Getting info from a PDF into Excel

For the last few years, my company has offered high deductible HRA plans that require submission of explanation of benefit claims for reimbursement of costs incurred. I transfer info from the PDFs, amounts, names of providers, total costs of claims and enter them in Excel so I can reconcile costs and print a summary sheet of costs when I submit data. I have to believe there is a way to do this automatically as it takes a long time to do manually but haven’t quite figured it out. Hazel has some logic that probably works and rename a file with all info I need and then maybe create a text file of file names which then get dumped into Excel. It’s one way of thinking about it…hope I’m being clear but if I could solve this, it would probably save me 2 or 3 hours of manual labor since I batch process these every few months.

I was up past midnight doing almost exactly the same thing…It seems to me the bottleneck is always going to be extracting the data from the PDF, b/c providers use so many different formats. (Ironically I bet they are transmitting data to insurers in a standard machine-readable format, but that’s not exposed to the consumer…). If you’re getting consistent bills from the same providers it might be possible to scrape the PDF.

For the file list I have found File List Export to be worth the $5 , though I haven’t used it for this task.

I use Scanbot on iOS which semi-automates the file naming. It runs OCR and pulls out terms, and prompts with words you have previously used while naming a file.


PDF Pen Pro has an option to export to Excel. It is pretty accurate from my experience. You might still have to do manipulation to get the numbers in the right place.

I’m not sure if the process to open the file and export is a task for Automator, an AppleScript, or Hazel though.


Specific numbers need to be brought into Excel vs the entire PDF. It is going to take a bunch of trial and error to get it right. I haven’t yet been able to mess around with it yet but will report back.

Thank you! This works well. I just loaded an entire credit card statement into Excel in about 2 minutes.

The only manipulation I did was to select the data I wanted (omitting all the legalese, promotions, caveats, and general bankspeak), create a new document from selection, then exported that new document. Everything is in there as a table with no extraneous material or errors.

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You mean PDF pen pro solves this for you?