How to Import Table from PDF to Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve ever needed to turn a table from a PDF into an Excel spreadsheet, you know it’s not as straightforward as it sounds. But don’t worry! By following these simple steps, you’ll have your PDF table in Excel in no time. You’ll use Adobe Acrobat and some clever tricks to make the process seamless.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Import Table from PDF to Excel

This guide will show you a straightforward way to transfer a table from a PDF file to an Excel spreadsheet, ensuring you retain the table’s structure and data accuracy.

Step 1: Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat

Start by launching Adobe Acrobat and opening the PDF file that contains the table you want to import.

Adobe Acrobat is the go-to tool for handling PDFs. If you don’t have it, other PDF readers might not offer the same level of compatibility, so it’s worth getting.

Step 2: Select the table

Use the Selection tool to highlight the table you want to transfer.

Make sure you carefully highlight the entire table to avoid missing any crucial data or formatting. Pay attention to any merged cells or special characters.

Step 3: Copy the table

Right-click on the highlighted table and select “Copy.”

If you’re on a Mac, you might need to use Command+C. This step ensures you’ve got the table ready to paste elsewhere.

Step 4: Open Excel

Launch Microsoft Excel and open a new blank spreadsheet.

Excel is the destination for your table. A new blank sheet ensures there’s no pre-existing data to interfere with the import process.

Step 5: Paste the table

Click on the cell where you want to start your table and press Ctrl+V (or Command+V on Mac) to paste.

Ensure you click on the correct starting cell to maintain the table’s original layout. Sometimes, you might need to adjust the columns and rows afterward.

Step 6: Adjust formatting

Review the pasted table in Excel and make any necessary adjustments to the formatting and data.

You may need to tweak column widths, row heights, or even reformat numbers and dates. Don’t skip this step; it ensures your data looks clean and professional.

After completing these steps, your table from the PDF should now be perfectly imported into your Excel spreadsheet. Feel free to save the Excel file and use it as needed.

Tips for Importing Table from PDF to Excel

  • Use a good PDF reader: Adobe Acrobat is the best choice, but other tools like Foxit Reader can also help.

  • Check for OCR: If the PDF is a scanned image, make sure OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is enabled to convert the image to text.

  • Watch out for merged cells: Sometimes, tables in PDFs have merged cells that might not copy well. Be prepared to manually adjust these in Excel.

  • Review formatting: Always double-check the formatting once the table is in Excel to ensure data integrity.

  • Use Excel’s Data Tools: Excel has many tools to clean and format imported data, such as Text to Columns.

Frequently Asked Questions about Importing Table from PDF to Excel

Can I import a table from a scanned PDF?

Yes, but you’ll need to use OCR software to convert the scanned image into editable text first.

Do I need Adobe Acrobat Pro for this?

Adobe Acrobat Pro offers more features, but the basic version can often get the job done. There are also free alternatives like PDF-XChange Editor.

What if the table doesn’t paste correctly?

You might need to use Excel’s "Text to Columns" feature to fix any alignment issues.

Is there a way to automate this process?

Yes, you can use software like Tabula or online tools, but manual checks are still recommended.

Can I import multiple tables at once?

Yes, but it might be easier to import them one by one to maintain structure and accuracy.


  1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Select the table.
  3. Copy the table.
  4. Open Excel.
  5. Paste the table.
  6. Adjust formatting.


Importing a table from a PDF to Excel might seem daunting at first, but with these steps, it’s a breeze. The key is in the details—proper selection, accurate copying, and careful pasting go a long way. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you ever struggled.

Remember, the tools you use can make a significant difference. Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Excel are powerful allies in this task. Don’t forget to double-check your data for accuracy and formatting.

With practice, you’ll become a pro at converting PDF tables to Excel. If you’re looking to dive deeper into Excel or data manipulation, there are tons of resources out there to explore. Happy data wrangling!

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