Without a doubt, PDF became the de-facto exchange format for business documents. But PDF is “only” a replacement for paper and businesses around the globe have a hard time accessing important data which is trapped inside their PDF documents. On the other hand, JSON became probably the most popular data exchange format when it comes to syncing data between two web applications.
That being said, wouldn’t it be great to be able to automatically convert PDF documents into JSON data objects? What if it would actually be possible to leverage data which is trapped inside PDF documents to automate business processes?
This post will show you how you can do exactly that with Docparser. Docparser allows you to convert PDF to JSON data which can then be used to automate your document based workflows.
Converting PDF to JSON is not an easy task
Converting PDFs into JSON can be challenging depending on the complexity of the PDF layout and the types of data you are looking to extract.
The biggest reason for this is the lack of hierarchical structure elements (like for example <h1> and <p> in HTML) in the PDF specification. A headline inside a PDF document is just “normal” text in a bigger font size. And tables are basically just a bunch of text fields placed at certain positions inside the document. Apart from the visual representation, nothing inside a PDF documents would allow a software to “understand” the represented data.
Docparser is PDF to JSON converter which you can use without writing a single line of code. Docparser comes with a powerful Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine offering zonal OCR data extraction, various advanced data extraction filters, as well as powerful cloud integrations. If this sounds interesting to you, a walk through our app with a free account is the place to start!
Create your own PDF to JSON converter
Getting started with Docparser is easy. Once you created your first document parser, uploading a couple of PDF sample files is the next step. The samples act as “blueprint” layouts for additional PDFs to come. The idea is that you set rules for data extraction for a certain document layout, and simply feed more PDFs with the same layout through our parser later on.
Next to extracting simple data fields in fixed positions (e.g. Dates or Tracking Numbers), Docparser also lets you extract table rows and complex data structures from variable positions inside the document.
There will be times that you need to handle various PDF layouts that are structured differently, for example if you want to extract data from PDF purchase orders provided by different trading partners. In this case you simply create one document parser for each PDF page layout. Each document parser is then designed to batch process many files of the same type.
Download your converted PDF documents in JSON format
To obtain the data in JSON, you simply select the “Download Links” tab from the App interface and choose JSON as the output. You can either choose to download the JSON data of one single PDF document or group the data of several documents together in one single file.
Send PDF data as JSON HTTP Webhooks
As mentioned in the introduction of this post, JSON became one of the most important data exchange formats on the internet. While XML still holds its fair share, modern cloud applications widely adopted JSON as their favorite data exchange format.
Docparser offers various cloud integrations which allow you to send the extracted PDF data to other HTTP API endpoints in real-time. Have a look at our integrations and our REST API for more information on how to fully automate your PDF parsing workflow.