How to Convert PDF to Excel?

| Updated on March 1, 2024

Is it your first time converting a PDF file to Excel? It might seem uncomplicated to export Excel files to PDF. But it won’t be easy if you need to work with and change the data within PDF files since they are portable document files independent of software, hardware, and operating system, making them compact. Don’t worry! There are several simple ways how you can do this using online and offline software, apps, and your efforts:

1. Use a Free Online Converter 

An online file converter is a program that converts PDF into different formats. You can upload your files to the website and wait for them to be converted. You can try out  – an online converter known for its wide range of supported features. It’s also fast, simple, and easy to use! 

2. Purchase Apps or Software

If you have extra cash, you can purchase applications and software to convert your PDF files to Excel with no sweat. You can simply upload your file and let the app or software do the rest. 

For desktops and laptops, you can search through browsers to look for your perfect solution. You can also download the PDF converter on iOS and Android devices via App Store and PlayStore.

3. Copy, and Paste

Because some PDF files allow users to copy data, another way to get your PDF data into Excel is by copying and pasting.  Here are the steps you need to follow to paste them into your Excel file:

  • Select and copy the data from your PDF file. You can right-click your mouse and choose “Copy”, or you can use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+C.”
  • Go to excel and choose the paste special in the Home tab, or you can use the shortcut key “Ctrl + Alt + V.” You can find this in the dropdown of the paste icon.
  • A dialog box will appear with the paste special. You can select the option to paste as Text and click on the OK button in the lower-right corner.
  • The data will be pasted in one column. The output is not how you wanted it to look, but you can easily copy and paste them into their respective rows and columns.

4. Use Microsoft Word

You can use the most recent versions of Microsoft, usually from 2013 onwards, to convert a PDF file into Excel. To do this, you can follow the steps below:

  • Open the PDF file you want to convert. You can right-click and choose “Open with” in Microsoft word, or you can click on the File tab, choose “Open,” and click on the file. You can also use the keyboard shortcut, “Ctrl+O” to lead you to the files you can open and choose your PDF.
  • A dialog box will appear that will inform you of the following: the PDF file will be converted to an editable Word file, the conversion may take a while, and the Word document is optimized for a Word version of the PDF, thus looking different from the original PDF.
  • After reading the dialog box, click on the OK button at the center.
  • Once the PDF is converted to a Word document, it may be in a protected view. You can click on the “Enable Editing” below the tabs.
  • Then, you can see a copy of the PDF tables.
  • Select all the data you want to copy. You can do this in three ways: right-click and choose “Copy,” click on the Copy icon on the home button, or use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + C.”
  • You can click on the first row and first column or any place you want to place the data and paste the data in Excel. You can right-click and choose the paste option, go to the home tab, click the Paste icon, or use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + V.”
  • The data will not be perfect. You can just edit and arrange it the way you want.

If you don’t have the Microsoft software, you can use Microsoft online tools too. Moreover, you can also try your available word processing programs if the steps will work. 

5. Ask Nicely

If you’re in a rush and need the file immediately, you can ask the person who sent out the PDF file for an Excel file copy. Ask nicely and politely if they still have it so they won’t hesitate to give it to you. 

Wondering how to make sure the person will give you the Excel version? Here’s a tip: According to Harvard Business Review, you can ask for a favor by setting the stage that you have a favor to ask, then state the reason, and lastly, provide an escape clause by allowing them to decline. 

For example, you can say, “Good day! I have a favor to ask you. Can you share with me the Excel copy of the PDF you’ve sent? I need to edit some details for the company report. If you can’t help out, I completely understand, but I thought I’d ask. Thank you!”.


It may seem impossible to convert PDFs to Excel files, but there are practical ways that you can try. You can use free online tools, paid software, and applications, or you can manually copy and paste data. Feel free to choose whatever works best for you.

L. Dias William

L. Dias William is an established writer who specializes in Apple goods, iOS, and other technology. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has years of hands-on experience in the IT business. William has a sharp eye for detail and an enthusiasm for innovation, and he has written countless articles and reviews that are popular among computer fans throughout the world. His distinct combination of technical understanding and creative flare makes him a desirable voice in the consumer electronics industry.

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