Problems With the Manual Entry of Data

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In the modern age of digital commerce, data entry is an invaluable tool. Data entry encompasses the act of transferring data from a physical state into a digital state and any procedures that might require, such as entering email addresses into a database. While data entry is so needed it can also be the root of woes for a business when adding a human element.

Human Error

Humans make mistakes. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, misinterpretation of data, not saving work and mistyping in the wrong fields are all common errors seen in the data entry field. To combat these problems, data entry employees should take frequent breaks, double check work, minimize distractions and work at a fast but still accurate pace. Using headphones or earbuds to listen to music, if appropriate, will increase focus and minimize distraction. Employers should equally provide ways for their data entry employees to lessen mistakes with adequate and proper training, utilization of advanced and reliable spell and grammar check software, built-in save reminders at preset intervals, reports to keep employees aware of their accuracy, positive and encouraging feedback and friendly contests with rewards for consistent high accuracy.


No matter how fast humans can type, process data and think quickly, speed will always cause a problem in data entry. Employees do not work at the exact speed during an entire work day. Your Brain At Work notes that "Some studies have demonstrated that individual differences in patterns of circadian arousal -- the time of day that we are most alert -- correlate with performance on a variety of cognitive tasks, and that such performance peaks more or less regularly at a specific point in the day." Distractions, number of breaks and fatigue also affect how fast a human can input data. The type of computer, software and network utilized to input data can also affect speed. Networks, processors, hardware and software should be kept updated to the latest versions to eliminate the possibility the tools slowing data entry down.


Misinterpretation of data being entered is another problem seen often in data entry. Each person interprets something slightly differently, and the impression may not always be accurate. The brain will often insert words where in reality they do not exist. Allison Sekuler of the University of Toronto explains "What many people don't realize is that the objects we see are not necessarily the same as the information that reaches our eyes, so the brain needs to fill in those gaps of missing information." Saying out loud the data to be entered and double checking just-entered data combats this problem by forcing the data entry operator to be accurate.

Availability and Cost

Data entry workers, while generally in large supply, sometimes will not be available for work or cost too much. If conflicting or limited schedules are a problem, one or two additional data entry team members should be hired. Outsourcing helps to avoid the high cost of hiring full time data entry staff. Independent contractors or workers overseas, with the adequate training, proper supervision and communication have the potential to be as sufficient data entry staff as those working on site.