This tutorial is designed to assist you in using Able2Extract PDF Converter to turn a PDF table into a usable Excel spreadsheet.
After opening your document, the next step is to select the data you want to convert. Depending on the situation, you may want to convert the whole PDF or only a portion of it, say a table hidden in some text or an appendix chart.
There are a few different ways to select the data. First, you can just highlight the text you want with the mouse cursor. This option works best for small tables in the middle of text reports.
Another way to select the data is using the Edit menu. On the main menu, click on Edit and choose "Select All Pages," "Select All On Page" or "Select Page Range." The latter will prompt you to enter the page numbers you want to select.
Also, you can click on the "Select All" or "Select Area" button on the toolbar.
Once an area is selected, convert the data by clicking on the "Excel" button on the toolbar or, from the main menu, choose "File" and "Convert to Excel." Able2Extract will prompt you to select between two options, Automatic or Custom.
The Automatic option works great if the table is very clean and has the same simple structure throughout, much like the list of Bernie Madoff customers we tested.
Click the Automatic radio button and then the "Convert" button. After a few seconds of processing, Excel should automatically launch with your data ready to go. Make sure to save your file and get cracking on sorting and calculating.
When I typically use Able2Extract, the Automatic option isn't ideal. If you are converting different tables across pages, like we did with the list of D.C. housing violations, or if your table is a bit complex, the Custom option is the better choice. If you are unsure, give the Automatic option a quick try first. Conversion is quick enough to leave time for a second attempt.
With "Custom" selected, click "Convert." You will be prompted to choose between "Per Document" or "Per page/Section." The Per Document option sets up a consistent structure for all the highlighted text. The "Per Page" option allows you to set up different structures for different pages, which works best if you have completely different tables in the same PDF. Again, if you're unsure, start with the simpler "Per Document" option.
Either way, clicking the Calculate button will display vertical lines in the highlighted selection where Excel will create columns. A new toolbar also opens up to help with this process. Notice that "Columns" is highlighted under Active Mode on this new toolbar.
You can now manipulate these lines. Click the left mouse button to add a vertical line. Click and hold the left mouse button on a vertical line and you can slide the line left or right, or double click the line to remove it.
The horizontal lines indicate headers and footers. They can moved (right mouse click and hold) or deleted (double right mouse click), but no others can be added.
You can also manipulate row settings. That might be necessary if your table has rows with wrapped text, as in our test case with political appointments during the Clinton administration.
Click the "Enable" radio box under the Row heading on the new toolbar, then click the Calculate button. You will be prompted to select a column on which to base the rows. After you pick the column you want to use as a key, in this case preferably a non-wrapped text column, row lines will be added.
Now you can click "Rows" under "Active Mode" on the toolbar and manipulate the row lines the same way you did column lines. Click the left mouse button to add a horizontal line, click and hold on a horizontal line to slide the line up or down and double-click the line to remove it.
Once you have all the rows and columns lined up the way you want, click on the Excel button on the toolbar. You can also click the Convert button. After some quick processing, Excel should automatically launch with your data entered.