Breakthrough Feature Useful to Excel Mobile Users to Import Data from Photos
A new feature introduced to Microsoft’s popular Excel spreadsheet software gives users the capability to extract information from photos. The feature has the potential to accelerate data entry and transform how quickly data can be used.
The new feature, called Insert Data from Picture, sets the mobile app version of Excel apart from its desktop counterparts.
Whether it’s a parts list, food label, spec sheet or chart in a book or magazine, the Insert Data from Picture function is a revolutionary addition to Excel’s already extensive capabilities.
How Does Excel’s Insert Data from Picture Work?
The feature works in multiple stages. When you use your mobile phone or tablet to snap a picture, you can use the Excel app to send the image to the cloud. Machine vision software interprets the image and converts it into a table.
Here are the steps involved:
- Create a new Excel document from the app
- Click on the icon that has a spreadsheet grid with a blue camera in the bottom right corner
- A camera view will appear. A red outline highlights what the app detects as information that can be converted
- Click on the Capture button
- A cropped version of the image appears. You can adjust the crop to reflect the relevant data you want to add to your Excel file
- When satisfied with the data you want to capture, click on the checkmark
- A preview appears. The app allows you to fix any errors you see in the data in any cell
- Tap Insert and the information is loaded into your spreadsheet
What Technology Is Behind the Insert Data from Picture Feature?
Microsoft uses two technologies in tandem to deliver the data insertion. Optical character recognition and machine learning work in tandem in the cloud to analyze, interpret and translate the data back to the spreadsheet.
The technology also supports data in English and 20 other languages.
What Are Some of the Uses of Excel Insert Data from Picture?
Any task that would require extensive data entry to key in the information is a good opportunity to use the new Excel feature. Researchers needing information from books or magazines and analysts with only photocopies or pdfs of charts they need to do some number-crunching can all benefit from the feature.
When is Insert Data from Picture Available?
Microsoft released the application initially only on Android devices. However, as of late May 2019, it is also available for use on iOS devices, too.
The utility the newest feature offers is likely to increase over time as users find new ways to use the feature. For now, it’s a difference-maker for Microsoft’s increasingly popular mobile Office 365 suite of apps.