How to Copy PDF Table to Excel

I have a pdf file with a bunch of tables that I need to grab the content of and paste into an excel spreadsheet. One way to do this is to upgrade to Adobe Acrobat Professional and use the copy as table command. Who wants, or is able, to pay $450 for that though? Certainly not me.
Adobe Reader is free and came installed on my computer, so I was poking around a bit and discovered a work around. In Adobe Reader 7.0, first make sure the select tool is chosen. Next, move the cursor over the column header until a rectangle appears. Then highlight the column elements and press Ctrl+C to copy the column elements, paste into Excel with Ctrl+V.
If you are using Adobe Reader 9.0, press Ctrl+Alt while moving the cursor over the column header until a rectangle appears. Then highlight the column elements and press Ctrl+C to copy the column elements, paste into Excel with Ctrl+V.
Copying each column one at a time isn’t quite as nice as the copy as table command. It takes a little bit more time, but it is definitely better than spending a couple hundred dollars if you really don’t need to.

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19 Replies to “How to Copy PDF Table to Excel”

  1. unfortunately doesn't work across page breaks. agh. why hasn't msft destroyed adobe by now, eh?? feels like this uninteroperability has survived longer than platypi.

  2. Thanks a lot for this, this prevented me from copying the entire thing and then splitting them as text into columns.

    BTW, just pressing alt and dragging a box is sufficent to select the column.

    Sandeep

  3. Using this techniques does not work for me. I'm using Acrobat 9 Pro. The copy as table just produces a bitmap in Excel. The save as table and open table in spreadsheet do nothing. I've tried this with Excel 2010 as well as Excel 2000. Any ideas?

    BP

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