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Importing data from pictures in Excel
A new Excel feature allows you to get data from pictures (you can even review the suggestions before finally inserting the data into your spreadsheet).

Posted by Andy Brown on 26 July 2022

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Importing data from pictures in Excel

This strangely enjoyable new feature can be found on your Excel Data tab:

Picture from file

If you can't see this option, you will need to wait for it to reach your 365 update channel.

To test this out I used this picture:

Sample picture

Not the world's most exciting data, but a good test for this new feature.

Here's what you get initially when you choose an image from which to extract data:

Preparing image

It only took a couple of seconds to analyse the image, to be fair.

 

You can then choose whether to insert the data as is, or review it:

Insert or review

You can either take what you're given, or make changes to it first.

  

The light-bulb icon above gives helpful hints:

Hints

Maybe Excel is trying to tell me that holding the sheet of paper didn't optimise the lighting for this picture?

 

If you choose Review you can step through the items chosen, optionally making changes to each:

Reviewing items

I like the way that Excel highlights the item you're reviewing in the picture - very clever!

In general the accuracy is impressive.  This misreading was because the s in Kingsmoor is badly typed and slightly smudged on the original picture:

Mistyped word

Excel has read Kingsmoor as Kingenoor.

 

If you choose to insert your data without reviewing everything, you get a scary warning message:

Insert anyway

An (understandable) message from Microsoft's legal department.

 

The final spreadsheet, ready for formatting and checking:

Inserted data

A pretty good rendering of the picture's data.

All in all, a worthwhile (if slightly niche) new addition to Excel!

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