Microsoft adds picture capture to Excel 365 app

Android Excel composite
Composite: Android-Microsoft_AW
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Microsoft Excel is making friends with mobile phone users with a new 'insert data from picture' feature for Android models.

Included in the latest update to Microsoft Excel 365, the data capture tool is included in the mobile app’s main icon menu. Clicking the icon activates the phone and allows the user to focus the camera on a printed Excel sheet and crop the image to the data they want to import.

Microsoft Excel app insert data from picture icon

Having captured the image, Microsoft’s artificial intelligence-powered optical character recognition system interprets the figures and converts them into properly structured spreadsheet tables. According to Microsoft, the feature will even work with handwritten figures.

The insert data from picture capability will be available “soon” on Apple iOS device, Microsoft vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer said in a recent blog announcing the latest Office 365 updates.

Adding features for smartphone users illustrate how Microsoft is pushing Office and Excel away from their desktop origins into the world of mobile, cloud-connected devices. And the ability to add new features incrementally is further differentiating the product families, according to AccountingWEB.com columnist David Ringstrom, who noted back in November that Excel 2019 was obsolete on its day of release.

New functions, charts and data types are being added all the time to induce users onto the cloud-based Office 365 system. Among these enhancements are worksheet functions, such as SWITCH, IFS, TEXTJOIN, CONCAT, MAXIFS and MINIFS, and a new Funnel chart to cater for sales and marketing types.

As part of a publicity drive to encourage more users to switch from desktop to online versions of Office, Microsoft reminded users that support will be withdrawn from Office 2007 in January 2020. It also recently staged head-to-head comparisons of the two suites to demonstrate how users were more productive with Office 365.

For those who are still committed to the desktop version, have a look at Liam Bastick's What’s new in Excel 2019 series.

About John Stokdyk

John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight

AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.