Data entry in spreadsheets is not something that many people enjoy doing. It can be more tedious if the data is not coming from a source which allows you to copy/paste, such as a printed receipt. Microsoft wants to take the pain out of that by relying on artificial intelligence to enable Excel to insert data from a picture.
Excel’s new insert data from picture feature will let you scan a receipt or table-type information such as a recipe into spreadsheets. It will make the whole process as simple as taking a picture.
To use this feature, users have to open Excel on their phone or tablet and tap on the “Insert data from picture” button. They have to narrow in on the data until it’s surrounded by a red border and then tap on the capture button. The sizing handles around the edges of the image can be used to crop the image to size first if required.
Excel’s AI engine will then process the image and covert it to a table automatically. Not only does it import the data but it also lets users correct any issues that it discovered during the conversion process. Once the conversion process is done, Excel will display the data neatly tabuled into the spreadsheet.
The company does mention that this is a beta feature which is only available “to a portion” of Office Insiders right now. It will continue to optimize the feature in the next few months and once it’s ready, it will be released to all Office Insiders and Office 365 subscribers.