Best software to copy/paste a grid in a pdf to a grid in excel

Basically what the title says. I have a pdf for which the source files are unattainable, and in the pdf is a grid, a list of factors really with column and row headers. And what i’d really love to NOT have to do, is to manually enter all of the factors into a grid in excel. So i’m wondering if adobe or some other OCR software is out there which can be used to help copy/paste from a pdf into an excel grid. Could save me a lot of time.

till all are one,


Can the PDF recognize that it’s a table?

Try right click and see if you can copy with formatting.

At a guess, someone with a licensed copy of adobe could get at the data. See if your graphics department can do it.

There’s a weird thing where sometimes I can copy text from a PDF, paste it into a text editor (notepad), then copying from there and then pasting into excel allows you to past a table with the data wizard thing:
Cntl+V to paste
Cntl to open paste options menu
‘U’ to use the wizard
‘Finish’…usually…sometimes you may want to go through the actual wizard prompts.

This doesn’t always work though, and I don’t know how to tell ahead of time when it will/won’t work.

Might just do a “copy/paste” of the table directly.

If the values don’t separate into cells horizontally, use Text-to-Columns function within Excel to get that.

My experience copying from PDF is that it reads the numbers and puts all of them in a single cell.

Doesn’t Excel for Android have a feature now where you can take a picture of something and it will import the data into a table? Maybe that would work.

My experience has also been that a row of numbers copied from a PDF are pasted into a single cell.

But text-to-columns is a good follow up to get things where they should be.

It only gets problematic if you’re trying to also carry over column labels. But that’s something that could be done “manually” as well.

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Yeah, I usually take a screenshot, drop it into OneNote, and then use “Copy Text from Picture”

But as many say above, it usually either pastes it all into one cell… or all into one column

If you right click and see “Copy with Formatting”, it’ll paste into Excel with distinct cells. Not sure if this comes with the free Adobe though.

Copy with formatting does not appear to be availabe in the paid version of Acrobat DC. Maybe that’s a Pro only feature.

Yes, I believe its a pro version feature.

I have had some success copying a table and pasting into Word first and then copying the table from Word to Excel.

I use tabula:

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Ah, thanks for the rec – this is relevant to my interests.

In particular, I was sent this PDF link:

…what I really want is this in flatfile format (aka one table), but I haven’t found out how to do this extract myself on the CA website…

“Copy,” then “Edit” “Special” “Unicode Text”
Then, parse.

Might be easier to ask someone in the cdph for a flat file.

Yeah, that’s my plan, but it can wait til January.

Toss it in Tabula (link in a prior post), select the first table, click the “repeat this section” button (to repeat the selection on each page), click “Preview and Export Selected Data”, switch it to the “Lattice” method on the next page, and then export the CSV. You’ll have to clean it up a bit and possibly add page titles, but it gets you 90% of the way there.

Unfortunately, this forum doesn’t allow CSV uploads, otherwise it would be attached to this message.

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This is fabulous – I have a bunch of PDFs I can use this on…