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Data Entry Guide

Data Entry is the process of entering data into a computer or other electronic device.
Apr 21, 2022 • 11 minute read
Updated on Mar 6, 2023 by Nitin J.
Cover Photo
Data entry refers to the process of entering and updating information into a computer system or database
Data entry can be done manually, through the use of a keyboard and mouse, or automatically, using software and tools such as optical character recognition (OCR) and barcode scanners.
Data entry is an important aspect of many businesses and organizations, as it helps to ensure that accurate and up-to-date information is available for decision-making and analysis
Data entry can be time-consuming and repetitive task, but it is important for maintaining accurate and up-to-date records
The origins of data entry can be traced back to the early days of computers, when data was entered manually into the machine using punch cards or magnetic tape.

What is Data Entry?

Data Entry is the process of entering data into a computer or other electronic device. This can be done manually, using a keyboard or mouse, or automatically, through scanning devices such as optical character recognition (OCR) software and barcode scanners. Data Entry can also be performed by voice recognition software.
The most common type of Data Entry is alphanumeric Data Entry, which involves typing letters and numbers into a computer. Other types of data include numeric-only data (such as zip codes), alpha-only (like names, titles),  image files (such as scanned documents), audio files (such as recorded speeches), and video files (for example, interviews).
Being one of the most popular entry-level jobs, Data Entry is a great way to get your foot in the door at many companies. It's also one of those jobs that can be done from home with just an internet connection - and no commute!
Data entry work has become so popular because it provides flexible hours for people who need them (like stay-at-home parents), good pay relative to other low-skill positions such as retail salesperson or cashier; and does not require any special skills or tools for basic jobs.

How does Data Entry work?

Data Entry works by taking information from one source and transferring it to another. This can be done manually by typing the information from one source into another, or by scanning documents and using OCR software to convert them into text files.
Data Entry is usually performed on a document that has been created in some other format, such as printed records (which are often scanned); hand-written notes/documents; audio recordings for transcription purposes; and images/graphics.
Data Entry is often thought of as being synonymous with "typing" only but there are many other tasks that can be performed too, including speech-to-text using specialized speech-to-text programs, using handwriting recognition software that converts handwriting into the text; image conversion like JPGs or PDF files converted over to Word documents, and so on.
The most common type of Data Entry involves taking handwritten data on paper and converting it into formats that are more appropriate for processing with computers with tools like Word Docs, Excel spreadsheets, or PDFs. This method allows companies to get their old handwritten documents in order, for example, if they have been scanned or photographed but not yet converted into a text format that makes it easier to work with.
Data Entry is sometimes tricky because scanners don't always recognize all types of characters correctly, so sometimes manual intervention may still be required even after being converted over digitally.
Data entry into laptop

What are some examples of Data Entry jobs?

Data Entry is a broad field, covering a wide range of activities. Here are a few examples:
Converting scanned documents into text files that can be edited with word processing software such as Microsoft Word. This is often done with old documents which need to be converted into a digital format.
Converting PDFs into Word Documents or Excel spreadsheets and vice versa to make them easier to read and work with.
Transcribing audio recordings and video files to create a written transcript of what was said or done on those media types. This could be anything from interviews that need to be transcribed for corporate research purposes; to legal proceedings like court cases being recorded to provide accurate information about them later. One common use of transcription is in the medical field where doctors often dictate their notes which are then typed up by a medical transcriptionist.
Filling up forms or other templates with data. This could be anything from customer surveys that need to be tabulated; to online application forms that need to be completed.
Data Entry also covers a lot more tasks like entering customer orders into an order processing system or taking inventory levels from one database and transferring them over to another or updating a CRM system with the latest customer information.

What skills are needed for a Data Entry job?

Specialists in Data Entry are responsible for converting physical and electronic documents into specified formats. Their abilities range from simple, repetitive tasks such as copying and pasting to more complex ones such as data processing and formatting. While Data Entry is a relatively simple job, certain skills do come in handy. Some of these skills are:
Speed in typing and completing work: The less time it takes to enter a document, the faster you can get on with another one. And the faster you can finish your job, the more money you make.
Computer skills: A basic knowledge of computers should suffice since most entry-level Data Entry projects only require an understanding of programs such as Excel or Word. However, if one wants to be in demand for advanced jobs, then they will have to master other specific programs that require more than just basic computer skills. 
Attention to detail: A Data Entry professional should have an eye for detail and a high level of accuracy. This is because any mistakes made can be costly and time-consuming to fix, especially if the company you work for is dealing with sensitive data.
Ability to make accurate entry decisions: This implies that the Data Entry specialist should be able to understand and follow instructions correctly. Depending on the situation, they may also need to use their own initiative to decide what and how data needs to be entered, formatted, and presented.
Familiarity with business terminology: A Data Entry worker should have a basic understanding of business terms and jargon, as this will help them understand the documents they are working with. This is especially important if the company you work for deals with specific industry-related terminology.
Preferably, but not mandatorily, a background in any of the following fields: accounting, bookkeeping, taxation, finance, marketing, business management, or any other related field.

What kind of software tools do I need for Data Entry?

Tools for Data Entry depend on the type of job you are doing. For simple tasks, all you might need is a Microsoft Office suite (or Google Docs) and an internet connection. However, if you are working with scanned documents or audio/video files, you will also need specialized software such as:
Optical character recognition (OCR) software to convert images into text format. Popular OCR programs include ABBYY FineReader and Nuance OmniPage.
Audio/video editing software such as Happy Scribe or Amberscript to transcribe audio/video files.
Data Entry also often requires the use of databases, so knowledge of SQL (Structured Query Language) is a plus.
PDF converters like Able2Extract that can retrieve data from PDF files.

Can I learn Data Entry online?

Absolutely! Although Data Entry is a fairly straightforward task, it still requires some training and practice to get the hang of it. Fortunately, there are a number of websites that can help you learn basic Data Entry techniques. These sites offer free typing lessons and exercises to help you improve your speed and accuracy. There are also paid courses available that will give you a more comprehensive overview of Data Entry. Once you’ve mastered the basics, there are plenty of opportunities to find work online as a freelance Data Entry Specialist and build your expertise along.

How do you become a freelance Data Entry expert?

Becoming a freelance Data Entry expert is not as hard as you may think. Once you have got your basics down, you can start by learning about the different types of jobs out there and which ones are right for you based on your skills, experience level, and availability. You can do this by looking at online job boards or freelancer platforms like where people post their projects and contests every day. In the beginning, you may want to look for smaller jobs that you can complete quickly and easily to get some positive feedback.  As you build up your portfolio and positive feedback, you can start bidding on larger projects.
Of course, you can also use your network to find opportunities. This will help you build a portfolio of work that shows prospective clients what you're capable of.

When and why should I hire a freelance Data Entry Expert?

In today's data-driven economy, businesses of all sizes need to be able to collect, process and analyze large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. This is where Data Entry professionals come in handy. A freelance Data Entry Expert can help you input your data into the appropriate format for analysis or further processing. They can also help clean up your data if it is inaccurate or incomplete. There are a number of reasons why you might want to hire a freelance Data Entry specialist:
You need help entering a lot of data.
You don't have the time or resources to do it yourself.
Your data is inaccurate or incomplete and needs to be cleaned up.
You need someone to transcribe audio/video files into text format.
Sure, you can try to do it yourself, but why spend your valuable time in front of a computer inputting data when you can use that time to grow your business? And let's not forget, Data Entry can be quite tedious and error-prone if you're not used to doing it. Instead of learning how to do it and losing your time in the process, hiring someone who is already an expert in the field makes more sense. A freelance Data Entry specialist can save you a lot of time and hassle by taking care of your Data Entry needs quickly and efficiently.
Get expert help from a data entry freelancer

Where can I find freelance Data Entry experts?

If you're looking for freelance Data Entry experts, your best bet is to search online job boards and freelancer platforms. These platforms bring together businesses and freelancers from all over the world in one convenient place.
For offline or local options, you can try your local classifieds or newspaper or even a local agency that offers Data Entry services. You can also use your own network by reaching out to people who have worked with freelancers in the past and have had success with them.
That said, even for offline or local options, it's always best to do your research first and check reviews before hiring anyone. And sites like make it easier than ever to find, hire, and work with freelancers from all over the world. The biggest advantage of using a freelancer platform is that you can post your job and receive bids from a large pool of qualified and experienced freelancers. This makes it easy to find the right person for the job, as well as get an idea of how much it will cost.
Data Entry Guide - Image 1

How do I find the right freelancer to hire for my Data Entry job?

When looking for a freelance Data Entry Specialist, you'll want to consider their: 
Speed: How fast can they work? This is particularly important if you have a large amount of data.
Accuracy: Can they input your data accurately? Do they have attention to detail? 
Availability: Can they be there to handle the job when you need them?
Customer Service and Professionalism: Do they communicate effectively? Are they easy to work with? What do their previous clients have to say about them?
Price: What are their rates? Are they affordable to you?
Experience: Do they have experience with your type of data? Do they understand your business? 
Quality of Work: Does their past work meet your standards and your requirements?
Having said that, not all Data Entry Specialists are created equal and the process of finding the right one can be a challenge. To avoid costly mistakes, here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a Data Entry Specialist:
Always look for a professional Data Entry expert: If your budget permits, you should always look for a professional Data Entry specialist or an agency with a good reputation. Not only does this make the entire process easier and less stressful for you, but it also increases the likelihood of your data being error-free and up to industry standard.
Make sure they have completed other tasks similar to yours: You can ask them to show you their previous work samples so you can evaluate them before hiring them. This will help you get a better idea of what you'll be getting.
Check reviews: Checking reviews from previous clients can provide a wealth of information about the person you are considering working with. Don't just rely on the individual's own website, which may be a bit too self-serving. Instead, check forums and other resources where people have reviewed the freelancer’s work.
Keep the freelancer in the loop: By providing the freelancer with clear details about what you need and why, you are more likely to benefit from the freelancer's experience and reach your goals.

How much does a freelance Data Entry Expert cost?

Pricing for Data Entry services can vary depending on the type and scope of work involved. For simple tasks like copying and pasting, you may only need to pay a few dollars per hour. However, for more complex tasks like transcribing audio or video files, you may need to pay upwards of $50 per hour. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to post your job on a platform like and receive bids from qualified freelancers who are interested in working with you.
The other thing to keep in mind is that, as with anything else, you get what you pay for. If you're looking for high-quality Data Entry services, don't be afraid to invest a bit more money. After all, your business depends on the quality of the data being entered!

How do I protect my rights when I outsource a Data Entry job to a freelancer?

If you are outsourcing your Data Entry job, it is important that you understand the legal aspects of outsourcing, such as IP rights. Make sure that you have a written contract in place before the project starts and include all of your expectations, timelines, deadlines, payment terms, etc. This will give both parties peace of mind knowing what they are responsible for.
On you can enter into a legally binding contract with your freelancer through an IP agreement. This will protect your business information and allow you to share it with the freelancer. You can also enter into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) if needed, which is common in cases where sensitive data needs to be shared between parties but not disclosed publicly.


As important as Data Entry is to businesses large and small, it can be quite a tedious and time-consuming task. Not to mention, it's also very error-prone which can lead to costly mistakes. Considering this, businesses may want to outsource this task to Data Entry professionals.
There are plenty of professionals looking for Data Entry jobs, but it's important to find the right person by doing your research and asking questions before hiring anyone! If you are a business owner, we hope the tips provided on this page will help you in this regard.
On the other hand, if you are an individual who is looking to make money from home, there are many jobs available for Data Entry - online and offline. All you need is a computer and an internet connection, which makes Data Entry one of the most accessible opportunities out there with a very low barrier to entry. As for how much you can expect to make, it depends on how much time you want to put into finding clients and the type of work that they need to be done.
So if this sounds like something interesting or exciting for either yourself as a business that could use some expert help with their Data Entry needs; or as an individual looking at job opportunities in Data Entry - then why not get started right away!
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