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Converting lengthy, complex tables from Word to Excel can make your life a whole lot easier. Microsoft Excel has powerful data analysis and management features, whether it is advanced calculations, pivot tables, or data visualization. Suddenly, handling large datasets becomes easier. Word is excellent for text operations, but let's be honest, it is not the right tool for data manipulation.

The DOCX to XLSX conversion process is easier for digital documents. You can copy-paste, use online tools, or deploy Word tables to Excel converters. However, when dealing with scanned documents, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology becomes necessary.

In this article, we'll explore various methods for converting Word tables to Excel, from simple copy-pasting techniques to powerful AI-OCR tools.

Word tables Word Table to Excel

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Automatically import scanned Word documents from email, cloud storage, or other tools. Extract table data and export it as a spreadsheet for downstream integration or further analysis. Nanonets advanced OCR ensures high accuracy and eliminates manual data entry.

Now, let's dive into the different methods to convert Word tables to Excel.

Method Best for Limitations
AI-powered OCR tools - Complex or numerous documents needing automation
- Extracting specific data fields
- Integration with other tools and platforms
- May require some initial setup and training of the AI model for specific document types and layouts
Copy and paste - Small tables
- Simple formatting
- Can lead to formatting issues with complex tables or merged cells
Save as text and import - Preserving basic text formats and delimiters - Requires manual data cleaning for documents with a lot of non-tabular content
PDF and Get Data - Importing multiple tables with original formatting - May not accurately recognize complex layouts or merged cells
Online conversion tools - Quick conversions without software installation - May not perfectly handle complex tables or preserve all formatting
- Privacy concerns for sensitive data
VBA Scripts and Macros - Efficiently converting multiple tables - Requires coding knowledge
- May not handle complex table structures or formatting perfectly
Python Libraries - Handling large volumes of documents or complex table structures - Requires programming knowledge and setup
- May need updates for changes in document structure or format

1. Employ AI-powered OCR tools to process Word tables in bulk

Manual methods and simple tools might not be enough when you want to simultaneously process complex tables or hundreds of documents.

Along with table extraction, you may need tools to identify, classify, and extract data at scale. This is where AI-powered automated tools come in.

Automate Word table extraction to Excel with Nanonets

If you're grappling with complex document automation, Nanonets is what you need. It seamlessly extracts data from even the most complicated tables.

Combining OCR and AI, Nanonets can effectively read, understand, and extract information from your documents. So, be it a bank statement, PO, customer order, or invoice — with different layouts, languages, currencies, line items, and column names — Nanonets can handle it all.

Automate Word table extraction to Excel with Nanonets
Automate Word table extraction to Excel with Nanonets

Here is how you can use Nanonets:

  1. Upload your Word file(s) to the platform
  2. The AI model will automatically extract the data from the tables in the file(s)
  3. Review and validate the extracted data for accuracy
  4. Download the data in your preferred format, such as .xlsx or .csv
  5. Export the extracted data to your desired software or tool

What’s more, every time you make a manual correction, the AI learns from that and improves its performance, producing more accurate results over time.

Import Word files from Gmail Process the tables using Nanonets Export Word tables to Excel

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Automate data entry with Nanonets. Accurately extract data from email attachments like scanned PDFs, images, and Word documents, validate it, and seamlessly export it to your business tools.

If you’re a finance assistant, accountant, or data analyst, getting the data you want in Excel is only half the battle. Often, you must process the data further, analyze it, send it for approval, or export it to other software. With Nanonets, you can extract the data and automate these downstream tasks.

Word Document import and export options available on Nanonets for table extraction
Document import and export options available on Nanonets

Sometimes, you may only need to extract specific data from a Word table and import it into Excel. For example, you might only need to extract customer names and email addresses from a sales report. Nanonets allows you to extract the required fields, saving time and effort selectively.

In addition to table extraction, Nanonets offers a range of features, such as document classification, key-value pair extraction, and more. It supports various file formats, including Word, PDF, JPEG, and PNG. You can also train custom AI models for your specific document types and layouts.

Nanonets offers powerful data import and export integrations, meaning you can conveniently move data between your preferred tools and platforms. It integrates with popular tools such as:

It also has a Zapier integration, enabling you to connect with thousands of other apps and services, automating many of the tasks in your workflow.

Nanonets' powerful AI engine and seamless integrations make it a comprehensive tool for document processing, especially when dealing with complex or large quantities of data.

With automated validation, built-in task assignment, and multi-stage approval workflows, you can ensure your data is accurately captured, processed, and approved. You can reduce manual errors, save time, maintain transparency, and improve compliance.

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Seamless data flow is just a step away.

Connect with over 5,000 apps via Zapier, APIs, and webhooks and automatically route data extracted from Word files to your business apps, eliminating manual data entry—no coding required.

2. Manually copy and paste Word tables to Excel

Copying and pasting is the most straightforward method to transfer your Word tables to Excel. While it may be time-consuming for larger tables, it's quick and efficient for smaller ones. Excel offers a few paste options to give you some control over what gets pasted.

Paste Special provides additional options for pasting the table as an object, picture, or text and the ability to create a link to the original Word table.
Paste Special provides additional options for pasting the table as an object, picture, or text and the ability to create a link to the original Word table.

To copy a table from Word to Excel, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Word document and locate the table you want to copy.
  2. Click at the beginning of the table, hold down your mouse button, and drag to the end of the table to select it.
  3. Right-click the selected area and choose 'Copy' from the context menu.
  4. Open Excel and place your cursor in the cell where you want the table to appear.
  5. Right-click and choose from the available paste options:
    • Match Destination Formatting: This option pastes the content of the Word table and matches the formatting of the destination Excel worksheet.
    • Keep Source Formatting: This option pastes the content of the Word table and retains the original formatting from the Word document.
  1. Alternatively, right-click and choose 'Paste Special' from the context menu for more options.
    1. In the Paste Special dialog box, you can paste the table as a Microsoft Word Document Object, Picture, HTML, Unicode Text, Text, or Hyperlink. You also have the option to display the pasted content as an icon.
    2. Select the ' Paste Link ' if you want to maintain a link to the original Word table. This ensures that any changes to the original Word table will be reflected in the Excel worksheet. The Paste Link options include Microsoft Word Document Object, Picture, HTML, Unicode Text, Text, and Hyperlink. You can also choose to display the linked content as an icon.
  2. Click 'OK' to paste the table into Excel.
  3. Adjust the column widths and row heights as needed.

To preserve formatting when copying a table from Word to Excel, use the 'Keep Source Formatting' paste option or experiment with the settings in the 'Paste Special' dialog box. It provides additional options for pasting the table as an object, picture, or text and the ability to create a link to the original Word table. This can be useful if you need to maintain a connection between the Excel worksheet and the Word document.

However, the manual copy-and-paste approach may not be feasible or effective when working with scanned documents. Scanned documents are typically images, and the data within the tables is not recognized as text that can be easily copied and pasted. When manually re-entering data from a scanned table into Excel, you may encounter issues such as the inability to select and copy text, formatting problems, and potential inaccuracies.

Furthermore, the manual copy-and-paste method is unsuitable for bulk processing multiple Word documents or tables. If you have many Word documents containing tables that need to be transferred to Excel, copying and pasting each table individually can be extremely time-consuming and inefficient.

Upgrade your Word to Excel workflow

Upgrade your Word to Excel workflow

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3. Save the Word document as a .txt file and open it in Excel

Another way to export a Word table to Excel is by saving the Word document containing the table as a .txt file and then importing it into Excel.

It gives you the freedom to choose the column data format and delimiters. So basic formatting like number, date, and text formats can be retained. 

Save your Word tables as text files and then open them in Excel.
Save your Word documents as text files and then open them in Excel.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Open the Word document and locate the table you want to convert. Select the whole table.
  2. Click on the layout tab, then click 'Convert to Text'. In the dialog box that pops up, select the delimiter you want and click 'OK'.
  3. Save the document as a .txt file by clicking on 'File', then 'Save As', and choose 'Plain Text (.txt)' from the drop-down menu.
  4. Open Excel, click 'File', then 'Open', and locate the .txt file you saved. An import wizard will pop up.
  5. Follow the import wizard's instructions: select 'Delimited', click 'Next', choose your delimiter, and click 'Next' again. You can also set the data format for each column.
  6. Click 'Finish' to complete the import process. You should now see your table in Excel.

In text files, characters like commas, tabs, or spaces act as delimiters, separating words or phrases. When importing these files into Excel, the chosen delimiter helps divide the data into separate cells. 

While this method is straightforward, you'll have to spend considerable time manually cleaning the data in documents with a lot of text and images besides the table. Also, lengthy tables, merged cells, and complex layouts may not be accurately represented when converted into the .txt format.

From Word to Excel in seconds

From Word to Excel in seconds!

No more formatting woes. Let Nanonets help you achieve flawless table conversions.

4. Save the document as a PDF and use Excel’s 'Get Data' feature

Excel has a built-in function called 'Get Data', which can import data from various sources, including PDF files. So, save your Word document as a PDF and then import your tables using the 'Get Data' function in Excel. 

Save your Word documents as PDFs. Then, use Excel's Get Data tab to extract tables from the saved PDFs.
Save your Word documents as PDFs. Then, use Excel's Get Data tab to extract tables from the saved PDFs.

Here's how:

  1. Open your Word document and go to 'File' > 'Save As' > 'PDF'.
  2. Open Excel, navigate to the 'Data' tab, and select 'Get Data'.
  3. Choose 'From File' > 'From PDF' in the drop-down menu.
  4. Locate and select the PDF file you just saved, then click 'Import'.
  5. Excel will then display a Navigator window — select the tables you want to import and click 'Load' to edit/analyze the Word tables in Excel.

This method is especially useful when you have multiple tables in your Word document, as Excel's 'Get Data' function can identify and import all tables at once. Plus, it also keeps the original formatting intact.

However, this method might not be perfect for documents with complex layouts or merged cells, as the 'Get Data' function may not accurately recognize such formatting.

Power Query is a powerful data transformation and preparation tool built into Excel. It allows you to connect, combine, and refine data from various sources, including PDFs, XML, CSV, TXT, and JSON. With Power Query, you can easily extract tables from PDFs and load them into Excel for further analysis, cleaning, and transformation. 

Note: You can also extract tables from text files using the ‘Get Data’ feature.

Word tables Excel

Convert complex Word tables to Excel with ease!

You have better things to do than manually converting Word tables to Excel. It's a tedious, error-prone process that steals your time and energy. But what if there was a way to automate it? Now handle complex tables and large volumes efficiently with Nanonets.

5. Use Word to Excel table converter online tools

If you want to avoid manually copying and pasting your tables or going through the process of saving and importing files, online conversion tools could be a good option. 

These tools can automatically convert your Word document into an Excel file, saving you time and effort.

Using Word to Excel table converter online tools
Source

There are several online Word to Excel table converter tools available, such as:

  • Online2PDF
  • Smallpdf
  • Zamzar
  • Convertio

These tools are straightforward to use. Generally, you need to:

  1. Go to the website of your chosen online converter.
  2. Upload your Word document containing the table you want to convert.
  3. Select the output format as Excel or .xlsx.
  4. Click on the "Convert" or "Start conversion" button.
  5. Download the converted Excel file once the process is complete.

Online Word to Excel table converter tools are convenient and easy to use, making them ideal for quick, one-off conversions. However, they may not always perfectly preserve the formatting of complex tables and might have limitations on the file size you can upload.

Additionally, if you're working with sensitive or confidential data, be cautious when using online tools, as your files will be uploaded to third-party servers during the conversion process.

6. Use VBA script to convert Word tables to Excel

For users with programming experience, VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) scripts and macros can be used to automate the conversion of Word tables to Excel. By creating a script or macro in Word or Excel, you can loop through all the tables in a document and extract them into an Excel workbook.

Here's a simple example of a VBA script in Excel that prompts the user to select a Word document, loops through the tables in that document, and imports them into a new workbook.

Check out this tutorial on how to use VBA to effortlessly copy Word tables into Excel.

Macros, which are recorded sequences of actions, can also  automate the process of copying and pasting tables from Word to Excel. However, macros are less flexible than VBA scripts and may not handle complex table structures or formatting as effectively.

While VBA scripts and macros can efficiently convert multiple tables, they require some coding knowledge, and complex table structures or formatting may not always transfer perfectly to Excel. Furthermore, there may be security concerns, compatibility issues, and a steeper learning curve compared to other methods.

Process thousands of Word tables in minutes

Process thousands of Word documents in minutes!

Bulk extract text and data from thousands of structured and unstructured documents—while maintaining high accuracy!

7. Automate Word tables to Excel conversion using Python libraries

For users comfortable with Python programming, libraries like python docx and pandas can be used to automate the process of extracting tables from Word documents and writing them into Excel files. This method is handy when dealing with documents containing multiple tables that need to be processed in bulk.

With some expertise, you can extend it to handle more complex scenarios, such as preserving formatting, handling merged cells, or processing specific tables based on certain criteria.

Here's an example of how to automate Word tables to Excel conversion using Python libraries (Source: Stack Overflow)
Here's an example taken from Stack Overflow | Source

Using Python libraries offers a high degree of flexibility and control over the conversion process. However, it does require programming knowledge and may involve additional steps to set up the necessary environment and dependencies. You must dedicate time to learning the needed libraries and developing the script. Additionally, any changes to the document structure or format might require corresponding updates to the script.

While Python libraries are great when dealing with large volumes of documents or complex table structures, they do require a lot of trial and error. You'll have to spend a considerable amount of time and effort creating a script that can handle all edge cases.

Want a less-complicated yet powerful OCR tool?

Want a less-complicated yet powerful OCR tool?

Switch to a user-friendly, AI-powered OCR platform that makes extracting tables from Word documents effortless. No technical knowledge is needed. Accurately extract data from even the most complex documents and easily automate your workflow. Book a demo now to learn how to optimize your data workflows.

Wrapping up

Whether you’re a legal expert dealing with contracts and agreements, an accountant managing multiple invoices, or a doctoral student compiling research data, transferring tables from Word to Excel can be an frustrating step in the workflow. However, this process can be significantly simplified with the correct methods and tools.

Whether you choose to use AI-powered OCR tools, online Word table-to-Excel converters, or manual methods like copying and pasting, the goal is to streamline your workflow and make the most of your time and resources. Hopefully, this quick tutorial has been a good starting point for you.

If you want to learn about the advanced features and capabilities of Nanonets, feel free to schedule a demo with our team. We'd be happy to walk you through how our AI-powered tool can streamline document processing tasks and significantly improve productivity. 


Word tables to Excel FAQs

How do I convert Word to Excel offline?

To convert Word to Excel offline, you can use the "Save As" function in Word. Firstly, save the document as a plain text file, and then import it into Excel using the "From Text/CSV" option in the Data tab.

How do I use Word in Excel?

You can use Word in Excel by embedding a Word document in an Excel worksheet. Go to the 'Insert' tab in Excel, click 'Object', then 'Create from File' and select your Word document. Alternatively, you can copy text or tables from Word and paste them directly into Excel.

How to copy and paste a table from Word to Excel without splitting cells?

First, select the table in Word and copy it. Then, in Excel, use the "Paste Special" function and choose "unformatted text" to paste the table. This will ensure that the table structure remains intact and cells are not split. You can also use manual methods like Find and Replace to avoid splitting cells. Nanonets offers an automated solution to this problem. Simply upload your Word document to Nanonets, and its AI-powered OCR will accurately extract the tabular data into Excel format without splitting cells or altering the original structure. You can then download the extracted table data as an Excel file.

How to convert Word to Excel with columns?

You can easily convert Word documents to Excel spreadsheets with columns using third-party tools like Nanonets. These tools preserve formatting and layout.

How to copy from Word to Excel into multiple cells?

To copy from Word to Excel into multiple cells, you can use the Text Import Wizard in Excel. First, save your Word file as a plain text file. Then, when opening this file in Excel, the Text Import Wizard will give you options for dividing the text into separate cells.

How to transfer data from Word to Excel automatically?

If you are trying to automate converting Word documents to Excel spreadsheets, you can use VBA scripts to perform the conversion automatically. For example, you can create a macro that extracts all tables from a Word document and imports them into an Excel workbook. However, this requires some programming knowledge. Alternatively, you can use an OCR tool like Nanonets. It allows you to extract and export data from Word documents directly into Excel, saving time and ensuring accuracy. This is especially useful for large volumes of data or complex document structures.

How do you convert a Word document to Excel without losing formatting?

You can copy the Word table, and in Excel, use Paste Special > Paste Link to embed the Word table. Or save the Word document as a PDF, then use Excel's Get Data feature to import the table and preserve formatting. But these methods can be time-consuming and error-prone for complex tables or large document volumes.

For a more efficient and accurate solution, consider using Nanonets. It uses AI to automatically extract tables from Word documents and convert them into structured Excel data, preserving the original formatting. It can handle complex table structures, large document volumes, and unstructured data with ease. Simply upload your documents, review the extracted data, and export to Excel or directly integrate them into your business tools. You can also set up automated workflows, validation rules, and approval processes to streamline your data extraction and processing.


While converting Word tables to Excel is handy, imagine taking efficiency a step further with Nanonets Workflow Automation! Don't stop at data extraction; use our platform to automate the entire process, creating workflows in minutes with seamless app integration. By incorporating AI, including custom LLMs, and human-in-loop stages, you can ensure accuracy while saving time on manual tasks. Upgrade your productivity by connecting to Nanonets' Workflows and let automation do the heavy lifting for you.

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