:
    006_output_options

    • Click Browse to select a folder for the Excel output.
    • If desired, add a prefix or suffix to the filename.
    • Change Export to “Tables in Excel.”
  4. Click OK.


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12 comments

Lori Kassuba

9, 2013-11-08 08, 2013

Hi Isaiah,

You don’t mention what version of Acrobat you’re using but if it’s version XI, you can select the Settings… button in the Save As dialog when exporting the PDF to Excel. In this dialog there is a radio button you can select to “Create Worksheet for each Page”.

Thanks,
Lori

Isaiah

10, 2013-11-07 07, 2013

We are trying to convert a 37 page PDF and we want each page to become its own worksheet in the Excel document. this does not happen when we convert to excel work sheet please help.

Lori Kassuba

9, 2013-10-17 17, 2013

Hi vad,

If you have Acrobat X or XI Pro., you could create an Action that automates the process of exporting the PDF files to Excel. It would be similar to this one for Word that is posted on our exchange, except you could modify it for Excel:
http://acrobatusers.com/actions-exchange/convert-multiple-pdfs-to-word-document

Thanks,
Lori

vad

7, 2013-09-27 27, 2013

A vendor I work with refuses to provide reports in anything but pdf which makes data analytics laughably complicated because pdf is made for print and nothing else.  How can I automate the process of getting all text from pdf and saving as excel so i dont have to open to god-forsaken program and save my team hours a day.

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-09-12 12, 2013

Hi Leonie,

Make sure you’re using the latest point version of Acrobat 9.9.5. There were some updates made that improved the PDF to Excel capability. The updates can be found here:
http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/product.jsp?product=1&platform=Windows

Thanks,
Lori

Leonie

2, 2013-09-09 09, 2013

I followed the above instructions for ‘Open Table in Spreadsheet’ in Adobe Standard 9 but it didn’t work. The excel table did not open (I tried having excel open when I selected ‘Open Table in Spreadsheet’, then I tried having excel closed. Neither worked.) What am I missing?

Patty Friesen

10, 2013-05-31 31, 2013

Hi Beth,

Here is a good tutorial on how to convert an Acrobat X PDF file to Excel:
http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/how-to-export-a-pdf-to-word-or-excel

If you just need to export part of a PDF to Excel, this tutorial explains the process:
http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/how-do-i-convert-just-part-of-a-pdf-file

Hope this helps.

Patty

Beth Warren

4, 2013-05-30 30, 2013

How can I convert an Acrobat X file to Excel?  Thanks.

Patty Friesen

7, 2013-04-25 25, 2013

Hi Claritza,

Can you please post your question in our Answers Q&A forum and one of our experts can help you. It would be helpful if you can include the version of Acrobat you are using and a little bit more about the problem you’re having (e.g., are you getting an error message or dialog box?):

http://answers.acrobatusers.com/AskQuestion.aspx

Patty

Claritza

9, 2013-04-23 23, 2013

I can’t convert a pdf (865 pages) to Excel…please help!

Anita

8, 2013-03-06 06, 2013

Life saving tip - thanks!

Vicki Wilhoite

2, 2012-06-21 21, 2012

What is the trick for exporting “Tables in Excel Spreadsheet” in Acrobat 10?  We are having a problem with that in the new version.

Hi Vicki,
I would suggest posting your question to our Experts so they can help you interactively:
http://answers.acrobatusers.com/AskQuestion.aspx

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