Using Tabula to Extract Tables with Mixed Rows and Columns

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will learn how to effectively extract tables with mixed rows and columns using Tabula in Python.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

Working with PDF files that contain tables with varying structures, such as mixed rows and columns, can pose a challenge when it comes to accurately extracting data. However, by leveraging a tool like Tabula, we can efficiently extract tabular data from complex layouts found within PDF documents.

By combining the capabilities of Tabula with Python scripting, we can navigate through these tables seamlessly, ensuring precise extraction of information even in scenarios involving irregular row-column combinations.


# Import the necessary library
import tabula

# Read a PDF file containing a table with mixed rows and columns
df = tabula.read_pdf("file_with_mixed_table.pdf", pages='all')

# Display the extracted table data

# For more complex extraction options:
# df = tabula.read_pdf("file_with_mixed_table.pdf", pages='all', lattice=True)

# Copyright PHD


Tabula is a robust tool for extracting tables from PDFs into pandas DataFrames. By specifying the pages parameter as ‘all’, all pages are processed for table extraction. Enabling lattice=True improves parsing of tables with intricate layouts. The resulting DataFrame (df) contains structured table data ready for further manipulation or analysis.

    1. How does Tabula handle tables with merged cells?

      • Tabula treats merged cells in a table as a single cell by default during extraction.
    2. Can I specify custom coordinates for table extraction in Tabula?

      • Yes, you can define custom areas on a page to extract specific regions using coordinates in Tabula.
    3. Does Tabula support batch processing of multiple PDF files?

      • Yes, you can automate batch processing using scripts by looping through multiple files sequentially.
    4. Is there an option to export the extracted data to different formats using TabulA?

      • TabulA provides functions to export DataFrame output into various formats like CSV or Excel sheets easily.
    5. Can I customize column headers during Table Extraction?

      • Yes, you can rename or adjust column headers post-extraction within pandas DataFrames for better organization.

Mastering tools like TAbUla enables efficient handling of varied table structures within PDF documents. With its flexible functionalities and seamless integration with Python scripts, valuable insights are gained from complex datasets effortlessly.

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