How to Convert Picture to Excel Table in a Blink of an Eye.
There are many OCR applications that allow you to convert images to text. However, they often fail when you need to convert tables to Excel tables. They all interpret strings as “|”. I recently came across a recently launched Office application that can convert an image to an Excel spreadsheet in just 2 easy steps. Let me show you how.
How to convert image into an Excel table
Microsoft has launched a new universal Office application that brings together all Office365 applications in one. So, basically the Office application consists of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and its integration with Office Lens.
While I have not experienced random crashes, the Office application is still in beta and may be unstable.
1. A new Office app
First of all, download and install the Office app from the Google Play store or Apple App Store. You will need to register and sign in with your Microsoft account. Then go to the Actions tab and click Image to Table.
This will launch the Microsoft Office lens. Move the cursor over the picture and press the shutter button. Make sure the data is enlarged enough so that there is no extra light flickering in the image. After capturing the image, a selection tool appears in the application. The tool automatically detects the table area, but you can even fix it by expanding the selection tool. After that, click the Finish button in the lower right corner.
The application will take a few seconds depending on the size of the data and the complexity of the image. A preview of the data is then displayed. Here you can edit the data before saving or copying it. Cells with a red background are left for viewing. This is a questionable area where the application was unable to accurately identify the text. For example, take a look at the image below. I got roughly 20-30% red boxes with misspellings or misinterpretations.
After fixing the error, you can either export the data to an Excel table or copy the table directly. If you export to Excel sheet, you can always share the sheet via Slack or Gmail.
Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are free for Android.
What’s more, Microsoft also allows you to save your sheet to OneDrive. Thus, it can be quickly downloaded to your Windows PC. However, saving to Google Drive requires a paid Office 365 subscription. Like any OCR application, the Office application works 60% of the time with print fonts, while it mostly did not use handwritten text.
Download Office (Android | iOS)
If you don’t want to use an Office app, you can always go back to Web Converter. There are many options online, but I found EasyPDF to be free, fast, and unlimited. However, with web apps, it is better to crop and adjust the image before upload for conversion. When the image is cropped and ready, drag it to the next web page. Then make sure you select Excel at the bottom and click the “Convert Image” button.
Also, it will take some time for the web application to process and transform the image. You will then see the option to either upload the image or save it to Dropbox or Google Drive. EasyPDF is pretty limited in terms of customization. You have no way to edit the converted table or copy the text from the image.
Which is better?
In my testing, I found that the Office application performs much better than any web application. Below is an image of the extract from Office application and EasyPDF. What’s more, the Office application also gives you the option to correct the extracted table before exporting it.
That being said, the office application crashes when it comes to concatenated or uneven cell structure. You can think of a success rate of 60-70%.
Also Read: Best Free OCR Software for Windows 10