You have many options for converting PDF files into Excel documents, depending on what software you already have, what the PDF contains, and what you expect as a finished product: everything from free Web-based tools to expensive pro tools and enterprise-level packages. Blue Label Software's PDF to Excel Converter falls somewhere in the middle, offering lots of speed and convenience, but at a significant cost, compared to the freeware.
PDF to Excel Converter's user interface is a nicely rendered variation on a common layout for tools of this type, with a tree view in a sidebar to the left of a file selecting list view, with a similar list view for batch jobs below. We looked for but couldn't find a Help file or even online instructions, but this tool isn't too hard to use: just browse to a folder, add one or more documents, and press Convert. After you've made your selections on the settings wizard, simply press Start. You can open finished files directly inside Excel from PDF to Excel Converter, too. Before we started, we reviewed the wizard's Properties and Security tabs. The Properties tab auto-formats cells by default, and we could also select automatic cell size or make manual choices. The Security tab let us set an optional user name and password combination to protect our workbooks. The captions and labels are clear, though a few terms didn't make the change from German to English (the two language choices).
We saw some bugginess with PDF to Excel Converter, especially in the PDF Viewer feature, which typically showed (Not Responding) when opening or closing; once or twice it took the program down with it when it crashed. But the converted files PDF to Excel Converter produced looked good, especially those best suited for converting to Excel documents, notably those with tables and lists. Others, like a camera manual we processed, are less useful, of course, but the program did a decent job on them. We always recommend trying free tools before buying shareware, and trying shareware before you buy it. That's the bottom line with PDF to Excel Converter, too.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of PDF to Excel Converter 2.4.