We recently had a problem and found a neat solution to it.

Have you ever asked yourself if there was a better way to do something? We asked ourselves that recently when we received a PDF formatted transmittal document and needed to extract the file names and other related information from it. When we used a typical copy & paste from the PDF Reader to a text file or even tried saving the data as a text file from the PDF Reader, the text document we created did not retain the formatting in the PDF document and was a mess. Even if we dumped the data into Excel, it would have required many hours of meticulous selection of the data fields and using several of the text manipulation functions to get what we needed.

After doing a bit of research, we found a tool called XPDF at www.foolabs.com. XPDF is an open source viewer for Portable Document Format (PDF) files and allows you to extract data from a PDF file, write the data to a text file and retain most of the original formatting. This makes it easy to now select and copy the data to Excel where you can easily manipulate it as needed.

It worked well for us and we thought we would share this time saver with you. Try it out and let us know how you used it to save time working with PDF documents that contained data you needed to work with but could not get in Excel or other format from your vendors.

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