Scanners That Convert Documents to Excel
By Serm Murmson
No scanner is specially configured to import your documents into Excel. While scanners are an extremely important part of digitizing your business records, they create image files on your computer. You must convert these scanned images to text files in order to effectively import them into Excel. Only then will you be able to analyze and save your business records as spreadsheets.
Scanner resolution is measured in pixels per inch. For optimal results, the resolution of your scanner should be calibrated to the individual document characteristics. If the document is typed, you should set the resolution to 600 ppi. If the document is handwritten, you should set the resolution to 400 ppi. You can experiment with higher resolutions if you need more detail. In the case of a handwritten document, you should scan the image in gray-scale rather than black and white, as gray-scale can detect the nuances of handwriting better than black and white and thereby help minimize scanning errors.
Optical Character Recognition
While you can import images into Excel, you should convert your scanned images to text files in order to make your data manipulable. In this case, you can use the optical character recognition function of Microsoft OneNote. OCR software scans an image and converts the characters it recognizes into text. In OneNote, open or paste in your scanned image. Then, right click the image and select "Copy Text from Picture." This copies the scanned text into your clipboard. You can then paste this text into a OneNote document -- or any document -- and edit and then save it.
Importing into Excel
Once your image file has been converted to a text file, you can import it into your Excel spreadsheet. In Excel, you can select "From Text" in the "Get External Data" section of the Data tab and then you can select your text file. When Excel imports a text document into a spreadsheet, it looks for specific characters or formatting in the text file in order to delimit fields. You can configure these delimiting elements in the Text Import Wizard. Once you have configured your text file, click "Finish." Then you can specify the beginning cell of your imported data.
Because there are so many different conversions involved in importing your scanned documents into Excel, the likelihood of errors is high. Check for errors at each step. You can check the initial scanned image for any blurry or distorted characters. Also, you can proofread the text file after using the OCR software, manually correct any mistakes and ensure the formatting is optimized for the Excel import process. If you find the import process in Excel unsuccessful, you can import text gradually by row or by column. While this process may be tedious, it can help minimize errors.
Serm Murmson is a writer, thinker, musician and many other things. He has a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago. His concerns include such things as categories, language, descriptions, representation, criticism and labor. He has been writing professionally since 2008.