How to Extract Data from PDF Manually and Automated

Summary :

Check out the best methods to extract data from PDF, and even implement automated data extraction from PDF.

Table of Contents

How to Extract Data from PDF

How to Extract Data from PDF

Extracting data from PDFs often involves challenges like fixed formatting, non-selectable text (especially in scanned documents), and the loss of data structure.

To overcome these, use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for scanned PDFs, specialized software for table extraction, and conversion tools for editable formats like Excel. Learn from this guide about 3 easy methods for this.

👉 To save time, download PDFgear for free, PDFgear is the best free PDF to Excel data extractor.

Extract Tables from PDF Using Tabula

Tabula is a free and open-source tool designed for extracting tables from PDFs. It allows users to manually select table regions for accurate extraction.

Ideal for converting PDF tables to Excel or CSV, Tabula is great for small-scale, manual tasks but less suited for large, automated extractions. Its main limitation is the inability to process OCR text from scanned documents.

To extract tables from a PDF using Tabula:

Step 1. Download and install Tabula from the official website, then launch it on your device.

Download and Install Tabula

Download and Install Tabula

Step 2. Click ‘Browse’ to select the PDF file you wish to extract data from. Click ‘Submit’ after choosing the file.

Click Browse in Tabula

Click Browse in Tabula

Step 3. The PDF will be rendered in the Tabula interface. Click Autodetect Tables or drag your mouse to select the table area you want to extract.

Autodetect Tables in Tabula

Autodetect Tables in Tabula

Step 4. After selecting, click ‘Preview & Export Extracted Data.’ Check the preview to ensure correct data extraction.

Preview and Export in Tabula

Preview and Export in Tabula

Step 5. Click ‘Export’ and choose your preferred format (CSV, TSV, JSON) to save the extracted table. Lastly, click ‘Save’.

Set Export Format in Tabula

Set Export Format in Tabula

Extract Data from PDF Using Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a robust tool for extracting data from PDFs, known for its precision and efficiency. It excels in handling diverse document types and is capable of converting PDFs into various editable formats. Ideal for professionals, it integrates advanced features like OCR for scanned documents.

However, it may be more complex and costly (the Pro subscription) for simple extraction tasks.

To extract tables from a PDF using Adobe Acrobat, follow these steps:

Step 1. Download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader on your device.

Step 2. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat DC. Go to ‘Tools’ and select ‘Export PDF.’

Click Export PDF in Adobe

Click Export PDF in Adobe

Step 3. Choose ‘Spreadsheet’ as your export format, and then select ‘Microsoft Excel Workbook.’

Export PDF in Adobe

Export PDF in Adobe

Step 4. Click on ‘Export.’ If your PDF contains scanned text, Acrobat will run text recognition automatically.

Step 5. Name your file and choose the location to save it.

Step 6. Click ‘Save.’ This process converts the entire PDF into an Excel file, including any tables.

Extract PDF Data to Excel Spreadsheet for Free

PDFgear is a full-featured PDF converter that allows you to extract PDF data by converting uneditable or scanned PDFs into editable document formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and TXT.

Powered by OCR technology, the PDFgear file conversions ensure the accuracy of that data pulling.

PDFgear is entirely free to use and it works on Windows, Mac, and iOS. Let’s get it and get started!

Free PDF Data Extractor

Free to extract tables and data from PDF and scanned documents into editable Microsoft Word, Excel, and TXT.

Step 1. Download PDFgear on your device and launch it when it’s installed.

Step 2. Head to the Convert from PDF toolbox and select PDF to Excel converter tool within.

PDFgear PDF to Excel

PDFgear PDF to Excel

Step 3. Click Add File to import one or more PDF files to extract at once.

Step 4. Specify the page ranges and output file folder, and click Convert to start the conversion.

Extract PDF Data to Excel

Extract PDF Data to Excel

Extract PDF Data Using AI

Today’s artificial intelligence significantly improves the efficiency of people working with documents, and even helps automate PDF data extraction. To extract data from PDFs using AI, these are the most reliable methods:

  • AI PDF Summarizers: Use an AI summarizer like PDFgear Chatbot to understand PDFs easily
  • Machine Learning-Based PDF Parsers: Tailored to understand complex layouts and extract data accordingly.
  • Document Understanding AI Services: Services like Google Cloud’s Document AI or Amazon Textract analyze document structure and content.
  • Custom AI Models: Build custom models with machine learning libraries (like TensorFlow or PyTorch) to extract specific data types.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) Tools: For extracting and analyzing textual data within PDFs.


Is it possible to extract emails from a scanned PDF?

Yes, it is possible to extract emails from scanned PDFs using OCR technology. OCR can convert the image-based text in scanned PDFs into editable and searchable text, which can then be used to find and extract email addresses.

How accurate is email extraction from PDF?

The accuracy depends on the quality of the PDF and the effectiveness of the extraction tool. High-quality, text-based PDFs generally yield better results, while scanned PDFs or those with complex layouts may result in lower accuracy.

Is it legal to extract emails from PDFs?

The legality of extracting emails from PDFs depends on the source of the PDFs and the intended use of the emails. It’s important to ensure that you have the right to access and use the information in the PDFs, especially for commercial purposes.


The choice of tool depends on the specific needs, such as the volume of data, the type of PDF (scanned or text-based), and the desired output format. Choose one according to your needs, and follow the guide to get started!

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