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Best PDF to Excel converters of 2022: Free and paid, for Windows, Mac, Android and online

Someone using Excel on a Laptop.
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The best PDF to Excel converters make it simple and easy to export tables and data from PDF files and import them into Microsoft Excel.

This is especially important because PDF files have become ubiquitous for business use, not least because they are not restricted to any specific operating system. Additionally, the ability to protect PDF files against editing, and even to eSign them, means they can be an incredibly versatile and useful format for office documents.

PDF software is available for most usages of PDF files. There are PDF readers for Windows, PDF readers for Mac, and PDF readers for Android and iOS.

For most ordinary users this is at much as they'll need when dealing with PDF files, probably the most common document format online. However, sometimes PDFs will need changes made, in which case there are plenty of free PDF editors at hand.

However, PDF files can be more than just text and images, with the ability to embed data, tables, and spreadsheets into individual documents. This is fine if you want all that information to remain there, but sometimes you may need to extract it, and normal readers and editors won't cut that.

This is where PDF converters come into play, and PDF to Excel converters can be an essential tool for business and research institutions who need to use, share, and process a lot of spreadsheet information securely.

Unlike some file conversion software, the process should be simple and easy once you have the right toolkit, with no concerns about data formatting becoming lost in the export process.

We tested the latest PDF software packages, looking at operating system compatibility, batch processing capabilities, and the overall quality of the resulting XLS files.  

Here then are the best PDF to Excel converters currently available.

We've also featured the best PDF to Word and PDF to PowerPoint converters. 

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The best PDF editor right now is: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC (opens in new tab)
(opens in new tab)Need to edit a PDF, not just view it? It's not free, but for professional results, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is the tool for you. It gives you total freedom to create PDFs from scratch and edit existing documents without fuss, on desktop or mobile.

The best PDF to Excel converters of 2022 in full:

(Image credit: Adobe)

1. Adobe Acrobat DC

The original and best PDF to Excel converter

Reasons to buy

The original PDF developer
Comprehensive features

Reasons to avoid

Pricing is high

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.

Read our full Adobe Acrobat DC review.


(Image credit: Nitro)

2. Nitro

Ideal if you want a seamless solution that works across all your devices

Reasons to buy

Supports all Microsoft Office file formats
Cloud-based platform 
14-day free trial

Reasons to avoid

Requires you to register

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.

There are a couple of different versions, with Nitro Pro aimed at small businesses and individuals, while the Nitro Productivity Platform is aimed at enterprises.

Read our full Nitro PDF Pro review.


(Image credit: PDFZilla)

3. PDFZilla

The best multilingual PDF to Excel converter

Reasons to buy

Supports 20+ languages
Batch conversion mode

Reasons to avoid

Only available on Windows

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.


(Image credit: Wondershare)

4. PDFelement

Best if you require solid OCR support

Reasons to buy

Editing and annotation features
OCR support
Mobile app for iOS

Reasons to avoid

Somewhat expensive

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.


(Image credit: SmallPDF)

5. SmallPDF

The most affordable PDF to Excel converter

Reasons to buy

Supports multiple file types

Reasons to avoid

Offline mode is an extra $2/month

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.

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 to choose the best PDF to Excel converter for you

The best PDF to Excel converter for you will vary depending on your other PDF editing 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 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.

How we tested the best PDF to Excel converters

We downloaded, installed, and used all of the programs in our best PDF to Excel converters guide to compare them based on first-hand experience. Running a series of PDF files through each converter, we assessed how they handled various data types and how these appeared in the resulting spreadsheet.

You'll likely want to do more than just convert PDF files to XLSX, so we explored each program's other features too. We looked at each product's pricing and subscription models and investigated free and trial versions (where available). Finally, we researched the documentation and other support options offered by each developer. 

Read how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar (opens in new tab).

We've also featured the best AutoCAD to PDF converters.

Brian has over 30 years publishing experience as a writer and editor across a range of computing, technology, and marketing titles. He has been interviewed multiple times for the BBC and been a speaker at international conferences. His specialty on techradar is Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, covering everything from office suites to IT service tools. He is also a science fiction and fantasy author, published as Brian G Turner.