Cogniview PDF2XL is a lightweight PDF conversion software. It does one thing and one thing only: converts PDF documents to an Excel spreadsheet. And it does it well. It has a decent built-in OCR and is very good at recognizing tables in a PDF document. In this Cogniview PDF2XL review, we will be seeing all of these features in detail.
Cogniview PDF2XL Overview
What is Cogniview PDF2XL?
PDF2XL is primarily a PDF to Excel converter, as the name suggests. Created by Cogniview with a vision of making PDF conversions easy, intuitive and customizable.
This sole focus makes PDF2XL take a top spot among all the PDF to Excel converters we have tested. It is fast enough to convert around 500 pages worth of content per minute. You can simply select the area on the page where the tables are to exclusively convert them, all the while keeping the integrity and format of the tables in this highlighted area.
But that is the extent of this software. PDF2XL provides almost nothing in the way of document customization nor any function related to document security.
Cogniview PDF2XL Details
Supported Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, French and Dutch
Overview of Features
- Primary focus on PDF conversion.
- OCR can recognize almost any type of PDF document and extract it from them.
- Batch processes multiple PDFs at once.
- Lightweight. Does not have a high system requirement.
Cogniview is a software company working primarily on PDF conversion software. Their primary project, PDF2XL, is still actively supported by the company.
Address: Roswell, Georgia, United States
Cogniview PDF2XL Review & Breakdown
Our Verdict After Testing
Working with PDF2XL over the past week has been a doozy. On one hand, it is great at what it does, that is converting PDF documents. But on the other hand, it seriously lacks critical features to make it stand out as a primary PDF platform for the workplace.
The outlook of the software is pretty old school, but that’s not a bad thing. It is simple and easy to navigate, thanks to the low amount of options available. This lack greatly overshadows the actual potential of this software.
As a converter and an extractor of tables from PDF documents (digital or scanned) to Excel, PDF2XL is one of the best in the market today. The software’s auto-recognition of tables in a PDF document sets itself apart from other software. Not to mention how great the table customization options and the live preview are.
Other than that, PDF2XL has barely anything to offer. Limited PDF editability, no options to create PDFs nor any functions to secure your PDF documents. The OCR has a dedicated tab of its own and offers a certain level of customizability, but its operation is not very intuitive which might lead you to scramble for online tutorials, which in and of itself are quite good.
+ Seamless and highly customizable PDF conversions.
+ Ability to keep or change the formatting of tables during the conversion which can be viewed on the Live Preview panel.
+ Save layouts so that similar files can be easily converted.
+ High-speed batch processing of conversions (also thanks to layout saving).
+ Has OCR functions with decent customizability.
– Limited options to customize PDF documents.
– No added security for your PDF documents.
Comparison to Similar Products
Our experience with PDF2XL has been lukewarm at best. While we can clearly see the focus of this software, we can’t help but wish for a little bit more.
The overall outlook of the software is pretty simple so we did not have much trouble navigating through the options that it had to offer.
The landing page, or the Start page, reflects what Cogniview wants to focus on. We were immediately hit with a Tutorial, Convert, Template and Support functions, which we found very welcoming.
Opening a file took us to another window entirely with conversion options immediately presented to us.
PDF2XL has been gracious with its tutorials and help. It is as if they knew that we will definitely need some assistance operating this innovative yet sophisticated piece of software. And help we did need!
It took me well over thirty minutes of fiddling with the different options to finally get comfortable before moving online to go over the tutorials that they had on offer.
PDF2XL scores pretty average in our rating of this category. Nothing mind-blowing but nothing to really complain about either.
The layout is pretty muted but clean. Tabs are visible and the options are organized intuitively making navigation through the entire software is easy and snappy. It also helps that most of the important functions are readily presented in the home tab.
The only thing I would change is to make the overall layout to be larger. The font and button sizes are pretty small, giving off a vibe of clutter. Some options are also overlooked this way.
If we were only talking about PDF to Excel conversion then Cogniview PDF2XL would easily be the Top 3 in this ranking. But unfortunately, we are looking at office PDF tools as a whole which pushes PDF2XL down near the bottom of our list.
The options available for converting a PDF document to an Excel spreadsheet are many and somewhat overwhelming. Let’s start with the feature that I am most excited about: Auto Table Detection.
PDF2XL can recognize and detect tables in your PDF document and automatically select them for conversion. From our testing, the detection has been very accurate most of the time.
Hand in hand with this feature is Layout customization. This allows you to customize your selection on the page and save the selected layout for future use (for batch conversions or converting files with a similar table layout). Or load existing layouts.
Last, but not least, we have PDF2XL’s advanced OCR. It was able to recognize most scanned documents that we have thrown at it without much of a hitch. But working on the scanned page afterward was a different experience entirely. We had no way to edit it!
This brings us to the biggest downside of PDF2XL, it offers nothing in the way of customizing a PDF document other than rotating the pages. Thus the software took a huge blow in our scoring.
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PDF2XL scores a big fat zero in our security criteria. The software provides no option or functions in the way of securing your PDF document. No watermarking, eSigning, Bates numbering or redaction options are available.
As an individual looking to use this software, this lack of security feature is not really going to be a problem, in the short term at least. But as a workplace PDF driver, this shortcoming is critical.
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PDF2XL again gets an average score. That is not a bad thing considering how little has changed for the software over the years.
Cogniview actively focuses on customer support and interaction, and it is much appreciated. They have a dedicated How To Videos button in the Help tab to take you directly to their playlist of many helpful videos. These are up-to-date and easy to follow.
They also have an extensive Support webpage that links to any queries or problems that you might have.
PDF2XL also offers online conversion services: PDF to basic office formats and vice versa. And all of this is free! But with limited functions and restrictions of course.
Feature Showcase: Converting a PDF Document to Excel
As a showcase of the abilities of Cogniview PDF2XL, we will now break down how to convert a static PDF document to an Excel spreadsheet.
Step 1: Opening the desired document
PDF2XL has been gracious enough to place a Convert a PDF file box right on the landing page. Simply click on the Open File… option to locate your desired document.
The traditional file opening method is also available if you are already viewing a different file. It is located under the Start tab on the top left corner of the window.
Step 2: Customize conversion options (Optional)
Before we go about converting we have to fix our conversion settings to what we desire.
Click on the Convert tab and then open up the Settings menu. It should look something like this:
Make sure that it is customized to the way you want and move on to the next step.
Step 3: Selection
An important thing to remember: PDF2XL only converts the highlighted section of the PDF document!
You can go about doing this in two ways:
1) Drag to Select
You can simply click and drag your mouse over the desired area to highlight the section of the document you want to convert. You can also simply highlight the entire page if you so wish!
2) Auto Detect Tables
Open up the Layout tab and take a moment to look through all the options. If it is set up in the way that you want then simply click on the All Pages or Current Page button to automatically select any tables that may be present on the document.
The downside of this method is that you cannot select the whole page. Only the tables in it.
If you feel like there has been a customization mistake, you can always hit the Clear Template or Clear Layout buttons to start over again.
This method is best if you have a single or a small number of pages.
Step 4: Customize the Tables
PDF2XL allows us to further customize our tables for conversion.
After the selection is complete, the Preview panel should demo how our Excel conversion will look like. To customize the final product click on the Content tab. This should present all the options we have available for customization:
- Split Rows and Columns
- Merge Rows and Columns
- Find and Edit Table Header
- Transpose Fields
- Edit Table Structure
Among other options.
Step 5: Check your converted file
Once you have put your final touches on customization simply go back to the Convert tab and hit Convert Document.
Do a final check on the file that you have just converted. It might need some sprucing. And you are done!
|PDF2XL HOME||$25 per month||$180 per year*|
|PDF2XL BUSINESS||$50 per month||$300 per year*|
|PDF2XL ENTERPRISE||$60 per month||$420 per year*|
If you are a new user then you can test out the software by downloading the evaluation/trial version. It has no time limit, but the functions are very restrictive. Only the basics are open for use.
Cogniview PDF2XL also offers a perpetual license package for $499. It is a one-time payment for the product and includes all the features of the BUSINESS version of the software.
Focus is the name of the game when it comes to Cogniview PDF2XL. Alas, the focus is very narrow.
PDF2XL stands out as a very precise and customizable PDF to Excel converter, or as a converter in general, which can be easily deduced from its name. It takes our top spot for being the best PDF to Excel table converter, being on par with the likes of Able2Extract and Nitro Pro. This is in great part thanks to its high customization capabilities for the conversion function.
But it will not take the position of the primary PDF driver for your workplace, primarily for lacking the ability to create, edit and secure PDFs. But if you or your workplace focus solely on PDF document conversions, then PDF2XL might just as well be in the race yet.