Turning a website into an Excel table can be a chore when done manually. Learn how to automate this extraction in just 3 simple steps.
Attracting over 750 million users worldwide, Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular applications for organizing, formatting, and calculating data. Excel files are a great example of structured data, allowing users to easily manipulate datasets and gain insight into gathered data thanks to tables, graphs, and other visualizations.
Utilizing the unimaginable amount of data available online with the features of Excel would therefore be a powerful combo that could bring your data analysis to a whole new level. In this article, we’ll be looking at ways to extract online data and bring it into Microsoft Excel using web scraping tools that don’t require any programming knowledge.
Can Excel scrape data from a website?
With some time and patience, yes. There are 3 ways you can import online data to Excel without using any additional tools:
- Copy and pasting a website’s content into the application manually
- Using “Web queries”
- Using “Visual Basic for Application” language (VBA)
While using these techniques can be quite straightforward when using online tutorials, they’re either designed to only scrape tables within websites or need some sort of programming knowledge to set up properly.
Using web scraping tools to export web data into Excel
Web scraping is the process of extracting data from the web automatically. Therefore, using web scraping tools should minimize the effort put into extracting data in bulk, which can be exported in a myriad of machine-readable formats, including Microsoft Excel.
While web scraping tools can be found on portals such as GitHub, intended for developers, platforms like Apify Store try to provide users with a more user-friendly no-code approach to web scraping. Apify does this by offering tools called actors that are designed to scrape specific websites (such as YouTube scraper, Pinterest scraper, and many more) and are easy to set up. You can then choose Excel as the output format, turning the objects on the page into a structured table.
Apify actors make it possible to automate data scraping from any website and you can always download the scraped data in Excel format. Then you just open the Excel file.
Is scraping data to Excel legal?
Scraping publicly available data from the web into formats such as Excel is legal. But just like with any other online activity, you still need to comply with certain regulations, especially concerning copyright and personal data. These regulations vary based on where you are in the world, so make sure to do your research before attempting to scrape data that might be intellectual property or private information.
How to scrape data from a website to Excel
So, let’s get to it! Automated data scraping from websites to Excel with Apify can be broken down into 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Find the right tool in Apify Store
Apify Store works just like any other app store: just search for an actor you’d like to use based on the website you want to scrape. Most scrapers are free, although you may come across some paid ones - no need to worry; even these offer a free trial without the need for a credit card. After you find your scraper, click the Try for free button, after which you’ll be prompted to sign in or make an account if you don’t already have one. Thankfully, you can speed up the process by signing in through your Google or GitHub profile. For this example, we’re going to be using Twitter Scraper.
Step 2: Choose the website and data to scrape
Now, fill in the input schema to tell your actor what website you’d like to scrape and what data you want. With Twitter Scraper, we decided to scrape top 30 results from the handle @apify (yup, we’re also on Twitter, so don’t forget to give us a follow). If you’re not sure what the individual inputs mean, hover your mouse over the question mark next to them to get an explanation. The actor readme (you can find this on the actor’s page in Apify Store) can also be of great help if you feel lost when filling out the schema. After you’re done, just hit the Save & Start button and wait for your scrape to finish.
Step 3: Download your results!
After the run is successfully finished, it’s time to get your Excel file. In the output tab, you’ll see two versions of your data - Overview or All fields. After clicking export, you can choose from these two variants. While Overview datasets are simple and neat, if you want to get all of the data from the scraped website, choose All fields.
And, don’t forget, you’re not limited to just the Excel format when it comes to exporting data from Apify Console!
Now that you have your data, it’s time to explore the world of web scraping with a bigger pool of actors: Interested in social media? Try our Instagram, TikTok, or Reddit scrapers. If you’d prefer to scrape product listings and their sellers, give the Amazon, eBay, or AliExpress scrapers a go. Looking for new hires? Scrape job listings from Indeed or Glassdoor.
With over a thousand ready-to-use actors in Apify Store, millions of different tables can be exported using our platform. But, naturally, not every website has its own scraping tool (yet 😉). If you’d like to try scraping a page that does not have a dedicated scraper, you can use our most popular actor - Web Scraper. It might be a bit tricky in the beginning, but if you follow our tutorial, you’ll be able to turn any website into an Excel spreadsheet in no time!