Microsoft has released a new update to the desktop version of its Microsoft Office office suite and has come with some significant improvements. In regards to Excel, the newly added function is possibly one of the most demanded by its users.
And it is that members of the Office Insider Fast testing program already have access to the ‘12905.20000’ compilation of Office for Windows desktops, which includes the option to import, update and analyze data from PDF documents.
To make use of this function, users only have to go to the ‘Data’ tab in Excel and, in the ‘Get Data’ menu, click on ‘From files’> ‘From PDF’.
It should be noted that Excel users already had (as an external complement to the program) the Power Query tool, which also recently allowed to extract data from a PDF file. But from now on it will be an integrated functionality in Office, and devoid of the security problems that have characterized Power Query.
Why is it important to be able to extract data from a PDF?
The PDF (Portable Document Format ) is a file format widely used due to its ability to display in various combinations of hardware and software without that modify the appearance and structure of the original document.
Thanks to this feature, probably today it is the most used format by companies and public institutions to publish press releases, reports, and studies.
The problem with PDFs is that, although it allows us to select the text contained in the file, it is not possible to extract the same data tables, because these, in the process of copying and pasting, end up losing their original order.
The importance of being able to extract data from PDFs led to the development of tools such as Tabula, an ‘open source’ software widely used by journalists and other data professionals who needed to work with this type of document.