How to Use a Scanner to Read Comma-Separated Values

By Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

OneNote includes a Scanner Prinout option to activate your scanner.
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You can convert a printout with comma-separated values to a worksheet that makes the values more meaningful. Your scanner and the Microsoft OneNote application can work together to scan the CSV sheet; you can then copy the text to an Excel worksheet, and Excel’s Data options can help you convert the data from one cell to multiple columns in order to separate the categories and values. This formatting makes the data easier for you and your staff to update and maintain.


Connect your scanner to your computer and power on your scanner. Place the CSV printout face down on the scanner's platen glass.

Open OneNote, and then click the “Insert” tab on the command ribbon. Click “Scanner Printout” in the Files group, and then click to select your scanner from the drop-down list. Click “Print Quality,” and then click “Insert” to activate your scanner. The contents of the printout display on the screen.

Right-click the image to view the options, and then click “Copy Text from Picture.”

Launch Excel, right-click a cell in the worksheet, and then click “Paste” to insert the data into one cell.

Click “File,” and then click “Save As” to open the Save dialog box. Enter a filename in the box, click the drop-down arrow in the "Save as Type" section, click “CSV (Comma delimited) (*.csv),” and then click “Save.”

Move Data to Columns

Click and drag to select the data on the worksheet.

Click the “Data” tab, and then click “Text to Columns” in the Data Tools group. The "Convert Text to Columns" wizard window opens.

Click the “Delimited” radio button, and then click “Next” to open the "Step 2" window.

Click the “Comma” check box. The Data Preview box displays the different columns. Click “Next” to open the "Step 3" window.

Click the “General” radio button, and then click “Finish.” The data moves to different columns.

Save this worksheet as an "Excel Workbook (*.xlsx)" or other file type.

Items you will need

  • CSV printout

  • Microsoft OneNote


Before you activate the scanner, examine the printout to ensure all the characters are clear and legible.

Clean the scanner's platen glass with a lint-free cloth before you set down the print.


Information in this article applies to Microsoft OneNote 2010 and Microsoft Excel 2010. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.