Microsoft Excel has a handy feature that makes it possible to turn a photo into a spreadsheet table but, strangely, it only works on Android, iOS, and macOS. There’s no reason given for why this feature isn’t available yet on Windows or if it will ever be added. In the meantime, the user can grab a smartphone to snap a photo, then create the table, save, and open it in Windows.

Excel is the leading spreadsheet software in the world and is often considered a must-have app for office work. Arriving just two years after Microsoft first launched Windows, it packs serious power for crunching numbers, formatting tables, and presenting complex information in a more useful way. But, of course, the old computer saying ‘garbage in, garbage out’ still applies. So, if the entered data is incomplete or incorrect, the results given could be terribly misleading.

Related: How To Capture A Full Page Screenshot In Google Chrome

Getting a large amount of data into the computer with ease has always been one of the biggest burdens for computer users. Microsoft recognizes that and offers plenty of ways to accept user input. One of the most impressive is the ability to capture a printed or hand-written table full of information from a photo and import that into an Excel spreadsheet without laboriously typing each number in the appropriate row and column. This isn’t a new feature but might not be well-known, which is probably why Apple recently highlighted it in its Mac App Store. Users can do the same thing on an iPhone or Android phone. This option is found in the ‘More’ menu, which looks like three dots in the bottom-right of the screen. In the ‘Insert’ menu, tapping ‘Data from Picture’ opens the camera to get the photo.

Tips For Excel Table Photos & Mac Use

Excel For Mac Data From Picture

This feature is also available on a Mac computer by using an iPhone to take a picture or an image can be chosen from the computer to extract the data. Otherwise, the process is the same as from a smartphone, opening the ‘Insert’ menu and selecting ‘Data from Picture’ to start the process. When taking a picture with an iPhone or Android phone, Excel highlights what it sees as relevant parts of the image. For example, if the corners of the table aren’t identified correctly, the user can drag them to the proper position, then tap the shutter to capture a photo.

If preferred, users can select an image from the image library instead of snapping a picture. The data will be presented below the original photo, allowing editing if the numbers or headings aren’t recognized correctly. When finished, tapping ‘Insert’ will place the information into the spreadsheet at the current cell. While text and numbers are captured as rows and columns, more work might be needed to format and space the table for the best presentation. The system is very accurate in good lighting, so a newer iPhone or Android phone should provide a sharp and clear photo for Microsoft Excel to get what’s needed.