Optical Character Recognition
During your foray into the world of document scanning, you’ve likely encountered the term “OCR” and may even know that it stands for “Optical Character Recognition“. But what exactly is OCR and how can you make the best use of this sophisticated and valuable tool?
We’re here to give you a run-down of what you need to know about Optical Character Recognition, answer any questions you might have, and recommend the best OCR software solution for your scanning project. Let’s begin!
What is OCR?
The primary purpose of Optical Character Recognition is to quickly and automatically recognize and convert images of machine-printed or typed text into actual electronic data that users can organize, search, and modify. In general, an OCR engine analyzes the pixel data of scanned images and searches for patterns resembling letters, numbers, and other symbols to create a digitized record of characters. While the exact mechanics of this process can be complicated, OCR engines ultimately enable users to easily and effectively perform a wide array of functions such as information entry, processing, categorization, retrieval, and analysis.
Applications of OCR
Optical Character Recognition employs robust technology to digitally convert, recognize, and manage scanned paper and machine-readable documents promptly and accurately. Such reliable OCR capabilities power vital systems, facilitate essential services, improve routine operations, and promote overall efficiency. Two significant methods of such Optical Character Recognition are:
Full Page OCR – Converts the entire page into one of the following formats:
- Plain Text – Basic text information on the page is retained in a consecutive order.
- Formatted Text – Text information is retained in consecutive paragraphs while saving font size and style. This can also preserve tables in a tabular format, such as spreadsheets.
- Exact Copy – All information on the page is retained, including graphics, and placed on the page in the manner that most closely recreates the original document.
- Searchable File – Text information is retained on a hidden layer behind the scanned image, allowing the file’s contents to be searched while retaining the appearance of the original.
Zone OCR – Recognizes document structure and identifies fields of text located on defined fields of the page. This zonal method is often applied for the purpose of indexing and document management. Detailed information can be distinguished and utilized to perform numerous functions, such as saving specific metadata to particular locations, archiving strings of text into organized formats like databases, automating the population of information and processes, and more.