Using Bar Codes to make quick grade entries:
A bar code is just a series of bars that represent a character string. You could use a bar code scanner, hooked to your computer, to enter the text encoded in the bar code symbols, just like typing them in. All you need is a way to generate the bar code symbols, plus a bar code scanner for your computer.
I use bar codes to enter grades for in-class lecture activities, and lab sections, for a large number of students in my oceanography course. Students each get a bar code sheet that encodes their 6 digit "Perm" number, an ID number assigned by the university.
The links above will take you to a page where a student can make a 3 across x 11 down sheet of barcode labels for you to scan in. Each student should have an ID, preferably more than 6 digits. Then you, the instructor, can use the other sheet to make bar codes for each of the possibly grades you might give. It works best if there are a smaller number of grade possibilities. I use it for a check plus, check, check minus type grading with 3 levels, but it could be used for any granularity if you are willing to print more sheets.
Make sure you get one with a USB interface!
Entering barcode grades: I use EarthEd Online software to enter barcode grades, but you can use Excel. I haven't created a template spreadsheet, so if you do, send me a link or a copy and I'll post it. A large time sink, for a large class, is sorting a large number of papers before entering grades. So, when setting up the Excel spreadsheet, make sure that you set it up to associate student ID's, entered in random order, with a list of names and ID's that is your class list. Then, you just scan in an ID, scan the grade value, (a return or tab can be generated after each barcode scan), and scan away. Then you let Excel associate the ID's and grades with the entries in the class list. It should take less than 10 minutes to do more than 100 students, depending on how much time you spend looking at each product.