Update (1/18/2011): We originally wrote that we had promising results with the commercial product deskUNPDF's trial mode. We have since ordered the full version of deskUNPDF and tried using it on some of the latest payments data . Adobe’s Portable Document Format is a great format for digital documents when it’s important to maintain the layout of the original format. However, it’s a document format and not a data format. Unfortunately, it seems to be treated like a data transfer format, especially by some government agencies and others , who use it to release data that would be much more useful for journalists and researchers as a spreadsheet or even as a plain text file.