Converting PDF to Excel. OMG! Several of my clients have needed critical information that was locked in a PDF file. Maybe they wanted to sort thousands of entries by zip code, # of employees, square-footage or by industry.

No-can-do in a PDF!

There are lots of PDF to Excel converters available and that’s the good news. Yes! You can get the information out. And do it quite easily. The bad news: none are perfect. They often output a mess. But at least the mess is editable.

I use several converters and use them all when converting a PDF for the first time. From there, I determine which one can be manipulated most directly into a usable Excel format, given my client’s needs. And that’s when the real work begins. Then you’re using


and other functions in Excel to flag, move and parse the data into useful condition.

So, be wary if you go looking around at PDF converters. Don’t expect any single one to consistently output a pristine document.

Go forth people and keep that data clean!!!!

* The Flash Fill enhancement in Excel 15 will make this much easier.