What is Data Entry?

March 2nd, 2015

What is Data Entry?

As a company that digitises over a million images each month as well as supplying data capture and data entry services, we get asked this question a lot. Often people aren’t sure about the difference between data capture and data entry. Sometimes they’re not sure what the benefits of data entry are. In this article, we will go into some detail as to what data entry is and how it can benefit your organisation.

So What is Data Entry?

As silly as it may sound, data entry does exactly what it says on the, ahem, ‘tin’ (so to speak). A person or even an automated system will enter data, which was previously only available physically, into digital format. However, there’s more to it than that short answer.

Services, like Pearl Scan, which provides data entry and data capture solutions will often be able to differentiate between the two by looking at the documents you want digitised, such as surveys or feedback forms. These forms will have been entered by staff at a company or the customers of a business when the company is looking to find out more about the behaviour and interests of their buyers.

Data entry at its most basic is the entry of words and numbers seen on a document. This can be done by scanning the document into a system and running it through a complicated OCR system to extract the words, numbers, and characters. However, this cannot be applied to handwriting, which often appears on these kinds of forms in textboxes for further comments. Sadly technology is not yet at a point where handwriting is easy to convert automatically by computers, so we usually rely on good old human data entry to fill in what’s been written.

When they outsource their data entry project, people can often worry about the extra costs of manual data entry but with companies like Pearl Scan, it usually adds very little expense.

What About Data Capture?

Data entry is also not to be confused with data capture. Data capture is similar but the process is normally mostly automated. Data capture is performed mainly to extract the data of multiple-choice style check and tick boxes.

‘Yes’ and ‘No’ answers are also usually done via data capture services. If you have a form that has a mixture of both, it is still possible to process them at the same time and send all of the results back to you in a cohesive format. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, data capture forms don’t have to have a specific layout so your data entry can be whatever you need it to be.

OCR and Data Entry

OCR or Optical Character Recognition is a form of extracting data from scanned documents to make them editable in their digital format. For example, you can scan an old book and convert the text into a readable format, mainly Microsoft Word .doc format. This provides easy editing for reprint and export to PDF. OCR is an essential element of what makes non-handwritten data entry what it is. OCR software, or at least the most accurate and powerful, is usually developed by the company providing the OCR service.

We hope this post has gone some way to providing you with the information you need but if you have any more questions about data entry and how it can help your organisation, don’t hesitate to get in touch.