You Can Use Your Smartphone's Camera to Import Information Into Excel or Word

Stock Photo Boy here isn't doing it exactly right, but you get the idea.
Stock Photo Boy here isn't doing it exactly right, but you get the idea. / Geber86/iStock via Getty Images

Anyone who has to deal with various file formats like Microsoft Excel or Word as well as analog printed documents knows the pain of trying to make technology work harmoniously.

When cutting and pasting into spreadsheets, or when other data won’t (literally) cut it, there’s a helpful workaround—you can snap a photo of a document and work with it in the software.

Sandra Gutierrez G. breaks it down at Popular Science. You’ll need the Excel and/or Word apps for your smartphone. Once they’re installed—let’s use Excel as an example—you can hit the Plus Sign to open a new document, choose where you want to place data, then hit Menu, Home, and Insert from the dropdown. Then Hit Data From a Picture. This will allow you to grant permission to Excel to use your camera.

Next, take a picture of a tabled document. (It’s best if it’s arranged in rows and columns and typed, not handwritten.) Take the picture—keep the paper on a flat surface—and then crop the information you want. Hit Continue. Excel will preview what you want to import. If it looks OK, hit Open. The data will then be digitized.

The same process works for Word. Download the app, hit Plus, then Menu, then Home, then Insert, and Scan Document. Snap a photo, crop if needed, and hit Confirm. You’ve got data that can now be used in Word.

You may find that font style and size need adjusting once the information is ported over. But on the whole, the feature appears to work well and beats typing everything out by hand.

[h/t Popular Science]