Excel’s New Data Entry Feature: What Does This Mean for the Property Industry?


Recently there has been a lot of buzz surrounding Microsoft’s new update for Excel, particularly around a new feature on the app that let’s you take a photo of a printed spreadsheet which can be converted into an editable table.  This is update is available in the Excel mobile app for iOS and Android users.

To use it, you will need to take a photo of a printed spreadsheet, crop the image to fit the table, and correct any issues you see in the data. From there, it will act like a traditional spreadsheet, so you can continue inputting new data as you go. This new update is likely to be particularly popular with large companies who will no longer have to hire extra employees to help with data entry tasks.

Limitations to Excel’s New Feature

However, there are limitations with the app in its current format, because when converting large spreadsheets, it has been known to be inaccurate. This is an issue since you are most likely to want to use this tool for large amounts of data, data which otherwise would need to be manually entered. But it has been found that the larger the spreadsheet, the more likely that there will be errors in the conversion. The tool is still in its initial phase of development, but, in its current state, you will probably still need to manually correct much of the data.

Another issue that has arisen is that users of the app are required to give Microsoft permission to scan their photo, meaning potentially sensitive data will go to a Microsoft server. If you are an employee of a company using this tool, you will need to check you aren’t violating company policy by taking photos of confidential financial documents.

Do These New Features Help Property Managers?

For property managers using normal versions of Excel, this feature has some advantages. Spreadsheets have long been the traditional way to manage property, and Excel is a programme many property managers are familiar with. The downside of this is that the feature hasn’t been made with property management in mind, and therefore is unable to provide an end-to-end solution for managers. Proptech has now moved on from spreadsheets and this update seems to have come too late in the game to rival already existing proptech platforms.

These platforms offer much more than the storage and sharing capacity of Excel spreadsheets. With integrated management platforms, there is a lot more functionality for managers, such as being able to send messages to tenants, creating automated events and even integrating with accounting software. Property managers are able to customise cloud-based platforms to their own business needs. They can message tenants through apps, arrange for a work order to be carried out and even set reminders, all on the same platform.

Overall, the new Microsoft update for Excel has improved it, but it won’t overtake existing proptech for two reasons: the update is still too unstable to accurately import large amounts of data and it is unable to provide a one-stop-shop, connected solution for those managing property.

Marc Trup is the Founder and CEO of Arthur Online

After selling his business to BUPA in 1998, Marc started investing in rental properties in London. Over the next 15 years Marc grew his portfolio to over 85 properties. While successful, self-managing his portfolio became increasingly difficult.

With technological advances and greater connectivity, he assumed there was software available that would allow him to manage his business from his smart phone, while sipping espresso at the local coffee shop. Following a long search, he found that nothing quite cut the mustard. So being an entrepreneur, he started Arthur Online to make not only his life easier, but also that of other property managers.

Arthur Online is a cloud-based platform that enables property managers to respond instantly and solve problems fast from anywhere in the world, be it with tenants, contractors, property owners or letting agents. Since launching in 2015, it has helped thousands of property managers like Marc run their portfolios in the cheapest, most efficient way possible by using the full potential of new technology and cloud computing. To find out more about Arthur Online, visit www.arthuronline.co.uk.