The best PDF to Excel converters are perfect for accurately exporting tables and data from PDFs into Microsoft Excel.
Need to convert PDF to Excel? These days, most of the best PDF editors and best free PDF editors let you change PDFs to Excel files online, on desktop, and on mobile. So, you have lots of ways for extracting that data and exporting a PDF into Excel without copy-pasting or, worse, entering information by hand. Other common filetypes, especially those in the Microsoft 365 suite, are usually supported too.
To help you identify the right tool for you, your organization, and your budget, we’re testing the best PDF to Excel converters. As part of this assessment, we’ve compared each tool’s platform compatibility, batch processing results, security, and the overall quality of the XLS file output. For those concerned about data compliance regulations, we’ve also looked at the security each service offers.
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Best PDF to Excel converter (June 2023)
Adobe are the original developer of the PDF format, so their Adobe Acrobat software should be the best PDF to Excel converter. It's certainly packed with features, which includes the ability to convert PDF files into XLSX files for use in Excel spreadsheets.
The process should be quick and painless, with the data preserved without need for reformatting. In Adobe Acrobat, you simply open the PDF file you want to export, click on the Export PDF tool, choose your format such as Excel Workbook or .xlsx, then export. You can do this on any device, including your cell phone.
Once completed, you can then edit the spreadsheet tables using whichever device you're already using. This is also supposed to apply to scanned OCR data, and in each instance you can select the data you actually want to convert, instead of having to export the whole table from .pdf to .xlxs.
Acrobat is more than just about exporting files, of course, and you can create, edit, export, sign, and review the documents being worked on collaboratively. This of course includes any spreadsheets that you export from PDF format.
Prices start at around $13 per month when billed annually.
Read our full Adobe Acrobat DC review
Nitro offers a full-featured and streamlined software platform that allows you to turn PDF files into Excel documents with a minimum of fuss. Indeed, Nitro claims that its tool allows people to convert PDFs into any Microsoft Office format within a matter of seconds.
Using the application, you can edit all images, text and pages stored in a PDF document and transfer them into an Excel spreadsheet. Just like the Adobe offering, you’re able to add and request digital signatures on PDF documents.
Another great thing about this product is that it’s cloud-based, so you can access documents and edit them from any smartphone, tablet or desktop PC. You can even turn multiple PDFs into a single, searchable document, and there are tools that let you share and view files easily. After testing the software, we felt it was feature-rich with its conversion tools and delightfully easy to use.
There is a one-off payment for this software of around $144, but there also subscription services available.
Read our full Nitro PDF Pro review
The best PDF to Excel converters are fairly broad in terms of their features, and PDFelement is by no means different. It’s been designed predominantly for professional users who need a tool for editing, converting, creating and annotating PDF documents.
What’s more, it boasts decent platform support, being available on Windows and Mac, with an iOS app too, allowing you to convert and edit documents while on-the-go. If you’re about to head into a meeting, having access to documents from your smartphone could be extremely useful.
PDFelement comes with a built-in optical character recognition (OCR) tool, which means you can annotate and add signatures to PDF documents. In a similar way to UniPDF, it tries to keep important elements of a document intact during the conversion process.
For instance, if you have embedded tables in a PDF document, these will be converted into an Excel spreadsheet (hopefully) without issues.
Read our full PDFelement review
The majority of the best PDF to Excel conversion apps out there are only available in English, which isn’t useful if you run or work at a company with a global reach. Need a solution on the language front? Enter PDFZilla.
Not only is it an incredibly powerful converter in its own right, but this app supports more than 20 languages, including German, French, Italian and Spanish. The software is also fast and easy to get to grips with, letting you convert PDFs with just three clicks.
You’re able to turn PDF documents into Excel, Word, Plain Text, Rich Text, JPG, GIF, PNG and more file formats within one platform. There’s also a handy batch conversion mode for dealing with multiple documents – up to 1,000 files – at the same time. The software only works with Windows.
Read our full PDFZilla review
SmallPDF is another good example of a versatile PDF management tool. With it, you’re able to convert PDF documents into a range of different file types, including Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint.
It’s very easy-to-use, and indeed cloud-based for maximum convenience, allowing you to access PDF conversion via the website from wherever you may be (providing you’re online). There’s also a downloadable app for those who want to work offline (for Windows and Mac PCs).
SmallPDF allows you to compress, merge and split documents, as well as add e-signatures. And when it comes to security, this solution will delete your files an hour after they’ve been processed, so you don’t have to worry about any important business data potentially ending up in the hands of third-parties.
The one negative is that SmallPDF isn't transparent on its pricing, pushing users to try the software first. However, the cost is fairly reasonable.
Read our full SmallPDF review
Best PDF to Excel converter: FAQs
How to choose the best PDF to Excel converter for you
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When deciding which PDF to Excel converter is best for you, the answer really lies on your other PDF editing software needs. If you only need to convert PDF data into an Excel-friendly format, one of the more affordable options in this guide could be all you'll ever need.
However, if you work with PDF files more frequently and need to edit them, a free PDF reader with Excel conversion tools would be more appropriate. If you want to make significant edits to your PDF files, a complete PDF editor is your best option.
To help you narrow down your choices, we've also tested, reviewed, and rated the best PDF readers for Windows, best PDF readers for Mac, and best PDF readers for Android and iOS if you simply need to view PDFs without making changes.
Pricing will play a factor, too - some, like Adobe, only offer subscription-based plans, rather than giving you full ownership of the software. So, it's important to assess what budget you're working to, and how well the tool delivers at that price.
You'll also want to consider which device you'll be using your PDF to Excel converter. Some provide full cross-platform compatibility on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices, while others are limited to particular operating systems. Others are online PDF to Excel converters only, which means you'll need a reliable internet connection to convert from PDF to Excel.
What is a PDF to Excel converter?
The best PDF to Excel converters extract data from PDF files and save it to an XLSX file for easy editing in Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet package.
The PDF file format is highly flexible and a great way to present data across multiple platforms and devices. However, PDF editors lack the number-crunching functionality offered in Excel.
When you're done editing, Excel to PDF converters can reverse the process and turn the data back into a PDF file.
How we test the best PDF to Excel converters
We've tested, reviewed, and rated a wide range of PDF editing tools, include the best PDF mergers and the best alternatives to Adobe Acrobat.
When testing the best PDF to Excel converters, we're compare each app's user interface and experience, pricing, platform availability, and overall performance of the conversions.
We also look to see what other converter tools are offered - particularly across the Microsoft Office suite - and any additional features included as part of any free tier or subscription plan.
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