Microsoft has announced a new feature for Excel, which will let users scan a printed table and import it into a spreadsheet. Microsoft is taking advantage of artificial intelligence and using image recognition to enable quick data import via smartphone cameras. This feature will be available for Excel app for Android and iOS.
Microsoft had announced this feature back in September 2018, at Ignite. The feature is called ‘Insert Data from Picture’ and lets users use the Excel app on their smartphone to capture a picture of a printed table. Once the photo is captured, users have to align the lines to the table and the app uses image recognition to import data into a table, just as it was in the printed table. The scanning works a bit like Office Lens, but the end result is way more impressive.
The feature will be first released for Excel on Android, as a preview. An iOS update will be coming soon with support for this feature. You would need an Office 365 subscription to access the feature.
Here is a demo by Microsoft of how the feature works:
While this seems like a simple OCR implementation but it is more than that. The app recognizes where rows and columns are in the table and inputs data accordingly. The table itself becomes editable too with the same data, which makes the feature even more amazing. So far, I don’t know of any other app that can do something like this.
Microsoft has also added security notifications to the Microsoft Authenticator app for iOS and Android. When passwords are changed or any suspicious activity is detected, a notification alert will be sent to the phone.
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