pdf2ofx Convert | Help

Getting Started

PDF2OFX Convert is a single step financial data translator that extracts financial transactions from downloaded PDF statements and converts them into industry standard OFX format.

PDF2OFX Convert+ adds PDF+, MoneyThumb’s integrated text recognition module to handle scanned PDF statements.See the section on Working with Scanned Documents and PDF+ for information regarding PDF+.

Use PDF2OFX Convert to import transaction data into finance applications when you downloaded statements from your financial institution in PDF format.

To get started first set your destination account information and date formats with the Settings button.

Then select the Convert button to choose a file to convert. This will bring up a standard file chooser to select your PDF Statement. There are two action buttons, plus the cancel button, at the bottom of the file chooser. Use the Preview button to preview how .pdf files will convert, and to assign and verify which column is which before doing the import. Then select Create ofx to create the output file. Once you have converted a file with Preview mode, use the Convert to ofx button to do one-step conversion of other files directly to OFX format suitable for input into your application.

Whenever opening a file from a different bank or that has a different style, always first use Preview to verify the column setup. Use the pull-down list at the bottom of each column to select the correct type of information in that column. Be sure to select one Date column, one Payee column, and either one Amount column or both Credits and Debits columns. If you have a balance column, the column selection should be blank (to ignore it). You can also choose which transactions to convert. See more about Preview Mode below.

If the PDF2OFX Convert log has an entry that the conversion did not find separate credit/debit sections, then check the plus/minus sign of the entries in the Preview window. If they need to be flipped, then select the checkbox for Switch signs of amounts on output and the amounts will be correctly output to your .ofx file.

Select Create ofx at the bottom of the Preview Screen to finish the conversion and create your .ofx file, suitable for input into your financial application. Run subsequent conversions of PDF statements from the same bank with Convert, select a file and then Convert to ofx to create your .ofx file in a single step.

Installation

  • Microsoft Windows┬« full install
    • Download PDF2OFX.exe for Windows, save the file to your computer, and run the installation program by double clicking the file.
    • If you do not have have Java installed it will be automatically downloaded during the installation.
  • Mac OS X┬« full install
    • Download PDF2OFX.dmg for Mac OS X, save the file to your computer. Locate the file in the download area, open it by double clicking, then and run the installer.app by double clicking it.
    • If you do not have have Java installed it will be automatically downloaded during the installation.
  • Portable Installation
    • Download PDF2OFX.zip and save the file to your computer.
      • If running on Mac OS X the unzip will be done automatically as part of the download, and PDF2OFXportable.jar should be in your user download folder.
      • If running on other operation systems run zip or winzip on PDF2OFX.zip and extract PDF2OFXportable.jar to a suitable folder such as C:\Program Files\MoneyThumb.
    • Make sure you have Java installed on your computer. If you do not have Java already installed, download it for free at www.java.com.

Entering License Information

On Microsoft Windows, the easiest way to enter the license is to copy the license file PDF2OFX.lic from the product confirmation e-mail to the same folder where you installed PDF2OFX Convert – i.e. C:\Program Files\MoneyThumb\PDF2OFX.

Otherwise enter the license by copying the license string (CTRL-C) from the confirmation e-mail and pasting it (CTRL-V) into the license dialog. To enter the license string manually from within the program select the License button, and paste (or type) the full license code into the dialog.

After you enter your license, your license email will be shown in the program title bar, and in About.

Preparation

There are two things to do before running PDF2OFX Convert, although the second one may be optional depending on your finance application.

  1. Download a PDF statement from your bank or brokerage web site. These are often identified with the red PDF or Get Adobe Acrobat logos.
  1. Get the account number of the account into which you want to import transactions. If you are creating a new account, then any number will suffice. If you wish to import transactions into an existing account, then most financial applications will match up the account numbers, and you will want to import into the correct account.

Running PDF2OFX Convert

On Windows or Mac OS X, double click the PDF2OFX Convert icon on your desktop.

You may also run PDF2OFX Convert from the Windows Start Menu, or run PDF2OFX.exe on Windows or PDF2OFX Convert.app on Mac OS X.

If you are running the portable version, run PDF2OFXportable.jar by double clicking it, or starting it as a Java program.

Settings Dialog

Use the Settings button to bring up the Settings dialog:

pdf2ofx Convert Settings

Setting Account Info

First use the Account Type pull-down menu to select the correct type for the .ofx file – Bank, Credit Card, or Investment, and this will be specified in the Preview Mode screen – see below. There are three additional pieces of account information that may be inserted into the OFX file when it is created. Set the account information with the Settings button. This will bring up the dialog below.

OFX files are required to have account information. All files require an account number and bank accounts also require a bank routing number. If you don’t want to save your accounts numbers for security reasons, then you can skip entering this this information. If you do provide your account number to be inserted into the OFX file, then your finance application can use that number to automatically determine which account to import into. If you are always importing into the same account, then PDF2OFX Convert will save the information from session to session, so you do not have to re-enter it. Note that PDF2OFX Convert does not access the Internet at all, so any information entered is only saved on your computer, and is not sent over other web or to any other computers.

To determine the account number to use in the OFX file, PDF2OFX Convert will look in the following locations, in order.

  1. Values from the Settings dialog window (see above). Once again, if you are concerned about entering your account number, then don’t, and either manually edit the OFX file after it is created, or match up accounts when importing.
  2. The PDF file name, if it is a number without any letters.
  3. As a last resort, PDF2OFX Convert will use an arbitrary default number for the routing number and account number. You will then have to manually match accounts when reading the OFX file into your finance application.

The bank account routing number is required by OFX for bank accounts (but not for credit cards or investment accounts). However, it is not actually used by most finance applications, so if you don’t specify one, PDF2OFX Convert will insert a default value and it should be accepted.

Lastly, the currency needs to be specified. US Dollars are the initial setting, use the drop down to select a different currency.

PDF Settings

PDF Password

If your PDF statements have a password that you need to enter in order to view them, then use the setting for Set PDF Password. The password is not saved for security reasons, so you need to enter a password each time you start PDF2OFX Convert. However, if you are converting multiple statements that require the same password, the password will be applied to multiple conversions in the same session.

PDF Page Range

If your PDF statement has multiple accounts (such as a checking and a saving account) you can restrict the pages converted so that only a single account is processed. Enter values into the dialog for Only Convert Pages from … to to specify a page range. The first value is the page number of the first page to convert, the second value is the page number of the last page to convert. All other pages will be ignored.

Year

Many banks simply use the month and date for individual transactions, with the year being elsewhere on the statement. PDF2OFX Convert
determines the calendar year from other dates in the statements, but if the year is not found correctly, this is an override.

The Spacing Factor is for PDF Statements that have extremely wide or narrow text. PDF2OFX Convert will automatically determine a good value, but if your initial conversion has extra spaces where they shouldn’t be, or no spaces where they should be, this is a way to override the calculated value.

Page Width is used when the PDF Statement has two columns for transactions but has extra text outside the viewable area that is causing the second column to be unrecognized. Use this value to override the page width manually, for example to 8.5. The value is always in inches.

Transaction descriptions need alphabetic characters is normally on. Turn this off if the converter is not recognizing transactions that only have a number as the transaction description or payee.

Allow dates without any separator can be used for banks that use a month-day format of ‘mmdd’, without any space, dash, or slash between the month and day. Setting this option may cause non-date values such as check numbers to be interpreted as dates, so use with caution.

Process statement as a single currency column

This option is used very rarely, but is for the case where your PDF statement has different columns of currency values, but the different columns do not identify debits versus credits. This would be evident when converting the statement in Preview mode. Most statements with multiple columns have one column for credits, one for debits, and perhaps another for balances. This is what the converter expects. However, if your bank created statements with different columns that do not identify debits vs credits then you would need to turn on this option. The only known bank that does this is PNC, where one column is used for checking withdrawals and another for check card debits. When this option is on, all the currency values will be assumed to be in a single column and the converter will rely on the section names or plus/minus values to distinguish credits versus debits. If your bank only has one column of currency values, then this option makes no difference.

Always run PDF+ text recognition (OCR)

Use this option when your statement may already have text from a previous OCR process. See the section on PDF+ for additional information.


Date Formats

PDF2OFX Convert can read dates either in US format (month-day-year) or European format (day-month-year). Use the Settings dialog to select the date format that is used in your PDF file. If your dates have the month name or abbreviation rather than a number, then this setting is not applicable. Note that there is no need to specify a date format for OFX files.

Positive and Negative Charges

Normally bank statements will have charges as negative numbers and payments as positive numbers. That is what most applications expect. Many credit card companies switch things so that charges are positive – showing an increase in your balance – and payments are negative. Use the Settings dialog to select Charges are positive, Payments are negative (Switch signs) if this is how your PDF statement is formatted.

Assigned Column Names

Column names can be preassigned to your conversions. Whenever you use Preview Mode, the column names are saved and automatically assigned to subsequent conversions. See the description of Preview Mode, in the following section. The current column names are displayed in the text box in this section.

Select the checkbox for Use column names to enable or disable the columns from Preview Mode.

Converting the PDF File

PDF2OFX Convert can be run in two modes – Preview Mode and Express Mode. If you are just getting started, then use Preview Mode for reading your .pdf files. If you have run PDF2OFX Convert previously on a similar file and are sure that the columns are correct then it’s faster to use Express Mode. Express mode can be used for all formats. To run either mode, start with the Convert button.

Preview Mode

Select the Convert button and this will bring up the file chooser dialog. Navigate to the folder containing the .pdf file, select the file, and then select Preview at the bottom of the dialog.

This will extract the transactions from your PDF file and bring up a preview window that displays the transactions which were found. The account type at the top of the window will be fixed to the account type you chose in the Settings dialog. At the bottom of each column is a selector that contains the name of the data in that column. It may have already been set correctly by PDF2OFX Convert based on column headings in the PDF file. If it’s not correct, use the pull-down to select the correct type of data. Each type can only be used in one column, so types that have already been used will be grayed out. If you have many columns, you can increase the width of the columns of interest by going to the header row and dragging the column separator to increase the width of the column, and of course drag a corner of the window to enlarge it as well. Use the Clear button to empty the column selectors and start over.

pdf2ofx Convert Preview

Most credit card statements have the the signs of amounts reversed so that credits are a minus amount, and charges are positive. If separate credits and debits sections were not found, then the preview screen may show credits as negative. In this case the checkbox for Switch signs of amounts should be selected. This will ensure that debits and credits are correctly labeled in the OFX file, and imported correctly into your application.

The only required columns are the Date ,and depending on whether the transaction amounts are in one column or two, either Amount or both Credits and Debits. If your statement has an Amount column that has positive amounts for both credits and debits then you also need to select a Type column that has the type – typically Credit/Debit or CR/DB. If your PDF statement has a column for ‘Balance”, it should not be used – the entry in the pull down list should be blank.

The Payee column is the downloaded payee name for your accounting application. You can also have the payee name duplicated at the start of the memo field by using the Payee & Memo selection. This is useful if you want to retain the downloaded payee name after any payee renaming rules have been applied, or you need to see more than the OFX limitation of 32 characters for the payee name.

The Number column is used for Check Numbers, if those are present in your PDF Statement. The Transaction ID column should only be used for credit card statements that have a unique reference number for each transaction.

To create a Memo that combines two different columns choose Memo for the the first part of the memo, and Memo Add-on for the second part. The text from the two columns will be combined into a single Memo, with a space between the two text strings.

For brokerage accounts, the Action column is the type of transaction such as Buy or Sell, the Security Name, ticker Symbol, and CUSIP are the various security identification fields and the Quantity, Price, Commission, and Total fields describe the transaction.

The column called Use determines whether the transaction will be processed into the OFX file. If you have some transactions that you wish to ignore, deselect the checkbox in the Use column. Use the checkbox at the bottom to deselect or select all transactions.

When the column names are correct select Convert at the bottom of the preview window. The conversion will proceed, giving some statistics on how many lines were processed and create a OFX file with the same name. If a OFX file with that name already exists you will be prompted to overwrite it.

Preview Mode column settings will be automatically remembered, and will apply to subsequent Express Mode conversions. To clear Preview Mode, either run a different file in Preview mode or use the Settings button and then uncheck the checkbox for Assigned Column Names – Use column names.

Express Mode

Express mode can be used for all conversions, although it is highly recommended that whenever converting a pdf file from a new source, you should first use Preview Mode to make sure the column setup is correct. Select the Convert button and this will bring up the file chooser dialog. Navigate to the folder containing your input file, and select Convert to ofx at the bottom of the dialog. PDF2OFX Convert will run, giving some statistics on how many lines were processed and create a .ofx file with the same name. If a .ofx file with that name already exists you will be prompted to overwrite it.

Automation

To run PDF2OFX Convert from the command line or a script simply invoke it on Windows as:

PDF2OFX inputfile.pdf

Or for the portable version

PDF2OFXportable.jar inputfile.pdf

There is no need to specify an output file name, PDF2OFX Convert will use the same name and an OFX extension. The log will be written to a file with the same name and a .log extension, or ERROR.log if the input file name is invalid.

Note that if the output file already exists, it will be overwritten. And if your input file name has any spaces in it, remember to use quotes – for example:

PDF2OFX “input file.pdf”

Working with Scanned Documents and PDF+

This section is only applicable if you purchased PDF2OFX Convert+ or the PDF+ AddOn. Running with PDF+ is virtually identical to running the normal version. In most cases the converter will recognize that the PDF statement does not contain readable text, and will automatically invoke the text recognition module. The main noticeable difference is that the text recognition takes much longer than files that don’t need text recognition.

When scanning documents to be processed by PDF2OFX Convert+ it is best to scan at a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). Most scanners should have this as an optional setting. And obviously the cleaner and crisper the document scans, the better the recognition will be. A speck of dirt in the wrong place, such as making a keyword like ‘Debits’ unintelligible can throw off the entire conversion.

After text recognition and conversion, the converter will also automatically refine any transaction date or amount values that appear to be incorrect with Pin Point recognition, and redo the conversion. The number of values refined will be shown in the converter log. If there are still values that appear to be incorrect, the converter log will list the number of lines that should be manually corrected, and identify those lines in Preview mode. Those transactions will be highlighted in yellow, and will have the Use box unchecked.

PinPoint Correction

You can then review the text in those lines, and edit them to make any necessary corrections. Edit like you would a spreadsheet – select the cell and then edit the text in that cell. Sometimes the highlighted lines may be extraneous text that is not a transaction, simply ignore those. If you do edit the lines to create valid values, check the Use box so that they will in included in the output. You can also edit any other text, and if something is missing, even insert a new transaction using the Add Transaction button. If you don’t want to include a line, uncheck the Use box.

In the example above, there were a few transactions where the ‘g’ in ‘Aug’ was fuzzy and was recognized as ‘a’. In this instance one should change those dates to 8/25/2012 and 8/27/2012, and then the statement will be completely correct.

f you are converting scanned documents that had text recognition done by other Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software then you can choose to either use the text from the previous OCR software or use the MoneyThumb’s integrated PDF+ with Pin Point text recognition. The Settings option Always run PDF+ text recognition (OCR) tells the converter to always use PDF+ text recognition. If that box is unchecked PDF2OFX Convert+ will process those files using the searchable text created by your previous OCR. Always running with text recognition will take substantially longer, but will also generally get more accurate results than using the results from other OCR software. That is especially true when compared to free OCR software that may have come with your scanner.

Lastly, there are also a few banks that create PDF statements from images and a very few who create PDF statements with an internal encryption. Bank statements created from images should automatically be processed by PDF+, since no readable text will be found. Statements with an internal encryption will generate unusable text, so , they can only be correctly processed by using the Settings option above. You can recognize these statements by copying and pasting text from your PDF reader to any editing program, and seeing random text characters rather than the text you copied.

Trouble Shooting


PDF2OFX Convert Error: Incomplete header…

There are missing columns which are needed to process the PDF file. The date might be missing, there might be a credits column without a debits column, or similar types of missing data. Review the column names in Preview Mode.


Error Message: “No text found in the PDF file”

This error generally means that the PDF file is a image file, not a text based (or searchable) PDF file. Image PDF’s are created when scanning or a small minority of banks create a PDF statement with a few images rather than text. You can verify this by trying to select a line of text while viewing the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat. Depending on the type of PDF file, the selection are will either snap to a line of text, or just be a rectangle following the cursor.

Text Versus Image PDF Comparison

In either case you will need PDF2OFX Convert+ with text recognition in order to process this file. You could also use other OCR software, although MoneyThumb’s PDF+ is unique in being optimized for recognizing financial transactions.

Error Message: “No transactions found in the PDF file”

This error can be caused by anything from PDF2OFX Convert not working correctly on your bank’s PDF file to a PDF file that has internal encryption or images that makes it impossible to convert.

A quick test is to verify whether the text in the statement is extractable. Open the statement with Adobe Acrobat, select the text for a transaction, and use Edit, Copy to copy the text to the clipboard. Open any kind of text or document editor (i.e. Notepad, Word, TextEdit, Pages) and paste the text into the program.
If the text does not paste correctly, then it’s an image, or somehow encrypted, and the statement can only be processed with PDF2OFX Convert+. You may need to turn on the Settings option for Always run text recognition (OCR).

If text was processed, there should be a line in the log like “Found 100 lines with a date, 90 lines with a currency value, 80 lines with both.” If this line is missing or the number of lines found is much lower than expected, then the statement has spacing, date, or currency formats that are not being recognized. You would need to send the file to MoneyThumb for further investigation.

If date and currency values were found, then the formatting of the statement is likely causing a problem. If your statement has multiple sections for different accounts, that can sometimes cause confusion. It can often be corrected by only processing pages for one section of the file at a time. Enter values for Only convert PDF pages from .. to .. in the lower right of the Settings menu.

If transactions are still not being found, you would need to send a test file to MoneyThumb for further investigation. We can send you a procedure to remove you personal information from the PDF statement.

Warning Message: “No separate credit/debit sections found. Verify plus/minus sign of amounts”

If the PDF2OFX Convert log ends with this message, then PDF2OFX Convert was unable to find distinct sections for credits and debits in the PDF statement. If your PDF statement has plus and minus signs, then you should check that they are correct and if not, use the Switch sign of amounts setting in the top right of the Preview dialog to switch all credits and debits. If you are running multiple statements from the same bank, use Settings to set the switch signs option for all conversions. If all your transactions are positive numbers, then PDF2OFX Convert was unable to recognize the sections correctly. If all your transactions are positive, then PDF2OFX Convert was unable to recognize the sections correctly.

A workaround is to run PDF2OFX Convert twice; select all the credits the first time, and then the debits, switching the Switch sign of amounts checkbox so that the transactions are positive on the first run and negative on the second. Select the checkbox under the Use column to choose which transactions will be processed. The checkbox at the bottom of that column will select/deselect all transactions.

Lastly, PNC customers should check the option under Settings for Process statement as a single currency columnn.

Warning Message: “Credit/debit columns not identified. Verify plus/minus sign of amounts”

This warning is similar to the warning above regarding credit/debit sections, but PDF2OFX Convert did find separate columns for credits and debits, just could not determine which is which. Therefore, you should simply ensure that the debits and credits columns are identified correctly in Preview mode. If the columns in your statement do not distinguish credits and debits, then you should use the Settings option for Process statement as a single currency column.

Transactions have an incorrect year

Most bank statements don’t have the year on individual transactions but have the year in the statement date. This is normally picked up by PDF2OFX Convert. However if the statement date is not present or there are other dates found in the statement, sometimes all the transactions will have an incorrect year. To override the year value found in the statement, specify a year in the Settings menu, using the Year value on the lower right.


No transactions when importing the OFX file

Review the log in the PDF2OFX Convert log window. Often the cause is a missing header. Use Preview Mode to correct the column description using the pull-down menus at the bottom of each column. To enter Preview Mode, run the conversion by selecting the Preview button rather than the Convert to ofx button.

Switched information in your finance application

If you are importing the OFX file and information is switched (i.e. the Payee is what you expected for some other field) then the headers in the PDF file may be mislabeled. Use Preview Mode to correct the column description using the pull-down menus at the bottom of each column. To enter Preview Mode, run the conversion by selecting the Preview button rather than the Convert to ofx button.

If your bank statement has one column for credits and another column for debits, then make sure that those columns are correctly labeled.

If your banks statement has all the amounts in a single column and the amounts are switched (i.e. credit card charges are showing up as positive rather than negative) then use checkbox Switch signs of amounts (in the upper right corner of the Preview Mode screen.

Payee name is being truncated

The OFX file format does not permit payee names longer than 32 characters. That can cause problems with longer payee names being truncated on import into QuickBooks. It is not possible to change that limitation, but PDF2OFX Convert does have a workaround. In Preview Mode, select the column definition for the payee to be Payee & Memo. This will put the payee into both the Payee field (truncated to 32 characters), and the start of the Memo field. This will make the full payee name visible in your transactions.

Converting Security Names in Investment Transactions

OFX files are supposed to define stocks and other securities using the security name and the security CUSIP. The CUSIP is a 9 digit field that uniquely identifies the security. However, most brokerage statements will not contain a column with the CUSIP. If there is no CUSIP present, PDF2OFX Convert will give a warning and use an alternate method of defining the security name, and this may or may not be accepted by all finance applications.

Multiple Accounts in a singe file

Because an OFX file can only contain transactions from a single financial institution, PDF2OFX Convert will only process the first account found in a PDF file when creating a OFX file. To process other accounts in the PDF Statement, use the setting for Only convert PDF pages from .. to .. to restrict the portion of the statement which is processed.

Saving the PDF2OFX Convert Log

After PDF2OFX Convert has run, you may wish to save the log information to a file. Select the Save Log button. This will bring up a File Save dialog. Simply specify a file name and select Save.

To clear the log information select the Clear Log button.