How to improve PDF data extraction software strategy

We’re going to give you some practical insights and advice on how your company can build a winning strategy for implementing PDF data extraction software.

PDF data extraction software

Your PDF data extraction software is useless without proper integration

Without the right tools and approach, data extraction can be difficult and expensive enough on its own. Once you have everything you need to capture document data efficiently and cost-effectively, all that data is worthless until you integrate it into your business systems.

PDF data extraction software

The PDF, or the Portable Document Format, is a widely-utilized digital file format used by companies and individuals worldwide as a means of exchanging information. A PDF may contain text, graphs, photographs, or images – virtually anything you can imagine – and PDFs are not limited to one form or even a select set of forms. It has become a general standard in the realm of file extensions, although it can certainly be a time-consuming process to manually scour each document for the information you need. 

Because of the PDF’s versatility and accessibility in nearly every global industry, it can be challenging and time-consuming to extract the information you want from a document. If your organization processes hundreds or thousands of documents daily, this challenge becomes even greater. But it does not have to be an insurmountable obstacle; PDF data extraction software can help collect and organize pertinent information for your company’s applications.

Be wary of online blogs touting the best PDF data extraction software; while there are a number of data extraction tools you can use, the “best” program for one company or industry may not adequately suit your company’s needs or expectations. Many tools – especially free-to-use file converters or file scrapers – are imperfect, especially if the PDFs you are working with include handwritten text, faxed or scanned documents, or any information that might be difficult for the software to read easily. 

If you want to know how to convert PDF to Excel offline, simply access the file by opening it in Adobe Acrobat DC, and under the “tools” section of the drop-down menu, you should see a handful of options to export your file as a spreadsheet among others. For companies looking to extract data from hundreds or thousands of documents, data-capture software is more likely your safer bet. 

PDF data extractor

Companies struggling to keep up with lost invoices, duplicate or missed payments from vendors, or any other issues with invoicing communications, could likely benefit from a scalable data capture system. To harvest data or information from your PDFs, your business can utilize a PDF data extractor or PDF scraper. Rossum utilizes an Intelligent Document Processing platform that is capable of managing automatic data extraction. 

Prior to contemporary data extraction technologies, companies hired individuals to perform their data entry operations manually. While this process was costly, time-consuming, and inefficient due to the likelihood of human error, it has been the standard for numerous organizations since before the turn of the millennium. 

PDF data extractors essentially do the monotonous work of data entry without relying on costly human labor. Extraction tools or software can digitally scan any PDF and extract the relevant data. Once the data is extracted, it can be analyzed or entered into the company’s appropriate system fields. Enhance this process further by automating the data extraction. 

Automation interprets the data of the original PDF as it extracts the information and imports it into a business system without human oversight. Higher-end automated PDF extraction systems can also rely on deep learning, enabling the entire process to continuously improve with each subsequent iteration.

For businesses handling much higher volumes of PDFs, utilizing automated tools (or relying on programming or software) can be a sensible approach to streamlining your organization’s processes – while reducing human error and costs associated with manual entry labor and training.

In summation, there are a handful of different PDF data extraction methods, each with its own set of positives and limitations:

  • Manual data entry
  • PDF data extractors
  • Automated data extractors
  • Programmatic PDF data extraction
  • PDF data extraction software.

Data extraction from unstructured PDFs

Many businesses would like to be able to automatically, and quickly extract data from PDFs online. However, it is more difficult than it sounds. Human beings are able to interpret data or information from a visual graph or chart because of the structured nature of the graph. X- and Y-axes divulge information like quantity and duration, for example. 

Tables also rely on their structure for viewers to make sense of them; data is aligned in specific corresponding rows and columns. Without these structural scaffoldings, even the most intelligent beings would struggle to extrapolate their meaning. Similarly, data extraction from unstructured PDFs can pose quite a challenge for traditional extraction methods. 

If a client or vendor is unable to submit an invoice using standardized formatting, they might send their document as an unstructured file type – a scanned document or an image, perhaps. Although this may not be ideal, it does not mean that the file’s data is inaccessible or cannot be captured. Rossum’s use of deep learning and cognitive data capture means that machines can “learn” to assess and understand unstructured files the way a human might.

Although the process of data extraction from unstructured PDFs can be complex, it is far less complicated than attempting to manage several such documents without the assistance of deep learning capabilities.

Using a PDF data extractor to Excel formatting is one of many ways you can convert data into a more usable application. For smaller businesses or businesses that don’t deal with such high volumes of PDFs, manual data entry may be sufficient for converting your files. For larger entities, and especially for corporations handling countless files, investing in optical character recognition software (OCR) may be the more prudent and cost-effective route to take.

PDF to Excel OCR

You too can learn how to convert PDF to Excel without losing formatting with the aid of OCR. PDF to Excel OCR technology enables your organization to save time and energy by extracting valuable information into a readable spreadsheet. The entire exercise is fairly straightforward:

  1. Upload your PDF(s) to the data extraction platform
  2. Verify all data fields have been correctly assigned
  3. Download the PDF(s) in their desired CSV format
  4. Evaluate the (CSV) Excel file.

This process is particularly helpful for businesses hoping to optimize their accounts payable procedures as they relate to invoicing data. However, even invoices can differ broadly based on the parties involved and the services being paid for. Conversion programs work most efficiently when the data is structured similarly, or ideally, identically.

For smaller organizations, there are dozens of free converters online that can transmute your PDFs into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. A single user can accomplish this in mere minutes, but would not be a sustainable practice for larger firms handling much greater volumes of invoices or other documents. Larger organizations dealing with greater volumes of documents would likely see more success working with an automated process that relies on deep learning.

Automated data extraction from PDF

Automated data extraction from PDF sources is suitable for organizations dealing with hundreds or thousands of PDFs on a regular basis. Automated data capture is one of the most efficient and cost-friendly methods for collecting PDF data. If your business is looking to make the transition from manual to automated data extraction, you can potentially improve vendor relationships and turnover, reduce issues like invoice fraud, and increase employee satisfaction as well.

But before you decide whether or not your organization could benefit from automated data extraction methods, it’s important to understand your present data capture process. Assessing your current situation is a crucial step toward identifying aspects of your process that could be improved upon, eliminated, or replaced. 

If your company processes PDFs with several different layouts or formats, an automated data extraction initiative may be the solution for you – especially an automated process that utilizes deep learning or artificial intelligence that can learn to read unstructured documents. 

Preferably, your data extraction solution can manage your intake and collect all of the relevant information while omitting any extraneous information. Ultimately, making the switch from manual data extraction to an automated process can save your organization countless hours and dollars, and improve employee morale.

Best data extraction software

As previously alluded to, the best data extraction software is going to depend upon a variety of factors about your organization and what your company’s specific goals are. For individuals and smaller enterprises that don’t handle scores of PDFs from day to day, the best free data extraction software is accessible online with a quick query. For example, you can extract data from PDF to excel online for no cost by accessing the Adobe website. 

Rossum offers a variety of paths forward in the realm of optimized and automated data extraction software. By utilizing intelligent document processing, Rossum can empower businesses to make great strides toward optimizing their document processing capabilities – especially in regard to accounts payable systems and invoice processing automation

Once you have a firm understanding of your company’s current invoice and other document processing capabilities, you can more easily determine a solution that works best for you. Whether it’s a top-down revamping of your whole system or figuring out a way to make one or two data extraction tools work to suit your needs, there’s likely room for your organization to make improvements and streamline its process.

How your business extracts data from PDFs and other files is entirely up to you; however, there are dozens of free and affordable options that can make the process easier and more manageable.

Say hello to the future of PDF data extraction software

Make a quantum leap in your document processing approach. Boost accuracy and effectiveness with an AI-powered PDF data extraction software for all documents.