Sometimes there is a table of numbers that you have a photo or screenshot of that you’d like to get into Excel without having to retype it all. If you’re using the Excel mobile app on your smartphone, you can use its features to import data from a photo (and have been able to do so for at least a couple years). But it wasn’t until recently that that feature came to Excel for the desktop. Coming soon is a new feature in Excel to save you some trouble. Here’s how you can save yourself the grief of having to type everything in a photo or screenshot and let Excel do all the work for you.
First off get the image you want to convert to text. You can do that a couple ways:
- Select Data > From Picture > Picture From File.
- Copy an image of a table to your clipboard. For example, take a screenshot of a table by pressing Windows+Shift+S or by using a third party screenshot program like Greenshot. Then select Data > From Picture > Picture From Clipboard.
After you’ve captured your picture of the content you want to bring into Excel, the Data from Picture window pops up, showing you the progress of its analyzing the image:
Once things are done being analyzed, you can make any corrections necessary, and then insert the data:
This feature is tremendously useful. Here are a couple ways you could use it:
- Capture Data From a Website: Copying and pasting data from a website into Excel can be very hit or miss. Try taking a screenshot of the website data you need to pull from and importing it that way and see how it does.
- Take a picture of a printout: Don’t want to retype all the data in a printout of data and you don’t have the original digital version? Take a picture and import it into Excel and see how it goes.
This looks to be a very handy feature for folks who need to manipulate data in Excel.
Images courtesy Microsoft.