Extract Data From Scanned Documents And Images

Extract Data From Scanned Documents And Images

A major problem that many businesses face today is the inability to leverage data which is trapped inside scanned documents and images. Whenever a business relies on data which is trapped inside paper documents, manually re-keying the data can quickly become a bottleneck and harm the business.

In such business cases, we need a data entry automation software that helps to extract data from scanned documents and automate document based business processes.

But the problem is two-fold. The challenge is not just to extract data from scanned documents but also to extract it accurately. This becomes even more challenging when the data inside these scanned documents and images is tabular and graphical in nature and it should instead be presented in Excel format.

To accomplish this task, good Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is needed. Often a combination of pattern recognition and advanced Zonal OCR is used to identify the data to be extracted. Once the extraction software is trained, it can convert batches of scanned files into excel sheets.

But before we learn more about image-to-excel converter and tools that help in converting scanned images to excel and other formats, we need to understand the difficulties that lie in the process of this kind of data extraction and conversion.

What Makes Extracting Data From Scanned Documents And Images Difficult?

In order to learn about image data extraction, document scanning and their data extraction, we need to understand what makes it so difficult to extract data from scanned documents and images.

There are several reasons that make data extraction from scanned images difficult and some of them are:

  • Scanned documents and images do not contain any text which can just be ‘selected’ with a cursor
  • Extracting tables from scanned documents is tricky! Tables are basically just ‘blocks of texts’ and a software is needed to identify table rows and cells
  • It becomes even more difficult when the data tables are spanned across multiple images and pages of the document, or when the tabular data is not in a simple row-column format (but rather nested i.e. when we have a table within a table)
  • Sometimes the images are not clear i.e. the OCR software knows there is data but can’t accurately read it

Simple copying-pasting is not possible as there is no text data to select from. And even if the document was OCRed properly, copy-paste is a manual process and when businesses deal with huge chunks of data, automation is the key.

How To Accurately Extract Data From Scanned Documents?

If we talk in simple terms, then there are two ways of data extraction:

Manual Data Extraction – In this method, businesses have a data entry operator whose job is to manually read data from one document, scanned document in this case, and enter it in another desired format.

This process is problematic for the following reasons:

  • It is time-consuming
  • It is prone to error
  • It is expensive as businesses need to hire someone for the job
  • There is no real-time tracking of the data

Some businesses outsource this aspect of their business process but while outsourcing only removes the overhead from their business line, it doesn’t overcome the challenges listed above.

Automated Data Extraction – This is the more efficient, modern and preferred way of extracting data from scanned documents.

Automated data entry solutions do a great job of reading scanned documents and images and then transferring that data into a different format such as excel sheet or csv.

There are numerous benefits of automating data extraction process. Some of them are listed below:

  • Faster, easier and more efficient
  • Mostly an error-free extraction
  • Real-time data tracking
  • Saves time, money and efforts
  • Makes the process customizable which means that if, at any stage, you need to make a change in the process, you can do it through the automated software.

However, in order to leverage the last benefit of customization, the software needs to be trained and the software your business is using should have the feature of customization.

Docparser is one such data extraction automation tool that provides you with the option of customization through its feature of parsing engine. We will talk about Docparser’s data extraction features in detail in a bit.

Before that, we will see if (and how) scanned documents can be converted into excel sheet.

How To Convert Scanned Document And Image (JPG, PNG, TIFF) To Excel

Like we discussed earlier, the best way to extract data from scanned documents or from scanned images is to use an automated data extraction tool, like Docparser.

The task becomes relatively easier of the data stored inside these scanned images and documents is plain text. Most softwares are good at reading plain texts and extracting them in another format.

Problem gets difficult when we need to convert a scanned document or an image into an excel sheet. An excel sheet is used to store mathematical and tabular data in a structured and organized way. But this whole data gets turned upside down if the software that is reading the scanned documents (and images) is not able to accurately extract the data. In such cases, any slight change in the data format can wreak havoc on a business.

It is this criticality of data that makes it essential for businesses to find a good data extraction and conversion automation tool.

Convert Scanned Document And Image To Excel With Docparser

Docparser comes really handy when we a business case needs to convert data from a scanned document to excel.

Not just that, Docparser can convert scanned images like jpg, png and tiff into excel too.

Docparser is a batch file converter that offers numerous features such as –

Converting transactional business documents like invoices, pdfs, purchase orders etc.; its parsing engine provides a great scope of customization; it supports several formats; it is integrated with 1000s of products and can convert the files in almost every desired format.

Converting a JPG, PNG and TIFF image to Excel with Docparser is simple and can be done in three simple steps:

  1. Sign-in To Docparser And Upload Your File – If you a Docparser subscriber, use your login to sign in – otherwise sign up for a free account and log into Docparser. Once you are logged in, create a document parser by selecting the type of document you want to parse. Docparser remembers the settings you decide once and if you parse the same kind of documents with similar formats, you can do so in batches. After this, upload the scanned image that you need to convert to excel.
  2. Create Your Parsing Rules – Docparser’s parsing rules let you decide what data you want to extract and how. Docparser comes with sliders and a free selection tool that can be easily moved. With the help of these sliders and selection tool, you decide which rows and columns you need to extract into your excel sheet. Not just that, Docparser also has many filters for table data. You decide if you need any filters such as merging rows or adding a new column etc.
  3. Preview And Download – After you create your parsing rules, Docparser will do the rest for you. You exit the parser and Docparser will show you a preview of the extracted data. If you are happy with what you see, you click on download link and Docparser will give you a download link from where you can download your final excel sheet.

For any problems, access our knowledgebase.

If your scanned image has multiple tables or text combined with tables, you can set your parsing rules accordingly and Docparser will handle it for you. Try Docparser and you will agree that it is a great image-to-excel converter.

Joshua Harris

Author: Joshua Harris

Hi, I'm Joshua. Each day, I speak to people who use our tool so I can learn to make it better. Parse a few PDFs and let me know what you think.

2 thoughts on “Extract Data From Scanned Documents And Images”

  1. Would like to see a Demo.
    Also I would want this tool to be based inhouse and not with Cloud Functionality. So it has to exists within my organization’s Firewall.

    1. Hi Vikas, thanks a lot for reaching out! Docparser is a cloud-only service and we don’t offer any on-premise installation at this point in time. I’m sorry for the bad news!

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