For big data analysts, working with clean data is a must. The major hurdle, though, is actually cleaning that data. Right now, analysts are spending more than half of their time cleaning up unstructured datasets. And if you aren’t an advanced expert with cleaning datasets, just knowing some basic data cleaning tasks becomes even more crucial.
Datasets can represent a large variety of information. From government and healthcare data to demographic and financial numbers, datasets come from all different areas. They also come in all different forms, like the PDF format. Getting it into a form you can manipulate is your first goal– and your biggest challenge.
The PDF format isn’t easily editable. In addition, it may contain hundreds of pages, consist of tables that span the entire file, be scanned in from a hard copy document, be created from an Excel spreadsheet, or be protected against copying and pasting.
You need to be able to analyze that locked down data. But how do you get started?
Spreadsheets are known for being able to perform heavy-duty number crunching tasks. And because of this, it’s only natural to think that along with calculations comes precision and accuracy. The program is set to do all the complex analysis for you.
Yet from time to time, errors do shockingly happen. This is scary especially when big data analysis in Excel is gaining traction.
It can be hard to believe that a program like Excel could be at the heart of major financial debacles, but it has happened and it has happened in the past more times than you’d think.
Spreadsheet Flaws Throughout The Years
1 Reinhart-Rogoff Paper (2010)
In 2010, Harvard economists, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, published “Growth in a Time of Debt,” a paper that claimed to have identified a tipping point for government debt and its relationship to economic growth. This paper gave the government a reason to cut spending even if it meant mass unemployment. Yet, researchers couldn’t replicate the results and it was later found that there was a coding error in Excel which, even when corrected, didn’t prove the claim. Continue reading
For the most part, converting PDF tables to Excel can be very simple. Your table is isolated, on a single page and nicely centered.
However, PDFs being what they are and content being as diverse as it is, your tables won’t always be ideally formatted as such in the PDF you’re dealing with. It may be nested within paragraphs and surrounded by extra content and text that you may not need at all.
You’ve no doubt seen this in annual reports, brochures or statistical data compiled into a study. The formatting and layout may be easy on the eyes, but it isn’t on the conversion process.
So how do you extract only the table you want?
Since moving towards the “paperless” business concept, industries and companies are scanning both printed and handwritten material on a daily basis.
It isn’t uncommon to want to digitize every hard copy file your company has in order to keep pace with technology. Doing so streamlines document management processes and provides easier access to crucial records.
Yet, though scanned documents can help many businesses transform and improve their performance, scanned documents still have a few setbacks.
More often than not, those scanned documents are saved in the PDF format, making it hard to interact with the content as needed. Since a scanned document is just a photo, the text or handwriting within the file can’t be edited nor searched, which presents a problem in many situations. For example, if you wish to create a financial report in Excel by using some scanned receipts and documents, there aren’t many ways to do this. Continue reading
When you have a PDF document and are strapped for time and resources, it becomes a challenge: how much and what exactly can you accomplish with your PDF tool?
As an Able2Extract user, you’ve probably wondered the same.
So this week, we’re uncovering ways in which you can streamline your PDF productivity with Able2Extract Professional.