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5 Ways to Convert PDF to Excel for FREE

5 Ways to Convert PDF to Excel for FREE

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April 22, 2023

Discover 5 free methods for converting PDF to Excel, including Smallpdf, Online converters, Microsoft Excel Online, Tabula, and GIMP. Compare the benefits and limitations of each method to find the one that suits your requirements.

PDF to Excel

Table of Contents

Introduction

PDF or Portable Document Format is a widely used file format for sharing and distributing documents online. However, one limitation of PDFs is that they cannot be easily edited or manipulated. For instance, it may be difficult to extract data from PDFs, particularly if they contain tables or graphs. This is where converting PDFs to Excel comes in handy. Excel is a spreadsheet software that can easily manipulate data and perform complex calculations. While there are many paid software options available to perform this task, there are also several free methods to convert PDF to Excel. In this article, we will discuss 5 different ways to convert PDF to Excel for free.

Comparative table:

MethodEase of useAccuracy of conversionCustomization optionsPrice
SmallpdfVery easyGoodLimitedFree and paid plans
Online PDF to Excel ConvertersEasy to moderateVariesLimitedFree and paid plans
Microsoft Excel OnlineEasyGoodAdvancedFree
TabulaModerateGoodAdvancedFree
GIMPDifficultPoorLimitedFree

#1 PDF to Excel with Smallpdf

Smallpdf is an online PDF tool that offers a variety of functions, including PDF conversion, editing, merging, and compression.

How to convert PDF to Excel with Smallpdf:

Step 1: Go to Smallpdf

The first step in converting a PDF to Excel with Smallpdf is to go to the Smallpdf website.

Step 2: Upload your PDF

Once you’re on the Smallpdf homepage, click on the “PDF to Excel” option to go to the conversion page. From there, click on the “Choose Files” button to upload the PDF file you want to convert. Alternatively, you can drag and drop your PDF file into the designated area.

Step 3: Select your conversion options

Once you’ve uploaded your PDF, Smallpdf will begin processing the file. While it’s processing, you can select your conversion options. You can choose to convert the entire PDF or select a range of pages that you want to convert. Smallpdf also gives you the option to convert scanned PDFs, which is useful if the PDF you want to convert is an image-based PDF.

Step 4: Download your Excel file

Once Smallpdf has finished processing your PDF, you can download your Excel file. Smallpdf will provide a preview of your Excel file, allowing you to check the formatting and make any necessary adjustments. If you’re satisfied with the preview, click on the “Download” button to save your Excel file to your computer.

Step 5: Open your Excel file

After you’ve downloaded your Excel file, open it in Microsoft Excel or a similar spreadsheet program. The converted Excel file will have the same formatting as the original PDF, including tables, columns, and rows. You can now work with the data in your Excel file and make any necessary changes.

Converting a PDF to Excel can be a time-consuming task, but Smallpdf makes it easy and quick. With just a few clicks, you can convert your PDF to an Excel spreadsheet and start working with the data. Whether you’re working with financial data, sales reports, or any other type of data, Smallpdf can help you get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use: Smallpdf’s interface is user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy for anyone to convert PDF to Excel.
  • Good accuracy of conversion: Smallpdf’s conversion algorithm is generally accurate, ensuring that most tables are converted to Excel without errors.
  • Batch processing: Smallpdf’s paid plans offer batch processing, which allows you to convert multiple PDFs to Excel at once, saving time and effort.
  • Security: Smallpdf takes security seriously and ensures that all files are encrypted and deleted from their servers after a certain period of time.


Cons:

  • Limited customization options: Smallpdf doesn’t offer advanced customization options, such as the ability to adjust the column width or font size. This may not be a problem for most users, but those with specific requirements may need to use other tools.
  • File size limitations: Smallpdf has a file size limit of 5MB for free users, which may not be sufficient for some users. The paid plans offer higher file size limits, but this may not be a feasible solution for those who only need to convert large files occasionally.
  • Paid plans: While Smallpdf offers a free plan, some of the more advanced features are only available on the paid plans. This may not be a problem for those who only need to convert PDF to Excel occasionally, but it could be a concern for power users who require more advanced features.
Smallpdf

#2 Online PDF to Excel Converters

Online PDF to Excel converters are web-based tools that can be used to convert PDF files to Excel spreadsheets for free.

Here’s how to convert a PDF to Excel for free using an online PDF to Excel converter:

  1. Choose an online PDF to Excel converter: There are several online PDF to Excel converters available for free, including SmallPDF, Zamzar, and PDFtoExcel.com. Choose the one that best suits your needs and navigate to its website.
  2. Upload your PDF file: Once you’re on the website, click on the “Upload” or “Choose file” button to select the PDF file you want to convert. Some websites may allow you to drag and drop the file directly onto the website.
  3. Start the conversion process: Once the PDF file is uploaded, click on the “Convert” or “Start” button to begin the conversion process. The website will analyze the PDF file and attempt to convert it to an Excel spreadsheet.
  4. Download the converted file: Once the conversion is complete, the website will provide a download link for the converted Excel spreadsheet. Click on the link to download the file to your computer.
  5. Review the converted file: Open the downloaded Excel spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program to review the converted data. Ensure that the data is accurate and that the formatting is correct.

Keep in mind that some online converters may have file size limitations or may require you to sign up for an account to use their services.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • No need to download software


Cons:

  • Limited accuracy, may have file size restrictions, potential privacy concerns
PDF to Excel

#3 PDF to Excel with Microsoft Excel Online

Microsoft Excel Online is a free web-based version of Microsoft Excel that can be used to convert PDF files to Excel spreadsheets.

Here’s how to convert a PDF to Excel for free using Microsoft Excel Online:

  1. Sign in to Microsoft Excel Online: Navigate to the Microsoft Excel Online website and sign in with your Microsoft account.
  2. Create a new Excel workbook: Once you’re signed in, click on “New workbook” to create a new Excel file.
  3. Import the PDF file: With the new workbook open, click on “File” in the top left corner of the screen and select “Import“. From the dropdown menu, select “PDF“.
  4. Upload the PDF file: Click on the “Upload PDF” button and select the PDF file you want to convert from your computer. The PDF file will be uploaded to Excel Online.
  5. Review and confirm the import options: Excel Online will analyze the PDF file and provide a preview of the data. Review the data and select the import options that best suit your needs, such as the sheet name and cell range. Click on “Import” to proceed.
  6. Review and edit the converted data: Excel Online will convert the PDF data into an Excel spreadsheet. Review the data to ensure that the conversion was successful and that the data is accurate. You may need to edit the data to adjust the formatting or correct any errors.
  7. Save the file as an Excel workbook: Once you’re satisfied with the converted data, click on “File” in the top left corner of the screen and select “Save as“. Choose “Microsoft Excel” as the file format and select a location to save the file on your computer.

Pros:

  • Accurate
  • Can handle complex PDFs
  • Easy to use


Cons:

  • Requires a Microsoft account and internet connection
  • Limited features compared to desktop version of Excel
Convert PDF to Excel

#4 Convert PDF to Excel with Tabula

Tabula is a free and open-source tool that can be used to extract data from PDF files and convert them into CSV or Microsoft Excel format.

Here’s how to convert a PDF to Excel for free using Tabula:

  1. Download and install Tabula: Visit the Tabula website (https://tabula.technology/) and download the software for your operating system. Install the software on your computer.
  2. Open Tabula and upload the PDF file: Once Tabula is installed, open the software and upload the PDF file you want to convert by clicking on the “Browse” button or dragging and dropping the file into the designated area.
  3. Select the table or area to convert: Tabula will analyze the PDF file and attempt to identify tables or areas that can be extracted. Use your mouse to select the table or area you want to convert. You can also use the “Auto-detect” feature to automatically select tables or areas.
  4. Preview and adjust the data: Tabula will provide a preview of the selected data. Review the data to ensure that it is accurate and adjust the selection if necessary. You can also adjust the data using the “Edit” and “Preview” tabs.
  5. Export the data as an Excel file: Once you’re satisfied with the data, click on the “Export” button and select “Excel” as the output format. Choose a location to save the file on your computer and click on “Save“.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source
  • Accurate
  • Can handle complex PDFs


Cons:

  • Requires software download and installation
  • May require manual adjustment of data
  • Not suitable for non-technical users
Tabula

#5 Convert PDF to Excel with GIMP

GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free and open-source image editing software that can also be used to convert PDF files to Excel format.

Here’s how to convert a PDF to Excel for free using GIMP:

  1. Download and install GIMP: Visit the GIMP website (https://www.gimp.org/) and download the software for your operating system. Install the software on your computer.
  2. Open GIMP and import the PDF file: Once GIMP is installed, open the software and import the PDF file you want to convert by clicking on “File” in the top menu bar, selecting “Open“, and choosing the PDF file from your computer.
  3. Convert the PDF to an image: GIMP will open the PDF file as an image. Click on “File” in the top menu bar, select “Export As“, and choose a file format that supports image files, such as PNG or JPEG. Save the file to your computer.
  4. Convert the image to Excel format: Open Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, create a new spreadsheet, and then click on “File” in the top menu bar. Select “Import” and then “Image“. Choose the image file you created in step 3 and click on “Open“. Excel or Google Sheets will analyze the image and attempt to convert it into a spreadsheet. You may need to adjust the data or formatting as necessary.
  5. Save the file as an Excel workbook: Once you’re satisfied with the converted data, click on “File” in the top menu bar and select “Save As“. Choose “Microsoft Excel” as the file format and select a location to save the file on your computer.

Pros:

  • Free and open-source
  • Can handle complex PDFs


Cons:

  • Requires software download and installation
  • Requires conversion to image format before converting to Excel
  • Not suitable for non-technical users
Gimp

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are multiple ways to convert PDF to Excel, and each method has its pros and cons.

Smallpdf is an online PDF tool that allows you to convert PDF to Excel with ease. It offers good accuracy of conversion, although the customization options are limited. Smallpdf offers both free and paid plans, with the paid plans offering additional features such as batch processing and higher conversion limits.

Online PDF to Excel converters offer a wide range of tools and can be accessed from anywhere.

Microsoft Excel Online is an excellent choice for those who prefer the familiar Excel interface.

Tabula is a powerful tool for extracting data from complex PDFs, and GIMP is ideal for converting PDFs with graphical content.

When choosing a method for converting PDF to Excel, consider factors such as the complexity of the PDF, the accuracy and speed of the conversion, the level of control over the output, and the availability of additional features such as batch processing. Overall, it’s important to assess your needs and choose the method that works best for you. With the variety of options available, it’s possible to find a free solution for converting PDF to Excel that fits your requirements.

If you want to know about How to optimize PDFs for voice search and featured snippets, you can read about it in our previous blog article.

PDF to Ecxel

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