Adobe Acrobat: Copy a column of numbers into Excel

There is a nice, quick way to transfer numbers to Excel from an Adobe PDF file. First, however, you need to make sure it is not a scanned PDF. Also, this works best for just a few pages maximum. For larger documents, IDEA is extremely useful.

How to do this:

  1. Zoom in a lot
  2. Look at the numbers. If the lines are really smooth and clear, you’re good to go. The first image below represents the way it should look for this process to work. The second image probably won’t work.
  3. Zoom back out
  4. Select the “Select” tool
  5. With the mouse pointer at the top left corner of the column, hold down the ALT key. A dotted-line box should appear on the mouse pointer.
  6. With the ALT still held down, drag down and across the column to select all of the numbers.
  7. Go to Edit -> Copy or hit CTRL + C to copy the numbers.
  8. In Excel, select the destination cell and click Paste or hit CTRL + V. The numbers should now appear in the column.

BONUS: Use the OCR feature in Acrobat to possibly do this with a scanned PDF.

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