This Microsoft Excel update could be the one we've all been waiting for

Someone using Excel on a Laptop.
(Image credit: Microsoft)

An upcoming update to Microsoft Excel may be about to solve a common frustration for users everywhere.

A new entry in the Microsoft 365 roadmap has revealed that users will soon be able to insert data directly from an image or picture within the spreadsheet software.

Microsoft notes that users will be able to add table data from an image from the Data tab, a welcome update for many, saving users from the tedious process of entering data manually as had previously been the case.

Excel data images

The update is still listed as "in development" at the time of writing, however Microsoft has issued a general availability date of June 2022, meaning a release may not be far off.

When released, the feature is set to be available to all web users of Microsoft Excel across the globe.

Excel does have a Data From Picture feature already - available for Mac, iPhone and Android - which scans an image for any relevant data that can then be edited and pasted into your spreadsheet.

The news is the latest in a series of recent Microsoft Excel updates that seem basic, but will be extremely welcome news for users everywhere.

This includes the ability to allow users to drop hyperlinks into comments added to spreadsheets, instead of the previous format of only being added to comments in plaintext and pasted manually into a web browser.

Microsoft also recently revealed it will be bringing support for smoother scrolling to the Excel Desktop app, hopefully resulting in a much better user experience, and bringing an end to accidentally snapping to random unwanted cells, or losing track of all your vital data in the middle of an important work task.

Finally, the company introduced a new JavaScript API back in November 2021 that will allow developers to create their own custom data types in Excel. These new custom data types can contain images, entities, arrays and formatted number values all backed by their own custom data sources. These new Excel data types can also be used as both inputs and outputs.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.