Microsoft Brings 'Insert Data From Picture' Excel Feature to iOS Devices

Microsoft today announced that the Excel app for iOS is gaining the Insert Data from Picture feature that was previously made available on Android devices.

Insert Data from Picture lets you take a photo of data in a table format and convert it to a digital format in Excel. You can capture financial spreadsheets, work schedules, task lists, time tables, and more, so long as it's in a table format to begin with.


According to Microsoft, Insert Data from Picture combines optical character recognition technology, layout understanding techniques, and machine learning to convert information written on paper into digital data.

As of today, the Insert Data from Picture feature also supports 21 languages on both iOS and Android.

The Excel iOS app from Microsoft can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]



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3 weeks ago

1. Who prints spreadsheet table data?
2. Who would ever have a printout of table data to scan?
Spreadsheets live on computers


Often information is shared with others in a printed form. Consider a presentation where attendees are given papers to view while the presenter talks.

Or, even publicly distributed information in packet or booklet form.

Or even historical books and charts with data.

Now you can just take a picture to import the data and start working with it.

Sounds like an interesting feature.
Rating: 16 Votes
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3 weeks ago

1. Who prints spreadsheet table data?
2. Who would ever have a printout of table data to scan?
Spreadsheets live on computers

It doesn’t have to be actually printed.
Because there is simply no easy way to copy a file from Windows PC to iPhone or even so-called “professional” and “PC replacement” iPad, now you can just take a photo of the screen.
Rating: 4 Votes
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3 weeks ago

1. Who prints spreadsheet table data?
2. Who would ever have a printout of table data to scan?
Spreadsheets live on computers

Hmmm I see someone doesn’t work in a corporate environment.
Rating: 2 Votes
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3 weeks ago
https://xkcd.com/2116/
Rating: 2 Votes
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3 weeks ago

Wow! Lets easily email sensitive data for sale!


That can be done anyway with a camera, the app wouldn't prevent it
Rating: 2 Votes
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3 weeks ago
Brilliant, is Word capable of this and PowerPoint.
Rating: 2 Votes
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3 weeks ago
Great work by Microsoft.

Apple needs to add this feature to iWork. And go beyond. Lead the way, Apple.
Rating: 1 Votes
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3 weeks ago

That’s nice! And I welcome any new features. But it also comes apparent that more and more new features start on Android first and then are brought to iOS. It’s worrisome because iOS market share is going down worldwide year after year. I’m afraid iOS will come a second class citizen if this trend continues.

I really hope Apple is aware of the trend and will take action to grow its market share.


The different teams at Microsoft all make new features that later on are put into the other platforms.

Sometimes a new feature is made by the iOS Excel team, other times it’s made by the Windows Excel team and so on.

And it’s actually a good idea, since all teams can work on new features instead of only work on porting other peoples ideas.
Rating: 1 Votes
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3 weeks ago


Certainly there must be some decent digitization software out there for stuff like this? Anyone know of such a tool?



Nothing free, unfortunately. Datawatch Monarch is specifically designed for this, ACL Analytics offered some (basic) support for it.
Rating: 1 Votes
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3 weeks ago

Until this very moment, I couldn't see any reason to have Excel on my phone-- now it suddenly feels indispensable.

This is only available through the Office 365 subscription though, is that right?


FAQ says you don’t need a 365 subscription.

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Excel-Blog/Insert-Data-from-Picture-generally-available-on-the-iPhone-Excel/ba-p/622203

Excel for iOS is free to create and edit documents so long as the screen size is smaller than 10.1 inches. You just need a free Microsoft account.

Kind of irritating that I can’t use excel on my 10.5” iPad Pro. And I don’t use excel enough to justify a subscription.

Also I can’t use Apple Numbers because sometimes the conversion screws up.
Rating: 1 Votes
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