I was recently asked to review a new piece of software that has just hit the market: PDF Converter Elite. The software enables you to take a regular PDF file and convert it into a wide variety of file formats: everything from Word and Excel file formats to HTML, Open Office, and even AutoCAD. It also includes functionality for taking any of those files and converting them into PDF files. So, it’s a PDF converter that converts both ways.
How Good is PDF Converter Elite?
However, the one aspect of this program that I was most interested in was the ability to take a PDF file and convert it into an Excel file. I have frequently encountered situations where I am presented with a large spreadsheet that has been saved as a PDF (and has upwards of 20 columns or more and thousands of lines), and I need to extract the data from the PDF in order to analyze or otherwise manipulate it. Typically, this involves a lot of copying and pasting and wasting a lot of time splicing or merging mis-pasted columns and correcting formatting problems. PDF Converter Elite claims to be able to make that process much cleaner and easier, so I was eager to put the software to the test.
Because I really wanted to test the functionality of the program, I found a large, publicly-available PDF file with a couple dozen columns and a couple thousand lines. This is what the file looked like before I loaded it into the PDF Converter software:
Then I loaded the PDF file into the PDF Converter software. The interface is pretty simple to use. You simply click the “Open” button and navigate to wherever the file is saved on your computer. The file will then load inside the program.
From here, you simply click the button at the top of the screen that corresponds to the type of file you need. One useful feature of this program is that it allows you a lot of flexibility over what data you are pulling out of the file. You have the option of converting the entire file, converting selected pages of the file, or simply converting a highlighted selection of a particular page. So, if you only need to convert the first 20 lines of page 1, you would simply click and highlight those rows and then select the “Select Area” option in the conversion settings. Once you are ready to go, click the yellow “Convert” button.
In my test, the conversion process was relatively fast. The processing time varies with the size of the file you are converting, but even with larger files, PDF Converter Elite processed the files within about 2-3 minutes. Additionally, as you can see in the screenshot below, the program did a pretty good job of separating all of the rows and columns properly and formatting the data in a way that it can be quickly used and analyzed.
One minor thing to note is that the program imports all of the data in the Text format, but it’s fairly easy to adjust the formatting on numeric columns. However, given the amount of time and frustration that this program will save you if you are handed a spreadsheet saved as a PDF, this is a small price to pay. I also tested its ability to convert PDF files into Word documents, and the results were also impressive. The program did a good job of preserving all of the formatting and tables within the original document and exporting them into Word. After the conversion, the original PDF file and the final Word document looked identical.
As far as cost goes, a single-issue license will cost you $99.95, but if you do a lot of work with PDFs, this program could be a significant time-saver.
Ease of Use: 10
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Note: No compensation was provided for this review. All opinions are my own and the result of my own, direct, personal use of the software.