OCR denotes converting printed material into word processing or text files that can be read, edited, and managed using computers. OCR also refers to the mechanical or electronic conversion of handwritten words to typewritten data into this type.
Typically, OCR software is employed to carry out this conversion. You can use OCR software as a form of data entry from printed paper data records, whether
- Passport documents
- Bank statements
- Computerized receipts
- Business cards
- Printouts of static data or any suitable documentation
Optical character recognition (OCR) is the electronic conversion of images of typed, handwritten, or printed text into machine-encoded text, whether from
- A scanned document
- A photo of a document
- A scene photo (for example, the text on signs and billboards in a landscape photo)
- From subtitle text superimposed on an image (for example: from a television broadcast)
It is a standard method of digitizing printed texts so that they can be
- Electronically edited
- Stored more compactly
- Displayed online
- Used in machine processes such as
- Cognitive computing
- Machine translation, (extracted) text-to-speech
- Key data and text mining.
Optical character recognition is a field of research in pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, and computer vision.
What makes OCR Software so important?
Suppose you want a computer, tablet, smartphone, or other devices ‘read’ data that’s not in computer-compatible forms, like words on a printed page. In that case, it will be scanned and fed into a scanner or sent digitally via email.
However, this data is reserved as an ‘image’ because the computer is concerned, not text. Meaning none of the actions you can perform on text (editing, formatting, deleting, etc.) you can do on this ‘image.’
Optical character recognition software turns this ‘image’ into text so that it is in a more practical, usable form. In effect, OCR software can convert graphic images from a scanner (from, say, a JPG or PDF file) into a TXT or DOC file, which will process quickly.
How Does OCR Software Work?
By expanding this to use handwritten notes, we will see that using OCR technology does much more than recognize and convert patterns into text.
No two people write the identical way, which suggests that OCR handwriting recognition software encounters different patterns that may denote the same letter or word. You can also print books, documents, and pages with different typefaces or subtle differences.
How, then, does the OCR software read?
There are two points to notice in understanding how OCR software uses technology to read patterns and features. You can design an easy optical character recognition program to read and recognize many different fonts and patterns.
When you present any consistent patterns to the software, it uses technology to convert it to electronic text accurately, so it becomes searchable. However, this is often not a complete solution because innumerable fonts exist, and the handwriting of various persons may not conform to set patterns.
ICR, or Intelligent Character Recognition, is a complicated version of OCR, and it uses feature extraction technology to spot and ‘understand’ characters. You may apply a group formula to check if the presented data conforms to a pattern.
For instance, to read the letter A, the software may check if two angled lines are present that meet at the highest with a horizontal line bisecting both at the center.
The Immense Impact of Optical Character Recognition
OCR (along with paperless document management) can make life easier in some ways. Here are some of the most significant benefits we stand to gain from the product:
- Printed matter is often stored efficiently, quickly, and highly compactly after using a scanner
- You can reduce an area full of books and manuscripts to nothing more than images on a thumb drive
Printed material is often easily edited once it is in digital form. I was rummaging through books for a specific passage, or even a single word isn’t a practical solution when working with printed matter.
A computer can do that in seconds when you store data as text. It then becomes searchable.
Optical character recognition is a fantastic tool for revolutionizing this field of work for research purposes. In businesses, OCR technology brings about robust solutions with efficiency. Statistically, of the 12 minutes required by an employee to make and process a document, 9 minutes are spent locating and getting it ready.
A document scan already in readable form on the computer can be accessed with a few clicks in seconds, improving productivity immensely. Enhanced accessibility is another advantage of optical character recognition.
A book could also be accessible to those physically close to it. However, material that’s in digital form can be accessed by or sent to people located anywhere in the globe. What’s more, many users have the right to access the matching document at the same time.
Safeguarding vital documents becomes much easier when the fabric is in digital form. Books, manuscripts, and files may all be damaged beyond repair thanks to various unforeseeable reasons—water leakage, fire, poor handling, etc.
Having these documents in a digital format allows you to store them in more than one safe location as backup solutions so that critical data is never permanently lost or damaged beyond use.
You can achieve substantial savings by opting for optical character recognition and paperless document management. Using the OCR software’s advanced technology to convert and scan print data into digital images allows you to avoid spending on filing, archiving, and storage.
There’s no need for supplies such as paper, ink, or files to store these documents, nor is there a need for staff members to carry out these tasks. The prices saved here can reach thousands of dollars over a year.
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