We all exist in an age of convenience. And this era of connectivity and access is largely thanks to all of the technological advancements we have at our disposal. From the capabilities of the smartphones that we all have in our pockets, to the ever-growing increase in wifi and mobile speeds and technologies, we are all witnessing innovations at a very rapid rate that has been unmatched in human history.
Of these common technologies that make our lives easier, software programs and different file types have become part of our everyday interactions both for professional and personal use. PDF files are an often-used variety that are imaged based files and can easily be transferred electronically. Since these PDF files are so widely used it is good to know how to translate them into other formats.
A Quick Background on PDF files and Excel
In this article, we are going to take a look at how to convert scanned PDF files into Microsoft Excel. Excel is a popular and well-known spreadsheet program that is useful for organizing and storing different types of data. The organizational capabilities of Excel are extremely useful for everything from basic task management to payroll and taxes. It is an excellent program that many people use daily and are familiar with.
PDF files are a very common file type that makes it easy to share and send electronic images of many varieties. PDF stands for Portable Document Format and that explains what this file type is intended for in a nutshell. These files were initially created as a means to share important documents without them having the ability to be edited or altered by those receiving the files. A PDF is basically an image file of a document.
PDFs come in handy in a variety of situations. They come in useful because a PDF file will appear the same across many different devices and can be readily shared. This makes it possible to share everything from a brochure layout to important reports without worrying about if the recipient of the file is going to see the document in a correct and accurate format. PDF file allows for document viewing peace of mind, in a sense.
Why Convert Scanned PDF Files to Excel?
PDFs are a great way to send various reports needed for business and professional use and that is why people often attempt to convert scanned PDF files into Excel. While the PDF format makes sure that any recipient of these important files or reports will be able to see the document as intended, you will not be able to edit or modify a PDF directly. By converting the file to an Excel file, you can access and modify the information stored within.
This is great if you are sharing a PDF with a coworker or employee who needs access to the file to work on it. They might need to add or subtract information contained on the document to keep it up to date or double-check the math of any numbers in the sheet. Excel makes these sorts of tasks very easy and once you learn how to convert PDF files to Excel sheets, you are able to utilize the capabilities of both file types.
How to Convert Scanned PDF to Excel
Unfortunately, a PDF file will not automatically work within Excel. In order to get the information contained on a PDF file into Excel, it needs to be converted to an Excel file. Even though this doesn’t happen automatically, it is still possible to complete very quickly and easily once you know the proper steps to do so.
In order to convert a scanned PDF file to an Excel file, you will need to use what’s known as OCR, or Optical Character Recognition. This is a type of technology that can scan the information contained within a PDF file and translate into another file type, such as Excel. OCR will scan a PDF image and then recreate the information found within that file into programs such as Excel.
OCR technology is important when converting PDF files into Excel because it not only has the capabilities to convert the text and images but it can also sort and organize this information. This means that your PDF file can easily be transported into Excel without the need to further modify or correct the conversion once you have access to the file. There are basically two different ways to use OCR to convert a scanned PDF into Excel.
Method 1. Desktop OCR PDF to Excel Converter Software
- Pros: Stand-alone application, more secure and in control. File conversion quality is much better than online services. Support batch or partial PDF conversion, more flexible.
- Cons: Not free, though a free trial is available for you to evaluate.
Desktop software is what you can download and install on your computer to use when trying to convert PDF files into Excel. If you do this type of conversion often, this is a good option to use as it is very secure and will allow you to convert as many PDFs as needed. OCR software is fully functional and reliable and is fully designed for this task. The downside is that these software programs usually come with an initial cost.
One of the best desktop OCR software is PDFelement Pro which is very easy to install and use and make converting scanned PDF files into Excel sheets a breeze. This app is available for both Windows and macOS.
There are other options out there as well, just make sure to read reviews to ensure functionality before purchasing.
Method 2: Online OCR Services
- Pros: Fast and convenient. No need to download or install any third-party programs on your computer.
- Cons: Not all service providers disclose how they’ll deal with the documents you upload. Most of such services have file size limitations or require you to register to get the converted files. Conversion quality tends to be low compared to that of desktop software.
Another option to use to convert scanned PDF files to Excel is online OCR services. These are online websites where you can complete the conversion. This is a really easy and convenient method for OCR and it is oftentimes free of charge. Online OCR is less secure than software versions and might not have all of the capabilities of a downloaded version intended exclusively for the purposes.
A few good choices for online OCR include Online OCR and NewOCR. These sites make it simple and quick to convert a PDF to an Excel format and offer other types of conversions as well. These make for great options if you only have a single file to convert and want to do the job quickly without having to download and install additional hardware.
Knowing how to convert PDf files into Excel is important because it can allow for the best benefits of both of these file types. While PDF files are easy to create and share across devices, they aren’t easy to edit. Excel files are great for organizing important information and keeping large quantities of data and numbers secure.
By converting a PDF file to Excel through either of the options mentioned above, you can increase your productivity and ensure any professional or personal task you are working on is well organized.
Have you ever converted a scanned PDF to Excel? What method did you use? Let us know in the comments below.
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.