On Adobe Acrobat on Windows there is a "select table" tool that allows me to select tables to cut and paste into Word. I would like to cut and paste tables from PDFs into OpennOffice on Ubuntu now, but there is not similar tool. Is there a way to make evince do this, or another program that does have this tool? I also looked at pdfedit and xpdf, but no success.


I would argue the industry standard for PDF tables extraction is Tabula



While this is not exactly what you ask for it may help to get the table data from the PDF that you can then format and use in other documents.

You can use the free Adobe Acrobat reader's text selection tool and the spreadsheet gnumeric, both of these applications can be installed from the repositories. For Adobe Acrobat Reader, just enable the partner repository in synaptic or software center.

Open your PDF with Acrobat Reader and copy the text in the table area with the text selection tool, this tool is available under Tools>select & Zoom menu, you can hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys on your keyboard when this tool is selected and you will have the ability to select blocks of text, it gives you good control over what is selected.

Start gnumeric, select a cell and click the paste button on the tool bar. you will be presented with the Text Import Configuration dialog, quite often you will not have to change much in this dialog, usually you want the original Data type set to Separated. Click the forward button and check your Separator, usually Space.

look below and see if the structure looks OK then you can select finish. gnumeric will neatly place the copied text into the spreadsheet recreating the table there for you,

The table can now be copied from gnumeric and pasted into your Openoffice.org writer document, or you can paste from gnumeric to calc first and then format, then it is a simple matter of copying and pasting the formatted calc table in writer.

If the tables are complex and have wrapped text in the headings then you can copy the headings first, individully or the whole row, paste them and fix them up in gnumeric then copy the data section and paste under the headings.

This may seem a bit long but it is much better than retyping the data or pasting text directly into a word processor that often times will need tedious editing to look good.

If you do not mind a bit-mapped table you can use the Snapshot tool in Adobe Acrobat Reader to Marquee select the table area and paste it into your word processor, on many occasions when you do not care about editing the table this will work.

  • 2
    It would be nice if the person who voted down the answer provided here leave a comment to state why they voted that way, note that we can not always provide exactly what the user ask for, what must be examined is if the answer has any use at all in providing a solution to the problem posed by the user.
    – Sabacon
    Jan 29 '11 at 1:09

You can also install Acroread in your system and have all the functions of the software on it.


In synaptic insert the next software sources:

deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu maverick partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu maverick partner

This can be done by opening "System/Administration/Synaptic Package Manager" (enter your password when required).

In synaptic go to Settings/Repositories and click the "Other software" tab and you will get a window like this:

enter image description here

Click the "Add" button and enter the software sources that I previously provided you, one line at once.

enter image description here

When finished, perform a refresh by clicking the "Reload" button or by dropping the next command in a terminal (NOTE: this command can only be done with Synaptic Package Manager closed)

sudo apt-get update

Then, again in synaptic, perform a search for "acroread" and mark it for install. Apply the changes and enjoy.

NOTE: If you opted to use the terminal to install, just add the repositories to the software sources, close synaptic and run the next in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install acroread
  • you don't need to do this any more, going into the software center will show you packages available in the partner repository. Click the Enable and away you go. Jan 28 '11 at 22:19
  • In which moment is my answer worth for a downvote? just because people think there is such a "easier way". Thank you anyway. Jan 29 '11 at 16:31

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