How To Copy Tables From PDF Documents to MS Word Docs

Copying tables from PDF documents into Word documents is a common task that many people need to do. However, it can be tricky to copy the tables properly so that all the formatting remains intact. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through several methods for copying PDF tables into Word, based on my 10+ years of experience working with documents.

Why Copy PDF Tables into Word Docs?

There are a few key reasons you may need to copy tables from PDFs into Word docs:

  • To edit the contents of the table – PDF documents are difficult to edit. By copying the table into Word, you can easily make changes to the text, numbers, formatting, etc.
  • To reuse the table in other documents – By copying a PDF table into Word, you can then copy/paste it again into other Word docs, PowerPoints, etc.
  • To convert PDF documents into editable formats – If you need to edit other parts of the PDF as well, copying the tables over is one step in fully converting the PDF to an editable Word doc.

Methods for Copying PDF Tables into Word

There are several good options for getting those PDF tables into Word. Here are the top methods with pros and cons of each:

Use Microsoft Word’s Built-In PDF Converter

Recent versions of Microsoft Word have a handy built-in PDF converter. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open Word
  2. Click “File” > “Open”
  3. Browse and select the PDF file containing the table
  4. The PDF will open in Word. The conversion might take a few seconds
  5. Copy/paste the converted table into another Word doc

Pros: Simple, no additional software required

Cons: Formatting may change or get messed up. Won’t work on scanned PDFs.

Use Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro has excellent PDF conversion capabilities:

  1. Open the PDF file in Acrobat
  2. Click “File” > “Export To” > “Microsoft Word”
  3. Save the converted Word doc
  4. Open the Word file and copy/paste the table

Pros: Maintains formatting and handles scanned PDFs well

Cons: Requires paid Acrobat Pro subscription

Use a Dedicated Online PDF Converter

Many free online PDF converter tools provide table conversion options:

  1. Upload your PDF file to the tool’s website
  2. Choose “Word” for the output format
  3. Download the converted Word doc
  4. Copy/paste the table into your target Word document

Pros: Fast, free conversions. Good for one-off tasks.

Cons: Larger file uploads may require paid subscriptions. Formatting issues.

Extract Just the PDF Table Itself

Rather than convert the entire PDF, you can extract just the table itself:

  1. Upload your PDF to a tool like
  2. It will analyze and extract the table data
  3. Export the extracted table data to Excel or CSV
  4. Copy/paste from Excel into your Word doc

Pros: Good for complex tables. Gets just the table data.

Cons: Some loss of formatting. More steps involved.

Tips for Properly Formatting Copied PDF Tables

Once you’ve copied the PDF table data into Word, there are a few key things you can do to properly format the table:

  • Adjust column widths – Columns often get compressed when copying tables over. Widen them for better readability.
  • Check font type and sizes – PDF conversion can sometimes change fonts. Set them to match the style of your document.
  • Confirm number formats – Numbers may lose proper formatting. Re-apply numeric formats like currencies, percentages, etc.
  • Review merged cells – Spanning/merged cells sometimes don’t copy correctly. Double check.
  • Confirm borders and shading – Borders and cell background colors can shift or disappear. Reapply if needed.
  • Check text wrapping in cells – Text wrapping can get lost, causing words to overlap. Adjust cell wrapping.

Spending a little time tidying up the formatting goes a long way in maintaining the integrity of the table during the PDF conversion process.


Copying tables from PDF files into Word documents takes just a few simple steps, but getting the formatting right on complex tables can be tricky. The options covered in this guide should provide you with several good methods to get those PDF tables into Word cleanly. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions!