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Excel For iOS Now Lets You Take Pictures Of Spreadsheets And Import Them

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Microsoft is rolling out Insert Data from Picture to Excel for iOS. With this feature, users can convert paper-based spreadsheets and other tables into fully editable digital versions.  ( Lorenzo Rui | Unsplash )

Excel for iOS is finally getting a feature which has been available on the Android version of the app for months.

Insert Data from Picture is finally coming to iPhones and iPads. The feature, which is powered by artificial intelligence, lets users take pictures of spreadsheets, tables, or other data-heavy figures, and have them converted automatically into digital versions in Excel. As on Android, iOS users will be able to import their real-world tables then choose to edit it using Excel for Windows, Mac, or of course, directly on their phone.

Insert Data From Picture

This tool debuted at Microsoft's Ignite event back in September 2018 and has already been available on Android since March. As mentioned, it uses AI to determine the contents of the data, but it pairs that with optical character recognition and machine learning to convert paper-based information into digital equivalents. The image recognition technology can automatically detect financial spreadsheets, work schedules, task lists, timetables, and others. It's an incredibly useful time-saving tool that negates the need for manual input, which often is laborious and cumbersome.

How To Use Insert Data From Picture In Excel

Insert Data from Picture will be available for Office 365 subscribers, through both Excel for iOS and Excel for Android. To start using it, simply launch Excel, select the feature, and take a picture of the data that needs to be converted. Zoom in until a red border appears. Tap capture, then wait for a few seconds as Excel converts it into a fully editable table. You can see it in action via this GIF:

(Photo : Microsoft)

The feature will be supported in 21 different languages.

Handwritten Notes

In addition to tables and spreadsheets, Microsoft has now also made it easier to convert handwritten notes to digital text. With the Ink Grab feature, users can take pictures of notes scribbled on a physical whiteboard and convert them to digital ink in the Microsoft Whiteboard app.

The company has also built handwriting recognition into its other services such as OneNote, so users can convert notes to text then quickly share them in messages, documents, and presentations. It's exploring more advanced ways of transcription, too. In the future, for example, Microsoft hopes users will be able to take a picture of handwritten notes on paper and import the text directly. Other areas it's experimenting with are scanning pictures, PDF annotations, and signatures.

Make sure to check back with Tech Times as we learn more about Microsoft's plans with these tools.

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