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Grab It! Digitize Excel Data


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Microsoft Excel Based Application That Digitizes Data From Pictures

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Grab It! is a Microsoft Excel based application that digitizes data from pictures. Graphs and charts can have data point values digitized and angle and distance measurements can also be made on photos. Skewed graphs are handled automatically (sometimes scanning isn't perfectly straight) as well as linear, log, date or time charts. Output is displayed in real time and special features for error bar graphs, stock charts, and multiple data sets are included.

Load Grab It!

1. Grab It! runs using Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2003, 2007 and above.

-From Excel 97 and above, Use the File menu, then load "Grab It!.xls" from the location that you installed it to (default is C:\Program Files\DataTrend Software\Grab It! XP)

Load your picture

2. Load your picture into Grab It! by clicking on the "Load Picture" button.

-File types supported are gif, jpg, bmp, dib, wmf, emf, ico, cur.
-Have a tif or something else?

Choose the type of data to retrieve

3. Grab It! handles chart data and also photographic measurements.

For a chart or graph:
-Choose the x and y axis type (linear, log, date, time)
-Choose a "Special Graph Style" drop down box item for special styles. (high/low/open/close stock charts, x and y error bars, or multiple y points per x point)
For a photographic measurement:
-Choose either point-to-point measurement or angle measurement.

Calibrate your picture scale

4. Follow the instructions in Cell B1 to calibrate Grab It!

-This process involves clicking the axis endpoints, or scale bar endpoints.
-Grab It! will guide you through this process with prompts in Cell B1.
-Angle measurements do not require calibration.

5. Format your output as desired

-x and y output can be separately formatted as numeric, scientific, date, time, or general.

Grab It!

6. Click directly on your data points.

-Grab It! will guide you with prompts in Cell B1.
-Data appears in real-time Starting in column C.
-For multiple data sets, click the "Next Data Set" button.

 7. Data can be cleared after saving and a new picture loaded.

Examples of data retrieved with Grab It!

Scientific Publication:

Published data can be accurately captured.
This example shows a graph of fracture test data. Assume that this is published in the literature and you would like to add your data to it to show agreement or disagreement and then re-publish all the data in your own paper (with copyright permission from the other author). Instead of manually picking off points, have Grab It! record the points for you. It's much faster, and more accurate.

Energy vs Fracture Data

Scaled Picture Analysis:

Any picture with a scale mark can be measured.
The screenshot below shows a micrograph with a 1 micron scale mark in the lower right corner. Measurements of the width of the "needle" shaped features are shown in column C. This principle can be used with maps, schematics, micrographs, or any photo with a scale mark. The speed of just clicking on two sides of a feature and the accuracy of the results make this a simple and valuable feature.

Scaled Micrograph

Financial Analysis:

A downloaded chart is easily changed into data.
This picture shows two stocks (Dell and Msft) on a chart, along with the actual data reported by Grab It! on the right. Set 1 is Dell, and Set 2 is Msft.  Grab It! gives as many data points as you want to click. As a note, this graph is linear scale, and could probably be read without a lot of pain. If this were log scale (common for stocks), that would not be the case. Grab It! handles log and linear with ease.

Msft and Dell

Retrieves data from an imported picture

This Microsoft Excel 97, 2000 or XP or above application can import picture files (gif, jpg, bmp, dib, wmf, emf, ico, cur) and allows the user to retrieve data points on the graph by clicking on it. A graph can be linear or log scale and can also have dates/times on the x-axis instead of numbers. Data is displayed in real time on the spreadsheet. Multiple data sets can be retrieved sequentially.

Additional features include

- Automatically handles rotated charts and graphs (mis-aligned scans)
- A measurement utility to measure point-to-point dimensions.
- An angle measuring function.
- High/Low/Close and High/Low/Open/Close stock chart support.
- x and y error bar retrieval.
- Multiple y values for each x (up to 10).


ZDNet - 5 out of 5 stars!

Grab It! for Excel enables you to get digitized data from images. It lets you use Excel to include a photograph or chart, for example, and determine measurements or data. Uses include extracting data from scientific publications, scaled photographs, and stock market charts. Simply choose the types of X and Y axes, choose a graph type, and select from numeric, scientific, date, time, and general X and Y output. Enter boundaries, and as you select points, their data is inserted into the open Excel spreadsheet. Excellent instructions are included. Grab It! for Excel is an easy-to-use system that eliminates guesswork when it comes to obtaining precise data.

Tested Software Repository
Department of Defense Major Shared Resource Center

"Grab it!" is a PC based utility designed for data extraction from electronic graphical images.  Conveniently interfacible with Microsoft Excel, it allows data from the image to be directly incorporated into the spreadsheet for further manipulation.

Via a simple point and click elucidation, "Grab it!" can extract numerical information from graphical images in a wide variety of commonly used graphical formats, including typical Web files such as JPEG and GIF.  Given the importance of the Web as an information dissemination medium, this provides a useful tool to the scientist or engineer interested in quantifying graphically displayed data.  Armed with a scanner, this functionality can be extended to hard-copy images.

One current limitation of the software is accuracy and precision in that it relies on the user to pinpoint the location of the data points on a screen of only finite resolution.  As a recommendation for refinement of this concept, it might be useful to consider incorporation of image recognition and processing techniques to enhance the precision and accuracy of the data extraction process.

See: Screen Shot


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