You’re not the only one who feels like your brain is going numb from data entry—we all dread it. The endless copy-paste. The checking, and double-checking, and triple-checking that all the data is where it should be (did you spell that one middle name right?).
And then, after all the rechecking, you’re still worried that you might have missed something. But thanks to data entry apps, things don’t have to be this way anymore. We’ve put together a list of five free data entry software that leverage AI and automation to take care of the heavy lifting for you. The days of boring, manual data entry are almost behind you.
Why should you automate your data entry processes?
Freeing yourself up from boredom isn’t the only reason to consider data entry automation. Here are three more reasons why you’ll want to leave manual data entry in the past.
1. They’re time consuming and they can cost you
If you’ve tried to clean up data before, you know how quickly an hour can turn into a day, or even a week. Manual data processes are really time consuming, and having people involved makes them massively prone to errors (we all make typos, right?).
According to IT management professor Raymond Panko, around 88% of Excel spreadsheet formulas have mistakes in them. Yikes. This problem only gets worse as your spreadsheets become larger and more complex, and as more people start contributing to them.
What’s more, trying to weed these problems out is expensive. The 1-10-100 rule developed by authors George Labovitz and Yu Sang Chang assesses how much compromised data can cost a business.
In the first phase, it costs $1 to capture accurate data. But when you hit phase 2—which is when incorrect data has been left unchecked for some time—cleaning it up will cost you $10. And in phase three, when you do nothing at all, it’ll cost you as much as $100. The costs really add up.
2. Your employees get demotivated
Capturing data manually is teeeedious, and it can cause employees to feel stressed and burnt out. If you’re an employer, manager, or team leader, you’ll want to free your employees from stressful tasks wherever you can. You don’t want your hard-working, talent employees getting fatigued from mundane, boring jobs.
3. AI just does a better job
Old-fashioned data entry tools take time to set up, might not serve all your needs, and can be difficult to configure. AI-powered software, however, can take complex inputs, sort them, and categorize them quickly and accurately, and give you the data you need to make informed business decisions.
(Psst: With Magical AI for example, you can even pull data from search results, such as LinkedIn or Crunchbase with just one click—you’ve never created a spreadsheet this lightning fast. We’ll tell you more in a minute.)
The bottom line? It’s time to ditch manual data entry processes. A better way is possible. Here are the best free tools, software, and apps that can help.
The top 5 free data entry tools
Every tool on this list of data entry software is free to use—they don’t just limit you to a free trial, which many other data entry tools and software have. They might have a tiered approach, where you can spend a bit if you want to add more people or unlock additional functionality, but at the very least, their basic plans are completely free.
Let’s dive in.
1. Form Tools
Form Tools is a versatile, open source, web-based data entry software for forms and data. It uses a PHP/MySQL script that is super simple and intuitive—in fact, its easy-to-use interface is what really sets Form Tools apart from other data entry apps. You don’t need to have any coding knowledge to create new forms, and its data visualization module makes it really easy to export your data and use it across different apps.
The forms in Form Tools come in lots of different shapes and sizes. You can use the platform to create your own forms directly on your website, develop private forms for dedicated users, or house data from your forms. The software’s optional modules include powerful advanced features that let you customize your forms to suit your specific needs. And if Form Tools doesn’t quite have what you’re looking for, you can also write your own modules.
You’re allowed to have as many accounts as you like, with each user having their own language settings if you wish (there are over 50 languages to choose from). And if you need support, Form Tools has extensive documentation and tutorials available to help you out.
Magical is an AI-powered data entry app that’s loved by teams at Disney, PayPal, Salesforce, and lots of other companies. It's easy to use, requires no setup, and is entirely no-code, so it works wherever you do.
Magical boasts loads of helpful features for data entry automation. While its text expander helps you to program shortcuts that expand as you type, its autofill capabilities help you to fill in any form, message, or database with any details. When it comes to data entry automation, it’s the tool’s transfers and AI capabilities that you’re likely to find the most useful.
With Magical, you simply open all your source tabs and your destination tab (this could be your CRM, HRM, or a Google Sheet) to allow the transfers feature to transfer either select variables or all data across. That’s it. It’s really that simple—like magic! 🪄
With Magical AI, you can take your workflow automation even further by creating messages from scratch, updating forms with ease, and automating irritating tasks with the touch of a button. Pulling data from search results is similarly simple, and can ensure you have all the data you need exactly where you need it.
Magical is designed to save you hours every week. Give it a try by adding it to Chrome for free.
EmailMeForm is another free data entry app that’s really well known, and with good reason. It advertises itself as the only PCI-certified form builder that can capture customer data and process payments. So if security standard certification, and collecting and managing confidential data, are important to your business, EmailMeForm is a great option.
Like other data entry tools we’ve reviewed, EmailMeForm lets you choose from creating online forms and surveys from scratch, or getting started with editable free templates. Drag and drop your required form fields, integrate them with payment, social and other third party app integrations, and you’re ready to go. It’s also simple and seamless to use—coding novices, you’re in luck.
EmailMeForm lets you create truly beautiful forms, but customizing them to your liking can take some time. The forms are also compatible with any device, and they support all major payment gateways. So if you work in sales, EmailMeForm is ideal.
EmailMeForm’s free version offers unlimited forms for one user, together with standard themes and support. The next level up (for two users) costs $8.25/month if you pay yearly. For plans that are HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI compliant, you’re looking at $30/month if you pay yearly.
A cloud-based data entry software that’s used by over 20 million users, Jotform is a reputable online form builder.
Whether you’re using it to create surveys and polls, or to generate leads, Jotform has you covered. It seamlessly collects a wide variety of data—not just the data you’d expect, but also info like voice recordings, barcodes, and electronic signatures, too—which it can then organize and share with ease.
We love how well Jotform integrates with over 150 other apps, including email marketing services, CRMs, project management boards, and cloud storage apps. Its mobile form-building capabilities are particularly useful if you’re often on the go, and it functions well offline.
Jotform’s Starter plan is free and includes all its core features, but with a few limitations. You’ll only have access to five forms, for example, and you’ll only be allowed 100 monthly submissions. Its competitively priced Bronze, Silver, and Gold plans give you increasing benefits for $34, $39 and $99/month respectively, if you pay yearly.
5. Open Data Kit
Open Data Kit (ODK) is open-source software that is used to collect, manage and use data in resource-constrained environments. It’s particularly popular among researchers and social impact organizations, such as the World Health Organization, the Red Cross, the Jane Goodall Institute, and the World Food Programme. If you work in healthcare, you might find it useful, too.
Got any questions? ODK’s super active online community is available to offer support on using the platform and on mobile data collection more generally.
The software ODK uses is free and open source. If you’re technically savvy, then according to its website, you’ll be fine self-hosting it free of charge on your own server. If not, however, the prices get hefty pretty quickly. It’s $169/month for the Standard plan and $429/month for the Professional plan if you pay yearly.
Save time, money, and resources—automate your data entry today
There’s no doubt that there are some aspects of your work that still need to be done manually. Developing a rapport with leads and closing a deal over a final, well-earned handshake, well, there’s no way of automating that (at least, not yet).
But when it comes to data entry, you should definitely be using tools, software, and apps to help you. Save time, money, and resources by choosing from our list of free data entry software above, and watch how quickly you’ll get results.