Frequently Asked Questions


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 TableBuilder, a privacy preserving technology that makes it safe to publish large confidential datasets.

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 to give you the best output from your PDF. We convert PDF to XLSX, PDF to CSV, PDF to XML and PDF to HTML.

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.

How do I update my login details?

If you'd like to change your password, please logout, go to the login page and click the 'Forgot Password' button. You'll then receive an email with a password reset link.

To change the email address assigned to your account, please contact us.

How do I delete my PDFTables account?

If you'd like to delete your PDFTables account, please contact us and one of our team will get back to you. When we delete your account, we will also remove you from our marketing mailing list. If you've made a purchase and would like to delete your payment credentials, please send an email to

How do I download the same document again if I accidentally close a window?

For 72 hours after conversion, you will be able to access your converted PDF to download again. Take note of the URL after conversion then head back to that URL. The link will also be in your browser history. For security reasons, we will delete all data that you have uploaded after 72 hours.

Which output formats are supported?

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

Which text formats are supported?

PDFTables only supports left-to-right text at the moment. We are hoping to take right-to-left text into consideration for future versions of the service.

Software as a Service

What is your usage policy?

You may use the software for internal purposes only, and in particular you may not sell the use of the software to any other person; provided, however, that you may permit access and use of the software by your customers in connection with your provision of services to your customers but you may not permit access and use of the software by your customers as a stand-alone product.

What is is a cloud service, and allows you to convert documents without downloading any software.

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 20 pages without an account. When you've used that up, you can get another 40 pages for free by joining — it's really quick, just needs your name, email and a password.

Which payment methods do you support?

We currently support Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, using Stripe as the payment provider.

Do you store credit card information?

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

How are pages counted? 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.

Will you sign a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA)?

We are happy to sign BAAs. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss this further.


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 40 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.


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”. uses cookies to provide a service and collect information about how you use our site. If you don't want us to collect information about your site behaviour, please go to our privacy page for more information. Read about our use of cookies.