How to automate data entry with a bot
# Why automate data entry with bots?
Who wouldn’t want to automate data entry? 🥱 It’s rather a tedious manual task, after all, and one that the average employee spends a significant amount of time on 🕥. Due to its repetitive nature, it can be challenging to maintain focus, resulting in errors.
Thanks to automation, repetitive inputting of data can be delegated to bots, eliminating errors, increasing productivity, and freeing up valuable time. 🤖 Bots will never get bored like me or you, and watching them do their thing in the browser is just magical. Read on to learn how to build your very own data entry bot.
# What exactly is a data entry bot?
It’s like having your own digital assistant 🦾 that you can delegate your data entry tasks to. Axiom.ai’s bots are highly customizable, and you can use them to automate almost anything in the browser, without having to use code. The beauty of learning to create bots is that they can be tailored to your specific requirements by mimicking your actions.
# What would you recommend using a data entry bot for?
If you are manually entering data into a web app in the Chrome browser, then the data entry task can be automated. Our customers are automating data entry into thousands of different web apps, ranging from 💡 social media platforms, to 💡 e-commerce and listing apps, to 💡 CRM and legacy web apps.
# How does a data entry bot work?
Data entry bots run in your Chrome browser and are built to mimic your actions, from logging into web apps, entering data into webforms, and submitting it. It can pull your data for inputting from sources such as Google Sheets, CSVs and web hooks. What’s more, if you have multiple data entry tasks, you can run multiple bots, and schedule them to run day and night.
# Let’s learn how to build a data entry bot with Axiom.ai
With Axiom's no-code bot builder, you can create bots for data entry use cases without having to code. Instead, use a simple point-and-click interface to create as many data entry bots as you want. By following the steps below, you'll have a working bot inputting rows upon rows of data into your web app in no time.
In this example, we’re going to show you how to take data from a Google Sheet and enter it into a webform. However, you can easily adapt this design pattern to any data source.
If you're eager to start, why not give this template. a try?
# 1. Set up your Google Sheet
Create a new Google Sheet. You can do this in your Chrome browser by entering 'sheet.new' into the address bar. Don’t forget to name your sheet something like 'Data’. Then add some data to test your bot with.
# 1. Add first step
To build your bot from scratch, click on 'Add first step’. This will open the step selector and you can start adding steps to your bot.
# 3. Add your first step: ‘Read data to a Google Sheet’
Use the Step Finder to search for ‘Read data to a Google Sheet’ and click on it. The step will be added to Axiom for you to configure.
In the field called 'Spreadsheet URL', you can search for and upload the Google Sheet you are using as your data source, by name. Once found, click on it to select.
For 'Sheet name' click on the drop-down and select the correct tab.
In the 'First cell' field, toggle the switch and enter 'A1’. This setting tells the bot where to start reading data.
In the 'Last cell' field, click the toggle switch and enter 'A10'. You have limited the bot to read ten rows. This is fine for now, you can increase the amount later once you’ve tested it.
If you want to learn more about Google Sheet steps, watch these videos (opens new window).
# 4. Add the ‘Loop through data’ step
Next, add a new step by entering ‘Loop through data’ into the Step Finder, and adding it. This step will allow your bot to loop through the rows of data stored in the Google Sheet.
# 5. Add the ‘Go to page’ sub step
Staying within the ‘Loop through data’ step, it’s time to add a sub step (click the white ‘Add step’ button).
Use the Step Finder to search for ‘Go to page’ and click on it. The step will be added for you to configure.
In the field called 'Enter URL', cut and paste the URL to the site you want to input data.
# 6. Add further sub steps needed for the data entry
Continuing within the same step, add further sub steps. You’ll need to add a combination of sub steps that will enter data into the inputs found in the form you want to automate.
You can choose from the following steps:
- Enter text - for entering data into inputs
- Select list - for automating drop-down menus
- Click element - Use for radio buttons (option buttons), toggles and checkboxes
Use the Step Finder to find and add the right combination of steps for your task.
You will then need to configure each step. Click ‘Select’ to tell it which element to interact with, and the ‘Insert data’ to pass data from the Google Sheet.
# 7. Add the ‘Click element’ sub step to submit the form
Still within the ‘Loop through data’ step, add the ‘Click element’ sub step to submit the form. Add it, then click ‘Select’ to highlight the submit button in the web form and click confirm.
Top tip: If the submit button has unique text, use the custom select option. Click ‘Select’ then ‘Custom’ and tick the box labeled ‘Use text by element instead of html’.
# 8. Add the ‘Delete rows from a Google Sheet’ sub step
Add a further sub step, 'Delete rows from a Google Sheet', to delete the row of data just entered. This is to prevent the same row from being entered repeatedly. Search for the step using the Step Finder, and add it.
Next, in ‘Spreadsheet URL’, upload the Google Sheet you are using as your data source.
For 'Sheet name' click on the drop-down and select the correct tab.
Then, in 'First row to delete' enter the number 1 and repeat this in 'Last row to delete', so that both are set to 1.
# 9. Ready to test
And that’s it! Your bot should look something like the below.
Now you’re ready to test in the Axiom desktop app, by clicking ‘Run’.
You may want to test without actually submitting the form. You can do so by disabling the ‘Click Element’ set up in step 7. See how in the image below:
When you’ve finished testing and you want to increase the size of your loop, edit the ‘Last cell’ field mentioned in step 3 and run again.
# 10. Running the bot
You can run this bot in the cloud and the desktop app. If you want to learn more about scheduling, See here.
Please note that if you build a bot on the desktop app when logged in, your session will be shared. However if you run the bot in the cloud, the session will not be shared. Learn how to work around this here.
# Issues you may encounter with your data entry bot
- The bot is looping through the same row? Check that step 8 is correctly configured and is deleting rows in the Google sheet.
- Data is entered in the wrong input? You may want to use ‘Wait’ steps to ensure the automation is in sync with the page load.
- Content is loading as you automate form? You may want to use ‘Wait’ steps to ensure the automation is in sync with the page.
Don't forget we offer excellent customer support. If you need help, get in touch.
👩🎓 Congratulations, you've learned how to make and use a data entry bot to input data into web forms. With this newly acquired skill, you know how to automate data entry into any web app and how to loop through large volumes of data. The sky's the limit with your new super powers. 🧙 👩🚀 👩🔬
# What else can I automate with Axiom?
If you're excited, here are some ideas for other bots: extract data from your email app (such as Gmail), generate content, and send direct messages on Instagram. We have steps to extract data with AI and to generate text with AI. Take a look at our templates here.