How to automate data entry in Excel

Ever wondered about how to automate data entry in Excel?

Three of the most popular ways to automate data entry in Excel include enabling Excel features, using third-party tools, or using Python

With many businesses still using Excel to carry out inventory management, financial management, and data analysis, it’s well worth exploring how data entry can be streamlined.

We’re going to take an in-depth look at automating data entry in Excel, with a focus on the following points:

  • Using Excel features to automate data entry
  • Automating data entry in Excel using third-party tools
  • Using Python to automate data entry in Excel
  • The benefits of automated data entry
  • How automation in PandaDoc can benefit your business

Three ways to automate data entry in Excel

Let’s take a look at three of the most popular ways to automate data entry in Excel.

Enable Excel features

Excel has several native features that make it possible to automate data entry.

Custom drop-down lists present users with several options when entering data.

This can be useful when using Excel for inventory management or to build a customer database.

For example, lists could be created for the sizes of clothes in your inventory or for the gender of customers, allowing you to choose from several predetermined options when entering data, saving the time that would be taken to type out each entry manually.

Data validation allows you to restrict the type of data entered into a specific field, with an error message displayed if an incorrect value is entered.

This helps reduce the number of human errors during data entry.

You can customize the cursor’s direction after you hit ‘Enter’ in your Excel spreadsheet.

This reduces the number of times you need to manually select cells using the keyboard or mouse when entering data, which can save a surprising amount of time during data entry.

Use third-party tools

There are a variety of third-party tools available that can help you automate data entry in Excel.

Some focus on automating data entry, while others streamline analysis and reporting.

Here are just a few examples of the third-party tools available:

  • Excel Power Tools combines multiple data sources into a single report, allowing you to analyze data across multiple tables and reducing the amount of time spent switching between sheets.
  • ASAP Utilities automates data cleanup and formatting, including deleting empty rows, converting dates, and merging column data. 
  • AbleBits Ultimate Suite for Excel automates over 300 daily Excel tasks, including merging tables, extracting text, and removing duplicate data.

There are plenty of other Excel automation tools; why not investigate yourself and see if you can find the perfect tool for your needs?

Use Python

Excel added Python capabilities in August 2023.

This makes it possible to natively combine Python and Excel analytics in the same workbook, with no setup necessary.

You can use Python in Excel for data entry, analysis, and reporting.

To conduct analysis and reporting, you can simply type Python directly into a cell, with your results returned to the worksheet after the calculations are run in the Microsoft Cloud. 

What are the benefits of automated data entry in Excel?

Automated data entry in Excel can provide many benefits; it’s not surprising that over 1 million businesses in the US are using Microsoft Office 365 in 2023.

Firstly, it reduces the risk of human error during data entry.

Limiting the risk of typos, transcription errors, and other mistakes improves the overall quality of your data, allowing you to make better-informed decisions.

Automated data entry is much faster than manual data entry, meaning employees can spend more time on higher-value tasks, which helps to add greater value to the company as a whole.

The reduced need for employees to manually enter data also leads to greater employee satisfaction. Employees who spend less time engaging in repetitive, mind-numbing tasks (like data entry) are more likely to be happy at work, which leads to higher overall productivity.

Excel also makes it easy to analyze and visualize your data in various ways.

Charts, graphs, pivot tables, and many more data visualizations can all be easily generated using Excel.

It’s even possible to add features such as electronic signatures to your Excel spreadsheets, allowing you to quickly and seamlessly get them signed off when needed.

Enjoy more automation with PandaDoc

Now you know how to automate data entry in Excel, it’s time to look at other ways you can save your business valuable time and money.

PandaDoc offers document management software that helps you automate tasks, streamline workflows, and save you a whole heap of time.

You can easily manage and modify your documents from anywhere, on any device, and collaborate and communicate about documents even when you’re on the move.

What’s more, thanks to Zapier integration, you can create a range of automation between PandaDoc and Excel, such as updating your spreadsheets when you complete documents.

Try a 14-day free trial of PandaDoc today and see how much time it could save.