Hey everyone, for this blog I want to bring more awareness to a Microsoft Excel feature that allows you to extract data from images and pdfs.

In the desktop version of Excel, you can import data from pdfs. I am using a PDF I downloaded from this website for this example (even though there already is an option to download the table’s data).

The first step to extracting this data requires us to open up excel and look at the data menu on the top left.

Clicking Data will open up a new set of tools on the bar and the one we are interested in is on the left.

Click on Get Data. That will bring up a dropdown menu.

Left-clicking From File will open another dropdown which you can select From PDF. Then find your PDF.

After selecting your PDF file a menu will pop up that will let you select where in the PDF you want to import the data from. In my case, the table I wanted to import was Table001 (Page 2). I selected that and clicked on Load on the bottom right of the menu. Then the data was extracted from the PDF and imported into Excel.

Something I want to highlight about this method is that you might end up with improper column headers which you might notice in my example. You will have to manually edit these. So, is one way you can import data tables from PDFs.

There is also a way to extract data from images however, as I mentioned earlier it requires you to do this on a phone. A link to the tutorial can be found here. One issue I’ve found extracting data from images is that the table itself can be incorrectly formatted (more than the pdf method) so use it with caution.

This was my blog about bringing awareness to an Excel feature. Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

Leo Huynh
Author: Leo Huynh

Leo did a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Sydney. While studying at university, he developed an interest in data science and visualisation. He specifically appreciates how data can be used to inform decision making. During his free time, he enjoys playing video games, cooking, and listening to music. His favourite food is Bún bò Huế (Vietnamese rice noodle dish with sliced beef).