Extract Data From a Scanned PDF?

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

Do you receive tons of paper documents, invoices, quotes, or receipts that you need to scan? Do you have to go through those scanned PDFs manually, looking for specific information, and add them to an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets?

Manual data entry like this one takes time and is a repetitive task that most employees don't enjoy doing.

The good news is that you can automate this process with emerging technologies like PDF parsers, optical character recognition, or artificial intelligence. And it won't cost you an arm and a leg!

Extracting data manually from scanned PDFs is a challenge

Scanned PDFs are digital versions of physical documents and are a convenient way to store data. However, they present several challenges when it comes to extracting data:

  • They are image-based, which means that the text is not selectable or searchable. This makes it difficult to extract data from the document automatically.
  • They may have poor image quality, which can make it difficult to recognize the text accurately. Poor image quality can result from various factors, such as low-quality scans or poor lighting.
  • They may have non-standard formatting, such as different fonts, sizes, and layouts. This can make it challenging to extract data accurately, as the data may be spread across different areas of the document.

The role of optical character recognition in PDF data extraction

OCR technology plays a big role in converting PDFs into editable text. It can recognize characters within a scanned document, including text, numbers, and handwriting.

This makes it possible to extract data from the document automatically, rather than relying on manual data extraction.

However, traditional OCR does come with some limitations. For example, it only converts data into plain text, which cannot be reused.

In recent years, OCR software has evolved and given rise to advanced OCR technologies such as AI OCR, Zonal OCR, and Dynamic OCR.

Modern OCR can easily recognize different letters, symbols, and fonts. It can also scan complex PDF files that contain tables and columns and have different layouts.

But what is the best tool for scanning PDFs?

With so many online tools available on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right application for your needs.

You'd want to invest in a tool that can:

  • Support any format and layout
  • Handle large amounts of data
  • Extract table data without losing its original formatting
  • Send that data to any other application in real time

Parseur: The best way to extract data from scanned PDFs

Parseur has advanced capabilities in terms of OCR technology as it is integrated with both Zonal and Dynamic OCR. You can either use the built-in library of templates for your industry or create a custom one using Parseur's AI-assisted templates.

How do I extract data from a scanned PDF to Excel?

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Here's how Parseur works to extract data from scanned PDFs:

Step 1: Upload the scanned PDF directly to the Parseur app. If you have those documents in your email, forward them to Parseur.

We also recommend that you create an auto-forwarding rule so that you don't have to send those PDF files manually.

Step 2: Depending on your use case real estate, food ordering, job search, the scanned document will be processed automatically. If it contains tabular data, Parseur can easily extract data from tables

You can also create a custom template with the ready-made fields provided.

Step 3: Download the scanned data in Excel format or use the native integrations Zapier, Make and Power automate to send data to other applications.

Using Zonal OCR and Dynamic OCR for data extraction

With Zonal OCR, specific data can be located more accurately in the document.

Dynamic OCR is one step further in that it can extract data that moves across a document or varies in size efficiently.

Compare AI OCR vs Zonal OCR vs Dynamic OCR

Manual data extraction from scanned PDFs can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. In contrast, automated data extraction using tools like Parseur can save time and reduce the risk of errors.

How do I extract text from a scanned PDF for free?

Parseur offers a free plan with access to all features. Our paid plans are affordable compared to other PDF parsers, being three times less expensive.

How do I extract data from an image?

Right now, Parseur cannot process images. However, you can scan the image and send it to Parseur. Parseur uses computer vision technology to extract data with high accuracy.

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