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I have allot of PDF files which I need to get into my accounting software. The accounting software supports UBL/XML invoices (sample).

I am looking for a tool (software, script etc.) or service to convert my invoices to this format. Preferably it's a software tool which is free or one time buy.

More info on UBL on wikipedia

I already know of Chimpkey (they seem inactive). And I am looking for more so I can do a comparison.

The invoices are all different with various layouts, but here is a sample: sample invoice

  • Would you mind including a sample PDF invoice (as an image) into your question? (with fake name/address/amount) And ideally the resulting UBL/XML that you expect. – Nicolas Raoul Feb 24 '16 at 10:14
  • The invoices are all different, is it relevat to post one? If yes, i will grab one from Google images. As for the output, I thought UBL was a standard for exchanging invoices. So it should meet the standards. I don't have any specifications other then it should meet UBL. – Akif Feb 24 '16 at 10:26
  • Yes, one from Google Images is OK. To avoid misunderstandings. – Nicolas Raoul Feb 24 '16 at 11:13
  • Just added one. – Akif Feb 24 '16 at 11:16
  • The problem, as you say, is that every company has it's own layout(s) - that makes it problematic. – Steve Barnes Feb 24 '16 at 18:24
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Data extraction from PDFs is not necessarily a trivial solution; however, it's a good time to have this problem in that there are quite a few options based upon what "type" of user you are. Probably the best overall software package (which I've used before to great success) is Tabula:

http://tabula.technology/

... it's open source, and I'm a full stack guy; so it's great from a dev's perspective (as well as being easily in the wheelhouse for a non-dev.) Tabula allows you to extract that data into a CSV or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet using a simple, easy-to-use interface. From there, it's trivial to export it to XML with either Microsoft Office or Libre Office... (as well as a myriad of online tools.) Although, since you mentioned it's accounting software; all accounting software I've ever worked with will allow you to import directly from a CSV.

However, sometimes people want a solution with "support", i.e. a commercial application... Here my recommendation is :

https://pdftables.com/

Finally, if you want more "control" over the flow; you can always look at creating your own "solution" by combining a couple of different Open Source items:

http://www.unixuser.org/~euske/python/pdfminer/
https://poppler.freedesktop.org/
http://www.pdfparser.org/
http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/portsntools.html
  • I'll come back and clean/expand this answer in a bit, but I gotta go pick up the kids. :-) – George 2.0 Hope Oct 18 '16 at 22:53
  • I didn't vote it down. But it seems your tools are mainly focused on OCR. I am looking for a soluiton which generates UBL/XML which can directly be read by my accounting software. Obviously i don't want to code it myself. – Akif Oct 19 '16 at 9:50
  • @Akif Thanks for the feedback... I'm not sure who downvoted or why?... (maybe they'll post a comment?) But I'm not sure why you think they're focused on OCR, when a number of them actually don't do OCR at all? For instance my top choice, Tabula, is not able to extract any data from image-based PDFs. Would you explain further? – George 2.0 Hope Oct 19 '16 at 10:34
  • @Akif Perhaps you missed my last comment? – George 2.0 Hope Oct 24 '16 at 16:38
  • Which of these solutions actually generates an UBL/XML output? Maybee I am doing something wrong or am missing details...? – Akif Oct 24 '16 at 18:56
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There is a company called Conexiom which offers a service that will do what you ask. They can convert Invoice and Purchase Orders into whatever file you want. See www.conexiom.com.

  • Maybe so, but this site is for software recommendations not professional services. – Chenmunka Apr 27 '17 at 7:46
  • The person knew about Chimpkey and wanted an alternative. Chimpkey is a service as well. – Xi Chen Apr 27 '17 at 8:51
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As pointed out in the answer of George, extracting data extraction of PDF files is not a trivial solution. This is because the PDF specification does not offer any syntactical markup like HTML does (e.g. , , ...). This makes it challenging for software products to "understand" the data.

The tools mentioned by George (Tabula.technology, pdftables.com, ...) are certainly great tools to extract tables from individual files. They won't help you though in case you want a fully automated process which converts PDF to UBL/XML.

I'm the founder of Docparser and we do exactly what you are looking for. We also just published an article on UBL and automated invoice processing. Hope this helps clarify the steps to take. I'd be more than happy to guide through our free trial.

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