How to Copy PDF Table to Excel: The 2024 Ultimate Guide

Copying a PDF table to Excel doesn’t have to be a headache. With the right tools and techniques, you can transfer data quickly and efficiently. Whether you’re working with financial reports, data analysis, or just organizing information, getting that table from a PDF into an Excel spreadsheet can save you time and hassle. Let’s dive into how to make this happen.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Copy PDF Table to Excel

Before we begin, it’s important to understand that this process will convert your PDF table into an editable Excel spreadsheet. This can be incredibly useful for data manipulation and analysis.

Step 1: Open the PDF file

Open the PDF file that contains the table you want to copy.

When you open the PDF file, make sure you’re using a program that allows you to select and copy text. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a popular choice, but there are also free alternatives available online.

Step 2: Select the table

Use your cursor to select the table you want to copy to Excel.

Be precise when selecting the table. If you accidentally include text outside of the table, it may not transfer correctly to Excel.

Step 3: Copy the table

Right-click on the selected table and choose ‘Copy’ or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C (Cmd+C on Mac).

Ensure that you’ve selected ‘Copy’ and not ‘Copy Image’ as we want to copy the text, not an image of the table.

Step 4: Open Excel

Open Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program that can open Excel files.

If you don’t have Excel, there are free alternatives like Google Sheets that work just as well for this process.

Step 5: Paste the table

In Excel, right-click on the cell where you want to place the top-left corner of the table and choose ‘Paste’ or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V (Cmd+V on Mac).

After pasting, you may need to adjust the formatting of the table. Sometimes, cells might merge or text might not align perfectly. Take a moment to tidy things up.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have your PDF table neatly organized in an Excel spreadsheet. From here, you can edit, analyze, or format the data as needed for your project.

Tips for Copying PDF Table to Excel

  • Use a PDF reader that allows text selection, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Be precise in selecting only the table, avoiding any surrounding text or images.
  • If the table doesn’t paste correctly, try using the ‘Paste Special’ option and select ‘Text’ to see if that helps.
  • For large or complex tables, consider using dedicated PDF to Excel conversion software.
  • After pasting, always double-check the data for any errors that may have occurred during the transfer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I copy a table from any PDF?

Yes, as long as the PDF isn’t locked or encrypted, you should be able to select and copy the table.

What if the table has merged cells or complex formatting?

You might need to do some manual adjustments after pasting into Excel to maintain the original formatting.

Is there a way to automate this process for multiple tables?

Yes, there are software options available that can batch convert multiple PDF tables to Excel.

Can I use this method with a scanned PDF?

It’s trickier with scanned PDFs, as they are essentially images. You would need OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to convert the image to selectable text first.

What if I don’t have Excel?

There are free alternatives like Google Sheets that can also open Excel files, and the copying process is similar.


  1. Open the PDF file.
  2. Select the table.
  3. Copy the table.
  4. Open Excel.
  5. Paste the table.


Copying a PDF table to Excel is a skill that comes in handy for anyone dealing with data. Whether you’re a student, professional, or just someone trying to organize information, knowing how to transfer data efficiently can save you time and effort. While the process can sometimes be challenging, especially with complex tables or scanned documents, the advancements in software and online tools have made it more accessible than ever. Remember, the key is to ensure that you select the table accurately, and don’t be afraid to use ‘Paste Special’ if the standard paste doesn’t work. With a little practice, you’ll be transferring tables like a pro.

For more advanced tasks, or if you’re dealing with a large number of tables, there are tools and software available that can automate the process, saving you even more time. It’s also comforting to know that there are alternatives to Excel if you don’t have access to the Microsoft Office suite, such as Google Sheets.

In the end, what matters most is the accuracy of your data. So, take the time to double-check your work after pasting. Make sure that the information is correct and that the formatting serves your needs. With this guide, copying a PDF table to Excel should be a breeze, allowing you to focus on the more important tasks at hand.

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