Problem exporting or converting PDF to Excel - dates inconsistently and incorrectly recognized and formatted

As a rule, in my work, I'm converting PDFs which contain dates in the US English date format (for example, "01/11/2012" would be January 11, 2012). The PDFs are generally created outside my company, directly to PDF from spreadsheet programs. However, when I use "save as spreadsheet" in Adobe Pro 10, the dates come out formatted inconsistently and about 50% incorrect in the resulting Excel file.

If a day-of-the-month value is HIGHER THAN 12 (i.e. 04/22/2012 or 12/24/2010) Adobe recognizes and exports the date correctly as "mm/dd/yyy").

In the very same PDF conversion, Acrobat Pro 10 will behave differently when a numeric value for the day-of-the-month is 12 OR LESS. For example, a date appearing in the PDF as "01/11/2012" is January 11, 2012 in US English. However, it could be read as November 1, 2012 if another formatting set (dd/mm/yyyy) were applied. For some reason, Acrobat Pro 10 is deciding to selectively recognize and export just these dates (with day-of-the-month 12 or lower) to Excel with the number format "Armenian, dd/mm/yyyy." (Yes, Armenian!) Although the appearance is the same as in the original PDF (01/11/2012), the actual underlying date value in Excel is wrong for US English. Reformatting the cell to "US English, mm/dd/yyy" of course does not change the underlying date. It simply causes a reversal of the displayed numbers to 11/01/2012. This makes it impossible to rely on these dates for sorting, filtering or any other processing in Excel.

The result is that in any given exported Excel document created by "save as spreadsheet," the date formatting will vary between these two formats, and about half will have an incorrect date value. I handle a lot of data processing and converting from one format to another. It seemed a great new feature to be able to export directly to Excel as a single worksheet from Acrobat Pro 10 -- but unfortunately this date issue kind of kills the beauty. [Not to mention the hazard for anyone who is not aware of this quirk, and who intends to rely on the data exported to Excel from a PDF.]

Is there a solution to this issue? There seems to be no way to influence the number/date formatting for the Excel output within the Acrobat Pro 10 settings. (At least, I haven't found any yet!) Although there are workarounds -- such as copying the Excel file into Word and then reimporting it; or even manually reformatting individual cells and re-typing all incorrect dates in Excel, this really should not be necessary.

Ellen Pundyk

4 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Yes..You are right. This seems to be a bug in Acrobat. AFAIK there is no solution to this. Sorry.

By Deepak Jeswani   

Still a bug in Acrobat Pro XI :-(

Jim Cuthbert   

And after experimentation, Save to Excel spreadsheet is much worse in in XI than in X. Same file is structurally perfect exported from X (albeit with Armenian date formats), and a mess in XI.

I've uninstalled the XI trial, and reinstalled X.

Jim Cuthbert   

What a pain. I tried every thing I could think of. I don't know how to map .xml data so I didn't try that. The Word method is so far the best work around. For an expensive software I find this completely unacceptable.

Kathy Franklin   

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