Adobe and Excel - How to get from one to the other?

So here’s my dilemma:

I’ve got information in an Adobe PDF file. I need to get that information into Excel.

Short of manually transcribing them all, I don’t think there’s a way to do it.

Prove me wrong?

You can copy text in a PDF file, there are two selection options, and I think the selection is defaulted to neither.

Choose the text selection option (rather than the image slection) and you can copy text into a text file, them import it, delimited as appropriate.

It all depends. Are you using the plain Acrobat Reader or the full version of Adobe Acrobat? It’s impossible with the former, possible with the latter.

It also depends on if the page consists of ASCII characters that can be grabbed and pasted to the clipboard, or if it is just graphical data that you’d have to OCR somehow.

Adobe PDF files are essentially graphic images.

Unless you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, or a third-party tool which allow you to convert PDF files to another format, transcribing is the only option left.

And sometimes it’s your lucky day. Upload your PDF file to a web server. Then go to and convert an Adobe (PDF) file to HTML. Then save the output to your mchine and go from there.

open up the PDF, go to File, select “export document to text”.
Choose a place on your PC to save the file.
It will be saved in Notepad.
Go to the saved file, open it, select all, open up new excel document, and paste.

I just tried it and it works like a charm.

I wouldn’t say “like a charm”. I have the same need, and the PDF-to-text method stripped out all formatting. I guess it depends on what you’re trying to get out of Acrobat. Mine is an invoice with several different columns.

With Acrobat Reader 5.1, that option is simply not available, at least not on any PDF file I’ve got. It seems that the posters who’ve said that one needs the full version of Acrobat to do this are, indeed, correct (Jpeg Jones and Duckster).

Why exactly wouldn’t GuanoLad’s solution work? The text selection tool is the T with the dashed box next to it (in Acrobat 4.0). It copies and pastes text just fine.

The text selection tool is only included in the full version of Adobe Acrobat, not in the free Acrobat Reader utility often included in other software packages.

I think you’re mistaken. I don’t have the full version of Acrobat - I never have had, and I also don’t have a cracked version (just in case that occurs to you), and the selection tools are right there and available to use.

What may be true, however, is some PDF files may have themselves locked and set to not allow text or images to be selectable or copyable. I believe that’s possible.

My apologies if I’m wrong, GuanoLad. Unfortunately I’m at work – with the full version – and can’t check. I would be surprised if the function is included in the free version, since it would seem to undermine one of Acrobat’s biggest selling points, but maybe it is restricted at a document-level as you suggest.

GuanoLad is right, as far as I can tell. I’ve got the free reader, and it has the text tool option. It might be restricted at the document level; I don’t have many PDFs to try it with, but it works fine with all of the ones I’ve got, including some “fill-in, but can’t save” type forms.

You may need to upgrade. It’s free. I believe 5.0x is the newest version.

If all else fails you could try printing the PDF file then scanning the printouts to an OCR application, at which point you could then import the information from the OCR-generated text file into Excel.