How do I important the data from hundreds of documents into spreadsheets?
May 3, 2011 11:53 AM   Subscribe

How do I use OCR to scan a standard document into an excel spreadsheet?

I have hundreds of reports that have basic fields like, name, address, and columns of information - is there a program or process in which OCR can be used to scan, capture and import the data automatically from hundreds of sheets with the same basic layout into an excel spreadsheet?
posted by perpetualstroll to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Not a perfect solution, but I've had some luck (on a much smaller scale) scanning to Word (with the OCR software that comes with Office) and then copy/pasting into Excel. Excel has been pretty decent about figuring out the right layout based on the formatting in Word.

Obviously not an ideal solution, but it's a place to start, and I'm sure others will be along with better answers.
posted by chndrcks at 12:14 PM on May 3, 2011

Able2Extract can do this. It's clunky, but pretty much anything to solve this problem is going to be clunky. It takes the file and gives you a chance to overlay some gridlines on the surface to help it decide where to break columns apart. You do this graphically and by hand. It has an automatic option, but don't bother. You can save your grid settings for similar files. It helps a great deal if the scan is oriented so that lines and columns are as close to true horizontal and vertical as possible.
posted by odinsdream at 12:57 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Acrobat also has OCR and a "copy as table" function that sort of works. It would be a pain to do it with lots of files, however.
posted by ropeladder at 9:34 PM on May 3, 2011

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