How to convert a PDF file to Excel

Just because your coworker sent you a PDF file instead of the Excel document you wanted, doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to convert a PDF into an Excel document in a few quick and easy steps. We’ll even teach you a few different ways to do it.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of converting the PDF (whether password protected or not) and would rather just edit it as is, we have a guide to the best PDF editors, too.

Using Adobe Acrobat DC

As one of the world’s premier PDF reading and editing applications, Adobe Acrobat DC is one of the more popular methods for converting a PDF into an Excel file. As fully featured as it is though, it is a paid-for, premium application. Fortunately, there is a free trial, so if you’re just looking to do a one-off conversion, this method works great.

Step 1: Download Adobe Acrobat DC’s seven-day trial and install it.

Step 2: Open the software and select the “Tools” tab.

Step 3: Click the “Export PDF” icon.

Step 4: Click “Select a file” and choose the PDF you want to convert from the resulting window. Then, select “Spreadsheet” from the list of export options and decide whether you want an “Excel Workbook” (.xlsx), or “XML Spreadsheet 2003” (.xml) format.

Step 5: If you want to adjust your eventual Excel document’s settings, click the gear icon on the right-hand side of your selection. You can choose how many worksheets are created, as well as what symbols were used as data separators.

Step 6: When happy with your settings, click the blue “Export” button.

Step 7: Decide where you want to save your new Excel document. Either pick one of the “Recent Folders” on show, or click the blue “Choose a Different Folder” button. In the resulting pop-up file browser, click “Save.”

Depending on the complexity of your data set and the speed of your computer, you may have a short wait while the conversion takes place. Once completed, the new Excel document will automatically open. You have now officially converted your PDF to an Excel document.

Using a free web application

If you can’t install applications on your system or would simply rather a remote server did the brunt of the work for you, you can convert a PDF to an Excel document online instead. Although there are a number of online converters out there, our favorite is PDFtoExcel.com because it’s free, has a clean interface, and does its job quickly.

It’s important to note that although PDFtoExcel does pledge to remove all files within six hours of upload and doesn’t look at the contents of your files, you are still sending them to a remote server. If you’re working with important data, consider a local conversion solution instead.

Step 1: Open a browser window and go to PDFtoExcel.com.

Step 2: Click the “Upload” button and select your chosen PDF, or drag and drop it onto the designated area.

Step 3: You’ll see a progress bar appear for the upload itself, followed by another for the conversion process. If you are working with a large PDF and/or data set, those steps may take a little while, but overall the process should be swift. Once complete, click the “Free Download” button.

That’s it! Your PDF is now converted to an Excel document (.xlsx), which you can open and edit in Excel to your heart’s content.

Now that you have an Excel document to work with, check out our guide on some handy Excel tips and tricks for the Microsoft Office application.

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