How to Convert PDF Spreadsheets to .XLS

By Dan Ketchum

Updated August 23, 2018

Virtually every tech-savvy office employee deals with both PDF and XLS file formats. The PDF file, developed by Adobe, strives to serve as a global standard for sharing information across computer platforms while Microsoft's XLS format, which contains spreadsheet data, opens in its Excel software. Although many office environments can open both file types, converting a PDF to an XLS format opens up editing possibilities not available in PDF editors. Free online conversion websites serve as the most accessible way to converting PDF files to the XLS format.

Save the PDF file you wish to convert to an accessible, easy-to-remember place on your computer, thumb drive or external hard drive.

Visit a free online PDF-to-XLS conversion website. As of March 2012, examples of these sites include – but are not limited to – PDF to Excel, PDFExcel and PDF Converter.

Click the “Choose File,” “Browse” or similarly named button to select the PDF file from its location on your computer or storage device. Double-click the PDF file to upload it to the conversion website.

Type your PDF password in the blank field provided by the conversion website if the PDF is password protected – only some conversion sites, such as PDF Convertor, support password-protected PDFs. Check the box or circle next to “Excel” or “XLS” if the conversion website offers multiple file-format conversion options.

Enter your email address in the blank field labeled with a phrase such as “Email address” or “Email Excel file to.” Click the “Convert to Excel,” “Send,” “Convert Your File” or similarly named button to convert and send the file.

Check your email for a message from the conversion website. Download the attached XLS file or follow the link contained in the email to download the file.


Some companies offer PDF-to-Excel conversion software, such as Investintech's Able2Extract PDF Converter and Cogniview's PDF2XL. Although these programs offer additional features such as conversion among varying file types, PDF creators and developer tools, they come at a cost and instructions for using them vary per product.