Frequently Asked Questions

General

Who makes PDFTables?

It's made by The Sensible Code Company. We're a data science company based in the United Kingdom. We also make other products like QuickCode, and offer related data engineering services.

How does PDFTables work?

When we convert a PDF to a spreadsheet, we use an algorithm which examines the structures in the PDF. It understands the spacing between items to identify the rows and columns, much as your eye does when you scan a page. It is designed to work reliably with large quantities of data.

Does PDFTables do OCR?

Most PDFs are generated by applications these days, and so contain text. PDFTables actually reads this text, which means it interprets the individual characters with complete accuracy.

However, some PDFs are scanned documents, or only contain images. PDFTables doesn't perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to turn these images into text.

To process these kinds of documents, you will need to either enable OCR in your scanning software, or run the PDF through specialist OCR software before using PDFTables. For example, if you have Acrobat Pro, use the “Recognize as Text” command, which can be found in the Tools tab, resave the PDF.

What output formats are supported?

You can convert your PDF to Microsoft Excel (XLSX) format, Comma Separated Values (CSV) format and in an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) format. A PDF converted to an XML file will contain HTML-style tables.

Software as a Service

What is PDFTables.com?

Most of our customers use PDFTables via the PDFTables.com cloud service, and allows you to convert documents without downloading any software. There is also a separate On-Premises version available for enterprise users.

How is it licensed?

We provide some pages for free (detailed below), but if you need to convert more pages, you can buy page credits from our pricing page with a credit card.

Any page credits you purchase will be valid for one year from the date of purchase. Any page credits left over after that year will expire, and will be removed from your total.

Alternatively, if you're looking to convert on an enterprise scale, please contact us for our enterprise plans. For legal information, check out our Terms & Conditions.

What do I get for free?

You can get 25 pages without an account. When you've used that up, you can get another 50 pages for free by joining — it's really quick, just needs your name, email and a password.

If you're an enterprise customer, please contact us about a free trial of our enterprise version.

What payment methods do you support?

We currently support Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, using Stripe as the payment provider. For enterprises, we will invoice you.

If this is not suitable for you, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Do you store credit card information?

Please see the Payments section on our Privacy & Security page.

How are pages counted?

PDFTables.com is priced, like photocopying, based on the number of pages in the document that you convert. You can see how many pages you have remaining at the top left of the site.

Screenshot of PDFTables page counter

Unused pages expire a year after you bought them.

If you have a document you are about to convert, you can open it in a PDF viewer like Adobe Acrobat to see how many pages it has.

We don't charge for pages which only have images on. A PDF document may have a layout where there are actually multiple document pages on a single PDF page, but we only charge per PDF page.

How fast is it?

We run lots of cores, which are scaled depending on the current load. Each core can process roughly 3 pages per second, but this depends on the individual PDF pages, such as their layout, how many images there are, the size of the text, and many other factors.

When the cores are not as busy, the pages will be converted “in parallel”, which means that the cores can process up to 12 pages per second.

If you need dedicated capacity to guarantee fast per-page processing speeds or lower latency, please contact us.

How good is your uptime?

Our uptime is very good. You can see our historical uptimes as checked by independent third party Pingdom.

How do you protect the privacy of my data?

Please see the Data Privacy section on our Privacy & Security page.

Do you give my data to advertisers?

Please see the Advertising section on our Privacy & Security page.

Enterprise

What is PDFTables for Enterprise?

It's an annual rollover license to use PDFTables if you need:

  • to convert large volumes of PDFs or
  • to keep data on your own network or
  • a Service Level Agreement

You can read more about it on the PDFTables for Enterprise page.

Can I host PDFTables on my own network?

Yes, we also offer an on-premises edition of PDFTables for Enterprise, if you don't wish to use it in the cloud. For details, read about on the On-Premises Edition page.

What is your Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

We are able to provide SLAs for our enterprise customers, please contact us if you'd like to discuss this further. .

Will you sign a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

We are happy to sign NDAs with our enterprise customers, so please contact us if this a requirement.

Developers

Do you have a PDF to Excel API?

Yes, we do offer an API. You'll need a free account to get your API key. If you'd like to use it, check out our documentation.

How much does your API cost?

Our API is free to use, so long as you have a free account and page credits (you get 50 pages for free when you sign up). If you run out of pages, you can purchase more from our pricing page.

When I run the VBA macro, it says 'Invalid API key'

This means your API key hasn't been added to the macro, or you don't have the correct API key.

In Excel, open the macro in the VBA code editor (Step 5 of the VBA API walkthrough), and find this line: Private Function pdftables_key().

  • If the pdftables_key parameter below is empty (i.e. pdftables_key = "") go to the API page, copy the API key and paste it between the "", then try running the macro again.
  • If the pdftables_key parameter below is not empty (i.e. pdftables_key = "ABCDEFG123") go to the API page and double check that you are using the correct API key. If not, copy and paste the correct key between the "", then try running the macro again.

If neither of the above options work, please contact us.

Technical

My column has been converted as text, and if I try to do calculations I get a #DIV/0 or #N/A error

PDFTables recognizes numbers with currency symbols and punctuation. Sometimes you can force your spreadsheet software to treat the cells as a number by selecting the cells and using “text-to-columns”, which can be found in the “Data” menu. For instructions on how to do this in Microsoft Excel, check out this guide: “Split names by using the Convert Text to Columns Wizard”.