How to convert specific PDF pages to Excel with Python

PDF to Excel with Python header

In this tutorial, I’ll be showing you how to use Python to convert specific pages of PDF tables into Excel, with the PDF to Excel API.

As an example, we’ll be using the London Stock Exchange’s June 2017 Main Market Factsheet, and we’ll extract and convert pages 5 (New and Further Issues by Method) and 7 (Money Raised by Business Sector) into a multi-sheet .XLSX.

Here's what the end result will look like with the example PDF.

An example of a PDF to Excel conversion in Python

Before we start

In the previous tutorial (How to convert a PDF to Excel with Python), I showed you how to get the PDFTables Python library set up and running on your machine. If you haven’t already set up the library, I’d recommend reading that tutorial first.

Additionally, you'll need an API key and the PyPDF2 library installed, which you can do via the command line/terminal with the following command:

pip install pypdf2

Step 1

Create a new Python script, and add the following code:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import os
import sys
import pdftables_api
from PyPDF2 import PdfFileWriter, PdfFileReader

if len(sys.argv) < 3:
    command = os.path.basename(__file__)
    sys.exit('Usage: {} pdf-file page-number, ...'.format(command))

pdf_input_file = sys.argv[1];
pages_args = ",".join(sys.argv[2:]).replace(" ","")
pages_required = [int(p) for p in filter(None, pages_args.split(","))]

print("Converting pages: {}".format(str(pages_required)[1:-1]))

excel_output_file = pdf_input_file + '.xlsx'

pages_out_of_range = []
pdf_file_reader = PdfFileReader(open(pdf_input_file, 'rb'))
pdf_file_pages = pdf_file_reader.getNumPages()

for page_number in pages_required:
    if page_number < 1 or page_number > pdf_file_pages:

if len(pages_out_of_range) > 0:
    pages_str = str(pages_out_of_range)[1:-1]
    sys.exit('Error: page numbers out of range: {}'.format(pages_str))

pdf_writer_selected_pages = PdfFileWriter()

for page_number in pages_required:
    page = pdf_file_reader.getPage(page_number-1)

pdf_file_selected_pages = pdf_input_file + '.tmp'

with open(pdf_file_selected_pages, 'wb') as f:

c = pdftables_api.Client('my-api-key')
c.xlsx(pdf_file_selected_pages, excel_output_file)

Step 2

Replace my-api-key on the fourth last line (#43) with your PDFTables API key, which you can get on our PDF to Excel API page, then save your finished script as in the same directory as the PDF document you want to convert.

PDF and Python script in the conversion directory

Step 3

Navigate to your file in the command line/terminal and run the following:

python lsemainmarketfactsheet-june2017.pdf 5,7

The script will then print the following:

Converting pages: 5, 7

This means that the conversion was successful, and you’ll find your output XLSX in the same folder as the script and example PDF.

If you open the XLSX now, you’ll see that pages 5 and 7 have been converted and added to their own sheets!

Converted Excel spreadsheet in its directory