How to export scanned PDF to Word or Excel using Acrobat X or XI

Learn how to convert scanned PDF to Word or convert PDF to Excel.

By Donna Baker – March 19, 2012


In this tutorial, learn how to convert PDF to Word or convert PDF to Excel. Discover how to easily export text from a scanned PDF to Word or Excel using Acrobat X or XI. This quick tip explores how to take text from a scanned PDF and convert PDF to Word or PDF to Excel.

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How to export scanned PDF to Word or Excel using Acrobat X or XI

Donna Baker – March 19, 2012

Let’s take the text from this image scan and send it to Word. Choose File > Save As > Microsoft Word > Word Document. The Save As dialog box opens. Let’s see how Acrobat will prepare the file. Click Settings to open the Save As DOCX Settings dialog box. Since the graphics aren’t needed, deselect the Include Images check box. Acrobat will automatically check if the file is an image only, or if it contains text. Click OK to close the settings, then click Save. Acrobat processes the file, captures the text, and exports the Word document.

Check out the file in Word. The text is all converted, but the strange characters came from the wrapped text in the scanned page. A few seconds to delete the strange characters and column breaks, and the text is ready to use.

It’s easy to export a scan directly to Excel, too. Choose File > Save As > Microsoft Excel Workbook to open the Save As dialog box. Let’s check out the settings. The only setting is to capture the text, which is what we need. Click OK, then click Save.

Here’s the new spreadsheet! All the text processes perfectly, although the background color isn’t exported to Excel.

Products covered:

Acrobat XIAcrobat X

Related topics:

Export PDFs, Scan and Optimize

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.


2, 2016-02-26 26, 2016

Tried to save at PDF to excel.  Nothing but gibberish like past versions of Acrobat Pro.  Will stick with ABBYY conversion to get usable excel tables.

Lori Kassuba

2, 2015-10-30 30, 2015

Hi Ruth Ann Hendrix,

In the Save As Other dialog, there is a settings button that allows you to turn off OCR. OCR converts the images to text. Try unchecking this during the export process.


Ruth Ann Hendrix

5, 2015-10-21 21, 2015

Did as you suggested PDF to Word, but all of the images were converted to text. Is there a way to transfer and keep each separate image?

Patty Friesen

4, 2015-04-09 09, 2015

Hi Svergalla,

If you want to convert PDF to Word, you can do so inexpensively by subscribing to the Adobe Export PDF service for $1.99/mo.



11, 2015-04-08 08, 2015

My husband doesn’t have acrobat 11. What else can do or is free download available?


5, 2014-12-25 25, 2014

HI Madhu,

Open the pdf file, then select it, right click u can find copy option and paste it in excel, then u can re size it in excel.

Lori Kassuba

4, 2014-11-17 17, 2014

Hi Aung,

Let us know if this tutorial helps you create a transparent stamp:



7, 2014-11-17 17, 2014

        pls explain that i have already scan my signature micro soft word., I would like to put excel sheet . I have tired but I can’t see behind the letter once my signature in it.

Lori Kassuba

3, 2014-07-18 18, 2014

Hi Caleb,

Try running the Text Recognition command in Acrobat first before exporting the Excel.


Lori Kassuba

3, 2014-07-18 18, 2014

Hi madhu,

You need Acrobat (not the free Reader) to do this. You can run text recognition on the PDF and then Save As Other > Spreadsheet.



12, 2014-07-17 17, 2014

Didn’t work.  Told me to tables were visible in the PDF.  The recognition box was checked too.


10, 2014-07-08 08, 2014

iam using windows7, i want how to import scan file in exel, please help me

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-02-27 27, 2014

Hi Morgan,

In Acrobat XI (not the free Reader), you will find the export command located under File > Save As Other > Microsoft Word.



6, 2014-02-24 24, 2014

I have windows 8, so the options don’t come up the same way in PDF files. Can you explain how to do it using windows 8?

donna baker

2, 2012-05-22 22, 2012

Hi William -

Please go to this page: and click the form link at the bottom to find/request information about using the site.


donna baker

2, 2012-05-22 22, 2012

Hi Nick -

What programs are you using for the experiment? To export to Word or Excel on your computer you must have the programs installed locally. Otherwise, you’ll see the option display to convert the files online.


donna baker

2, 2012-05-22 22, 2012

Hi Elizabeth -

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.


Elizabeth Streed

11, 2012-05-18 18, 2012

Another fun, easy-going tutorial from Donna Baker.  Her approach to the lesson is fun to watch.


1, 2012-03-30 30, 2012


This is a great tip, but when I went to save as the all of the options in the video were not available.  by choices are PDF, Text, and Word or Excel Online.

I tried Word or Excel Online but when I set it to convert it it asked me to subscribe to a paid service…Any thoughts/work around?



4, 2012-03-26 26, 2012

What information is presented as text is valuable. However not ONE of your videos will play?

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