How to extract data from PDF files in 2023?

Portrait of Neha Gunnoo
by Neha Gunnoo
6 mins read
last updated on
extract data from pdf

In this article you'll learn how to automatically extract data from your PDFs in seconds using Parseur.

Have you ever tried scraping PDF data or extracting table data from a PDF manually? It is so challenging and time-consuming, particularly when dealing with large volumes of data. Fortunately, with the advancement of technology and the development of new tools and techniques, data extraction from PDF files has become faster and more accurate than ever before.

Let’s face it - PDFs aren’t going anywhere and those types of files are the most widely used in every organization. All of your data is contained in those documents, so it is essential that it is are extracted accurately.

Manual data extraction from PDFs

Manual data extraction is commonly done by reading the PDF file and copying the required information to a spreadsheet or database.

Issues with manual PDF data extraction:

  • The process is tedious as it requires significant attention to detail.
  • It is prone to human errors which can impact the data accuracy
  • You cannot edit the PDF data
  • If you are extracting data from tables, you lose the original formatting

Manually extracting data from documents is not a reliable method and it doesn't scale well, especially if you have large volumes of data to deal with.

Is there a better way to extract PDF data?

Definitely! This can be done through automated data extraction using:

  • PDF converters
  • PDF to table tools
  • PDF parsers

But first, what is automated data extraction?

An automated data extraction platform is a powerful tool for data extraction from PDF files, particularly when dealing with structured data. This method is faster and more efficient than manual data entry.

Automated data extraction requires less effort and resources and can be easily scaled to handle large volumes of data.

Automated data extraction is expected to reach $4.90 billion globally by 2027.

Online PDF converters

Online PDF converters are easy and convenient to use. You can convert a PDF file to a different format from anywhere with an internet connection, without needing to download any software.

Pros of PDF converters

  • They are categorized as go-to-easy online tools if you need to only convert few documents without specific requirements.

Cons of PDF converters

  • Online PDF converters convert PDF into Text only. They don’t create structured data.
  • The quality of the converted file may not be the greatest, and it may only sometimes preserve the formatting and layout of the original PDF file.
  • There are usually limitations on the file size that can be converted, which may be a problem if you have large PDF files.
  • Some online PDF converters may not be secure, and your files may be vulnerable to hackers or other security threats.

Examples of PDF converters

Small PDF, Adobe, iLovePDF, pdf2go

PDF to Table tools

PDF to table tools can save much time compared to manually copying and pasting data from a PDF file into a table format.

Pros of PDF to table tools

  • They have a simple interface to extract tabular data and can be integrated with other technologies as well.

Cons of PDF to table tools

  • They are limited in their functionality and may not support complex tables or other elements of the PDF file.
  • There is no flexibility as those tools will process the entire document and not specific zones.

Examples of PDF to table tools

Tabula, PDFtables, Excalibur

PDF parsing software

PDF parsers use advanced technologies and algorithms to extract data automatically. They are called intelligent document processing solutions as they can efficiently process PDF files with little or zero manual intervention.

Pros of PDF parsers

  • PDF parsers have a more flexible approach for data extraction.
  • They are integrated with advanced techniques such as OCR, NLP, and AI.

Cons of PDF parsers

  • Some PDF parsing tools require coding knowledge which can take a lot of time if you're not tech savy.

Examples of PDF parsers

Parseur, Docparser, Nanonets

Why should you invest in PDF parsing software?

As technology continues to advance, there are several emerging technologies and methods for data extraction from PDF files and PDF parsers remain one of the most reliable ones.

  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • Improved data accuracy and quality
  • Cost savings through reduced manual labor and errors
  • Improved decision-making through better data analysis and insights
  • Competitive advantage through faster and more accurate data extraction

Parseur: Best PDF parser in 2023

Parseur has a robust OCR (optical character recognition) engine integrated with ML (machine learning) and NLP (natural language processing) algorithms. Compared to other PDF parsing tools, Parseur has zero parsing rules and offers a point-and-click platform for PDF extraction.

Extract data from PDF today
Parseur is the best document processing tool to parse semi-structured documents, saving you countless hours of work.

Extract data from PDFs with Parseur

Building a custom PDF extractor can be done in 3 simple steps:

  1. Upload the PDF files directly to the Parseur app
  2. Create an OCR template
Automating data capture from documents in Parseur is as easy as point and click
  1. Download the PDF data or export it to another application

Zonal OCR and Dynamic OCR engines

We have thought of everything! We are well aware of how AI OCR can be a black box and sometimes, manual review is required also.

With Zonal OCR, you can easily locate specific “zones” in your document and extract data from those locations.

However, to counter the limitations of Zonal OCR, we went one step further and developed Dynamic OCR. If you have data fields that move across documents or vary in size, then this is for you!

Compare AI OCR vs Zonal OCR vs Dynamic OCR

Advanced table parsing

Whether you are in the financial services or food industry, there is no way that your documents won’t contain at least 1 single table. Extracting data from tables. shouldn’t be a challenge; in fact, with Parseur, table data are processed in a jiffy!

Export data to Excel, Google Sheets or other applications

Do you need to convert PDF to Excel? Or, PDF to Google Sheets? Then, look no further! Parseur provides quick formulas to send PDF data to those tools.

And, if you need advanced data manipulations, you can make use of our native integrations with Zapier, Power Automate or Make.

Watch our tutorial video below on how to send PDF data to Excel:

Examples of data extraction from PDF files

PDF data extraction has numerous applications across various industries and use cases.

  • A financial services company extracting data from invoices and receipts to automate their accounting process.
  • A healthcare provider extracting patient data from medical records to conduct research and improve patient lab results.
  • A legal firm extracting information from contracts to identify key terms and clauses for review and analysis.
  • A digital marketing agency extracting data from customer feedback forms/surveys to improve products and services.

By adopting data extraction from PDF files, businesses and organizations can gain valuable insights and make better decisions based on their data.

When dealing with entities that send lots of data in an unstructured way because they think a PDF is the end of their digitalization process, Parseur is a great tool to automate reading this PDF and converting its data into structured json and then from there you can send it to your endpoint.

—Konstantin , eTicketaBlanca

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