How to Convert a Scanned Document to Excel

by Richard Krick ; Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Microsoft Word software

  • Microsoft Excel software

  • Optical character recognition (OCR) program such as Microsoft Document Imaging

Converting a scanned document into an Excel document is a fairly straightforward process that can be done in three general steps. First, scan the document in. Second, use an Optical Character Recognition software package (OCR) to convert it to text. Then use Excel's own Text to Excel wizard to bring the information into Excel.

Under Microsoft Office Tools on your Programs menu, open up "Microsoft Office Document Imaging," then open your file. The computer should automatically recognize it, but if not, click the toolbar option labeled "Recognize Text Using OCR". Click the "Export to Word" button.

Name the file using the "Save As" function and pick the file format labeled "plain text" (.txt) from the drop down box. Once you hit "save", a dialog box will open to give you several options. Be sure to mark the "Page Break" option, or Microsoft Word will save the text all on one line. Once done, click Save and then close out of Microsoft Word.

Open up the file in Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Excel has several programs designed to assist users in tasks, called a Wizard. The conversion wizard should automatically launch in any recent version of Excel. Follow the wizard's steps. It is often best to pick "delimited", which is the default. "Delimited" means that the columns of data are separated by some means, such as commas, spaces, or other similar methods. Excel provides a number of options.

Pick the deliminator, which is what separates the columns of data from one another, in Step 2 of the Wizard. If using the Microsoft-provided converter, the choice is probably 'space'.

Specify the formatting of the columns in Excel in Step 3 of the Wizard. Select the column that does not need to be in the default or general format, and change it in the column data format box, which is in the upper right hand corner of the Wizard. When done, hit finish. At the end, the data should be in Excel and ready for use.

Tip

  • Optical character recognition is not foolproof. Therefore, double check the original document vs. the Word copy prior to saving as a text document.

About the Author

Richard Krick is currently employed as a professional accountant with over a decade of experience in public and private accounting. He has been published by Poetry.com. He regularly translates complex accounting principles into plain English for his clients. Richard Krick graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting from Messiah College, and has an associate's degree in business administration from Onandoga Community College.