What Is Optical Character Recognition and Why Is It Important?
If you’ve never heard of optical character recognition technology and you’re a bit confused about what it all means, you’re in the right place. The scanning team at Pearl Scan have broken it all down for you – read on for everything you need to know.
What is OCR?
Optical character recognition is a type of technology which recognises characters in different types of files, allowing it to identify data and make it searchable. It can convert a range of files including scanned paper text documents, digital images and PDF files.
It gives users the opportunity to edit text from a scanned image – something that isn’t usually possible. For example, if you receive an email with an attachment of a scanned image of a letter, you cannot then edit the letter in Microsoft Word or quickly search and retrieve certain data from it.
Traditionally, scanners only have the capacity to take a snapshot of a document and create an image file. You cannot edit the image of the document; OCR technology enables people to extract and edit the content of the document for a number of purposes.
How does it work?
OCR technology analyses the structure of a document and breaks it down into different elements. Blocks of text, images and other formatting features are all separated, and the program starts work on the text. Lines are divided into word, and then it begins to recognise each individual character.
Benefits of Using OCR
The development of optical character recognition brings so many benefits, especially to businesses. Here are just a few:
OCR can be used to rapidly capture data from a number of documents, including feedback forms, surveys and questionnaires. Once these are scanned and stored digitally, in Excel or any other program you choose, the technology allows for fast searching, creating searchable PDF documents, to analyse the results.
With most people having smartphones with cameras, it’s never been easier to snap things on-the-go and email to colleagues. However, most people wouldn’t have done this for important docs such as medical files or legal transcripts, as it’s not usually possible to save images as text files. With OCR it’s easy to convert, and then edit the documents if needed. This saves precious time in busy offices where there is no time for walking up ten floors to different departments to pass files and documents!
Editing old documents
Maybe you’re a publisher and want to re-visit old texts – simply send them to Pearl Scan headquarters to scan, and you can easily edit them from your computer. Perhaps you’re an office manager or HR manager and want to convert to a paperless office – scan all your paperwork and edit employment records, work processes and more instantly.
To find out more about OCR scanning, visit our dedicated page: pearl-scan.co.uk/scanning-services/ocr-conversion-and-processing/