What is data extraction?

Portrait of Neha Gunnoo
by Neha Gunnoo
4 mins read
last updated on

What is data extraction?

Data extraction refers to retrieving information from unstructured data sources. With data extraction, data the data can be refined, stored, and further analyzed.

Data extraction is used throughout industries like healthcare, financial services, the tech industry, among others. Businesses can optimize their efficiency using data extraction to automate their manual processes.

A screen capture of etl infographic
ETL infographic

Data extraction and ETL

Data extraction is the first step in the ETL process. ETL stands for Extract, Transform, and Load, and it involves the 3 processes. The primary objective of ETL is to prepare data so that it can be loaded into a data warehouse, database, or directly into a business application. ETL is adaptable to any industry, including healthcare, SaaS, and retailers.

A screen capture of ETL processes
ETL processes

Difference between structured and unstructured data

Unstructured data includes data that lacks a defined structure whereas structured data is data that's already transformed into a well-defined data model.

Examples of unstructured data are e-commerce emails, confirmation orders, PDF invoices, and flight booking emails. CSV files, XML files, and JSON documents are considered structured data.

Read more about structured data vs. unstructured data

Data extraction vs. data mining

A screen capture of data mining
Source: Zapier - Data extraction vs. data mining

Data extraction and data mining are vital processes in analyzing a high volume of data, but they are not related.

Data extraction involves obtaining and collecting data, whereas data mining is the process of analyzing that data to uncover insights and patterns. Data extraction is a necessary step for data mining, but data mining involves more complex analysis and modeling techniques to derive value from the data.

Why is manual data extraction a headache?

Alright, picture this: you're sitting at your desk, drowning in a sea of paperwork like a confused penguin in a desert. That's pretty much what manual data extraction feels like!

Plus, there's nothing worse than accidentally pasting the wrong number and unleashing chaos in your reports! It's a pain in the ASCII!

Why is automatic data extraction your friend?

While manual data extraction feels like you're pushing a boulder to Park Guell, automatic data extraction is more like your trusty skateboard, making the journey a breeze.

With automatic data extraction, you can say goodbye to the copy-pasting, and hello to efficiency and accuracy. Imagine all the extra time you'll have to binge-watch your favorite shows or just chill with gelato.

So, if you want to upgrade your data game and free up your precious time for the fun stuff, automatic data extraction is the way to go.

Use cases of data extraction

Irrespective of the industry, data extraction has a significant impact on the way organizations do business. Data is the backbone of any business and those data are analyzed so that companies can make better decisions.

Financial services

Financial institutions rely heavily on data extraction to analyze market trends and make informed investment decisions. Data extraction tools can extract vast amounts of financial data from various sources, such as stock market websites, and news articles. This data can then be analyzed to identify patterns, predict market movements, and guide investment strategies. It's like having a crystal ball for the financial world.


With a data extraction tool, you can automatically extract data from your orders and export them to a Google Spreadsheet, for example or another order-fulfilling application.


Traditionally, doctors and nurses had to sift through mountains of paper files to find patient information. Now, with data extraction, medical facilities can automatically extract and organize patient data from handwritten notes, prescriptions, and lab reports.

Parseur: Best AI data extraction tool in 2024

Alright - now we are at the juicy part! Parseur is an AI tool that automates data extraction from any document. The AI parsing engine adapts to any kind of layout and will automatically parse any document instantly.

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Try out our powerful document processing tool for free.

Bernard Rooney, the Managing Director of Bond Healthcare, describes Parseur as "Parseur is a highly customisable product and has a solution for straightforward data extraction through to complex spreadsheets"

Automatic data extraction for the win!

Data extraction doesn't have to be complicated or boring. Remember - the right tool can turn even the most meh' data quest into an epic win. Be sure to invest in the right data extraction software (something like Parseur, maybe?) so that you can get the desired results.

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