Converting Scanned .pdf Documents to Excel

You may have run across times when you have a sheet of paper with lots of numbers that you need in a spreadsheet.

The long way- hand type the numbers into a new spreadsheet. yuck!

The better way- scan the document (.pdf) and use OCR (optical character recognition) to pull out the numbers.

In my example, I have a Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Changes in Net Position from an audit.  But, I only a paper copy.

Step 1- Scan the  document. I use a copier with scanning capabilities.

Ideally, you want a copy that’s clean and straight. This will be important for the next step.

Step 2- Use an OCR conversion website. I prefer (Free Online OCR – convert scanned PDF and images to Word, JPEG to Word).

Step 3- Download the results in Excel:

Almost perfect! There is a little clean-up at this point, but it’s in pretty good shape.  Look at row 19. There are two lines in one cell. That’s easy to fix and beats hand typing.

Note that I took a .pdf and converted to Excel. But there are many other combinations. Your original could be .jpeg (for ex.), and your output may be Word, Excel, or even .txt.