Never Type a Table Again

Take a photo to get data into Excel.

Microsoft Excel

Spreadsheets and Data Analysis


Getting printed data into Microsoft Excel used to require a lot of typing—and, given how difficult many tables are to read, a lot of typos. But Excel makes the task a breeze: Just snap a picture of the table with the app on your iPhone or iPad and Excel turns that photo into data you can edit on your Mac.

The process couldn’t be simpler: Create a new Excel workbook on your iPhone or iPad, tap the Insert Data from Picture icon (it looks like a small table with a blue camera outline), and snap a photo of your printed table. You’ll get the best results with good lighting and by positioning your iPhone parallel to the printed table (i.e., head-on).

When Excel previews the image, select the portion you want to import.

After you tap Done, Excel will perform its optical character recognition (OCR) magic, highlighting any cells whose data it thinks you should double-check.

Here’s the table above imported into Excel, with formatting and borders added manually:

And that’s it! Now you’ll have more time to make sense of the numbers rather than entering them.

    Microsoft Excel

    Spreadsheets and data analysis