Businesses rely on the internet to get all kinds of critical information—from contact information, shipping tracking, competitor pricing, data from portals, and more. And while these tasks seem simple, searching websites and portals and copying and pasting the information into Excel can quickly take up a lot of your precious time. Plus, manually entering data into a spreadsheet is highly prone to human error. But with robotic process automation (RPA), you can streamline these repetitive tasks with automated data scraping from websites.
Automated data scraping collects data across many sources and pulls it into one spot—like an Excel spreadsheet—to eliminate errors and give you time back to work on more critical projects. Here are just some of the ways real companies are using automated data scraping:
- Gathering contact information from an online portal
- Price comparisons for competitive analysis
- Monitoring real estate prices from MLS
- Testing data for machine learning projects
- Tracking shipments from UPS, FedEx, etc.
- And many more!
Steps for Data Scraping from Website to Excel
There are several ways to scrape data from a web page that involve creating custom processing and filtering algorithms for each site. These require you to write additional scripts or create a separate tool to integrate the scraped data with the rest of your IT infrastructure. But with the data scraping tool from Automate, the RPA solution from Fortra, you can easily take information from webpages and put it directly into an Excel sheet to analyze—all without writing any code.
In the video below, you’ll see an Automate bot running a task that enters UPS tracking numbers into the UPS website, performs automated data scraping to get delivery tracking information, and enters it into an Excel file. After the task runs, it goes on to show how that task was built. Watch and then try it yourself with this helpful, step-by-step tutorial.
In the video above, you’ll see an Automate bot running a task that enters UPS tracking numbers into the UPS website, performs automated data scraping to get delivery tracking information, and enters it into an Excel file. After the task runs, it goes on to show how that task was built. All but step 1 are shown in the video.
Step 1: Download an Automate trial
Step 2: Build the task by starting with variables. (If you need a basic primer on how to build Automate tasks, Automate Academy is a great place to learn.)
In this task, you’ll add variables for file names, rows, etc. Notice that this task builder is drag and drop, with no coding required!
Step 3: Open Excel workbook to get tracking numbers. You’ll store this as a dataset to use later on.
Step 4: Add a step to create a report workbook to write the dataset to.
Step 5: Use the report workbook with tracking numbers and column headings in a web browser activity.
Step 6: Identify which pieces of information you need. This will include telling the Automate bot where to find the data you want scraped. Put this on a loop to go through all the tracking numbers to do automated data scraping from the UPS website into Excel.
Step 7: For each piece of data you want scraped from the website, write the variable value to a cell in the workbook.
This is just one example of Excel automation. There are so many other ways Automate and Excel can work together to take manual work off your plate.
Download Automate and Try it Yourself!
Get started with Automate and see how our data extraction tools keep your critical data moving without the need for tedious manual tasks or custom script writing.