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Automatically Extract Data in PDF Forms with PDFelement 6 Pro

Explore how PDFelement 6 Pro allows you to do so much more with PDFs, such as extracting data from multiple forms.


Do you have a desk full of paper forms that need to be filled-up, scanned, saved, and emailed? Do you also need to automatically extract all data? Or do you have actual PDF forms that you must print, fill-up, scan, save, and email! Clearly, you don't have it easy, and the monotonous work may also be boring and repetitive.

Our review product, PDFelement 6 Pro can change your life for the better. Even if you do not have to fill in too many forms, you will find that PDFelement 6 Pro brings forth a fundamental change in the way you approach filling, saving, and sharing forms.

PDFelement 6 Pro is from Wondershare, a company based in Guangdong, China that specializes in PDF, video, and graphic solutions. You can download a trial version of PDFelement 6 Pro from their site.

Follow these steps to see a quick walkthrough of using PDFelement 6 Pro:

  1. Download the trial version or purchase a licensed version of PDFelement 6 Pro, and run the install program, as shown in Figure 1, below.

    Install PDFelement 6 Pro for Windows
    Figure 1: Install PDFelement 6 Pro for Windows
  2. Once you finish installing, you can now run PDFelement Pro 6. You will see the interface shown in Figure 2.

    PDFelement 6 Pro interface
    Figure 2: PDFelement 6 Pro interface
  3. We will use PDFelement 6 Pro’s form data extraction feature. We clicked the Open File option, highlighted in red within Figure 2 above. We then opened a scanned form as you can see in Figure 3, below. Do note that PDFelement 6 Pro is smart enough to recognize that we opened a scanned PDF because it offers to perform an OCR for us (see area highlighted in red within Figure 3).

    PDFelement 6 Pro offers to do an OCR
    Figure 3: PDFelement 6 Pro offers to do an OCR
  4. What is OCR?

    OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. In simple terms, this converts a picture of some text into real, editable text!
  5. For now, though, we will access the Form tab of the Ribbon and click the Data Extraction button, shown highlighted in red within Figure 4, below. If this is the first time you are using this option, PDFelement 6 Pro may prompt you to download the OCR component. Go ahead and follow the instructions to download and install this component.

    Data Extraction
    Figure 4: Data Extraction
  6. Now PDFelement will prompt you whether you want to extract data from the PDF form fields or a scanned PDF (see Figure 5). We chose the latter option.

    Select a data extraction source
    Figure 5: Select a data extraction source
  7. PDFelement 6 Pro now prompts you to draw out specific areas for extraction, as shown in Figure 6, below.

    Draw specific areas
    Figure 6: Draw specific areas
  8. Next, you can draw an area that represents a data field. Once you draw, you see the Properties panel that allows you to name and fine-tune the field (see Figure 7). Remember that PDFelement 6 Pro will extract data from these fields into a spreadsheet file.

    Identify data fields
    Figure 7: Identify data fields
  9. Once you have identified fields, you should save these settings. To do so, click the Save Setting option, highlighted in red within Figure 8, below.

    Save settings to identify data fields
    Figure 8: Save settings to identify data fields
  10. PDFelement 6 Pro will prompt you to provide a name to this custom configuration (see Figure 9).

    Save settings as a custom configuration
    Figure 9: Save settings as a custom configuration
  11. Now you will get back to the previous interface. Click the Yes option, highlighted in green within Figure 8, shown previously on this page. This action will bring up the Batch Process dialog box that you see in Figure 10, below. Click the Add Files… option, highlighted in red within Figure 10.

    Batch process your data extraction
    Figure 10: Batch process your data extraction
  12. Add more scanned PDFs that have the same data fields. We added another PDF, as you can see in Figure 11, below.

    Add more scanned PDFs to the batch
    Figure 11: Add more scanned PDFs to the batch
  13. Now PDFelement 6 Pro will recognize and extract text and save the results within a CSV file that you can open in Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program (see Figure 12, below).

    Extracted data opened in Excel
    Figure 12: Extracted data opened in Excel

We just explored only the tip of the iceberg; PDFelement 6 Pro is replete with many such abilities that make it a great addition to your PDF workflows. Here are some of them:

  1. Easily Create Fillable PDF Forms: As explored in this review partially, PDFelement 6 Pro's powerful new form recognition turns any non-fillable form made in Word, Excel or other Office applications into a fillable, editable PDF with just one click.
  2. Export Data from Scanned PDFs: Using OCR technology, convert piles of paper documents into analysis-friendly Office files.
  3. Text Editing: You can edit any PDF like you are working in a Microsoft Word document without losing fonts and formatting.

For what it does, PDFelement 6 Pro is an amazing piece of software that lets you create high-quality PDFs that you can open in any PDF-capable program. You can use PDFelement 6 Pro as a complete toolkit that lets you create, edit, convert, and sign your PDFs.

PDFelement 6 Pro costs $99.95, and the Standard edition costs $59.95. Volume licensing options are also available. At this price point, PDFelement 6 Pro provides a fabulous price: performance ratio as far as your RoI is concerned. Support is available via email and an online forum.

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