These days, PDF files are considered to be safe when you want to send information or data to a third party. There are many documents that are sent in PDF because it is convenient to create them and safe to send. Invoices, lists, finance and banking reports, and even scientific reports are created in PDF format. The problem arises, thought, when it is the time to extract the data from a PDF file. It takes time, lot of copying and pasting and a high chance of encountering errors. The only option then is to opt for PDF file conversion to Excel but even that needs to be done carefully as it can be as complex.


Things you should know in PDF file conversion to an Excel file document conversion

  • The conversion of PDF to Excel is necessary for extraction of data to enable editing or to avail a format that machine can read.
  • A computer encounters difficulties to read and detect PDF tables or for any table for that matter. Machines do not read the way human eye reads a certain document. A software algorithm comprises many logic steps.
  • There are three main challenges that can occur when an attempt is made to convert PDF files into Excel. First is to find the table position in a given document, second is finding the document outlines, third is to decipher the meaning of quotation marks in a number, then to find all its elements, then to find the parting that exists between units and number and finally, the separation that exists between numbers and labels.
  • There has been considerable research to understand these challenges and researchers have come up with three approaches to the problem, the computer vision, the Euristic and the machine learning approach. The first approach seeks to find the variations in a PDF table by identifying the text colour patterns. Second, tries to reduce the errors that may occur due to the distance and builds rectangular structure with varying sizes. The third approach tries to find the different characters and outlines in a document and then influences different rules of classification which is needed to rebuild the table. The bad news is that none of these methods have been perfect, as documents and their characteristics vary.
  • Yet, there is software such as Tabex that has managed to decipher PDF documents in such a way that it is able to do the conversion of PDF file conversion to an Excel file document rather easily and quickly.

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