Convert PDF to JSON – Turn PDF Documents Into Structured JSON Data Objects

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.

Nevertheless, it is still possible to convert PDF documents into logically structured data like JSON objects, as well as Excel Spreadsheets or XML.

Docparser offers powerful tools which allow anyone to easily convert PDF to JSON without writing a single line of code. Docparser includes visual tools such as a PDF OCR Scanner, 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 software with a free trial 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.

table parsing

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.

pdf to json

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.

Using the same software, you can also convert PDF to XML, PDF to CSV, or PDF to Excel, but those are other posts 🙂

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