Microsoft has released a new update for its Excel iOS app. The update brings a new feature that lets users import physical spreadsheets and tables by taking an image. Microsoft calls this as the Insert Data from Picture feature and utilises artificial intelligence (AI) for quick conversion of physical data into an editable table in the Excel app.
The company also states that once the spreadsheets and tables have been imported they can then be sent to desktops using Excel for Windows or Mac for editing. There is no requirement for the users to have any additional hardware to use the feature. To recall, the company introduced this feature to Android back in March.
To do this Microsoft has combined advanced optical character recognition (OCR) technology with layout understanding techniques and machine learning models. It claims that thanks to this feature, the Excel app can now grab any data presented in a table format and convert it into the digital form.
As of now, the Insert Data from Picture feature supports 21 languages on both Android and iOS devices. These include English, Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
To use the new feature you will first have to update the Excel app on your iOS device and then sign in to your Office 365 account. After logging in you will get an Insert Data from Picture button at the bottom of the screen. You can then press this button to launch the camera.
Inside the camera app, you will be required to narrow in on your data until it’s been surrounded by a red border. After that, you need to press the capture button to make the device grab all of the data. This feature is only compatible with devices running iOS 11 and above.