What Is Optical Character Recognition?

ocr technology

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:

Data capture

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.

Easier sharing

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-scanning-conversion

Green Office Week

Green Office Week – 9th-13th May 2011 How Will You Help?

Printing and distribution company Avery have announced an initiative known as Green Office Week which is starting to take off across the UK and Europe and has been endorsed by the Government as well as many local councils. The initiative is made to encourage people to be more green in the way they work and what they do around the office. Their official website is quoted as saying:

Green Office Week is an award-winning initiative designed to address green issues in the workplace and encourage office workers to spring into action and adopt practical ways to help the environment.As well as raising awareness, the week will encourage offices to review purchasing habits in line with environmental targets, devise action plans for the future and celebrate the achievements of people who consider the environment at work.

This is in fact an excellent idea as this encourages people from all different kinds of working life to be more green and efficient around the office and the benefits that can come from that both for better environmental benefits as well as developing staff morale.

green office week

Some of the things that will be happening during the week will consist of: Here are some of the activities designed to help you turn your office into a green office:

  • Between Monday 9th to Friday 13th May, organisations will be encouraged to think about practical ways in which they can make a difference to the environment.
  • Each day has a unique theme and includes Action on Energy, Action on Travel, Action on Waste, Action on What you buy for the office and a celebration on Friday.
  • You can access information about environmental issues from responsible purchasing and recycling to reducing your carbon footprint. You can also get involved and .
  • The exclusive, limited edition Green Offices for Dummies Guide is back for the third year! It's packed full of practical hints, tips and case studies with input from a leading Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expert who advises businesses across the UK and Europe with their CSR.
  • Take part in our TwitCam which will be led by CSR expert, Nicky Amos and the Green Office Week Ambassadors. It's an eco-friendly and fun way to share ideas and tips with other people in green offices around the country.
  • By the end of the week we hope to celebrate a change in the attitude of employees across the UK. And for you all to give yourselves a big pat on the back that you have taken the first steps to make your office greener.

They even offer a free Green Office for Dummies guide to get you started. So it's all very involving, educational and helpful. But as always there are issues with schemes like this. Firstly, they usually have to end. A lot of the time events and 'weeks' can be seen as novelties and not carried on after the actual time-frame, which can also be seen as a way of having a bit more fun at work. I hope it is, I really do, but these things can be quickly forgotten and moved away from when, right now, we need to be concentrating on the environment and improving our efficiency, jointly and as much as ever before. There are a number of ways that the environment can become a better place in and around the office and it happens to be in an industry where I work; paper and documents. As marketing manager here you can ask anyone that knows me; I am incredibly passionate about doing whatever we can to improve the environment and one of the things I really love about this company is how we can help companies from all walks of live, across the UK, not only improve their effects on our eco-system, but how we can often improve their efficiency ten-fold. As has been illustrated in the past, recycling and helping the environment is a very good thing to do, but can end up costing more. This isn't always the case. Every day I take the bus into work and I recycle to the best that I can and I am proud when I do that, so it encourages me to work for a company that can help in this way as well as improve these companies working processes. And what we do...actually isn't that costly either. I'm talking about document scanning on a larger scale and converting all documents into digital files. This means there is less paper around and more organisation and efficiency as all the documents and files are in one place, but beyond this;

green document scanning

it encourages worked to carry on with being digital rather than printing.

- files can be found in a blink of an eye rather than having to search through hundreds, if not thousands, of files.

files can be shared between desks and offices; not by being printed, but by being transferred through email or over the company network.

This saves potentially immense amounts of money on a year by year basis as well as improving the environment by using considerably less paper and considerably less ink, cutting company costs as well as environmental ones too.

We can charge from as little as 1p per sheet for large scale projects and can index the files very cheaply too and we can also send your files through our specialist OCR system if you need which will render the digital files searchable by text which will make finding reference numbers, names and addresses a great deal easier.

These days this is the simply the best possible way to help the environment whilst saving your company countless hours and potentially thousands of pounds per year.

Find out more on our official website.

Why stop after the one week of Green Office Week when you can continue to help long after? It's a fantastic initiative and one that should become something that operates in the office every day of every year.

Amazon Pays eBook Authors Per Page Read

amazon newsBig news for authors everywhere! Amazon have reviewed the way they pay authors of Kindle eBooks.

Previously, the online retail giant paid those authors who published via the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) on the basis of how many times their books were borrowed. Under the new plans, scheduled to come into force on July 1st, authors will now see their income based on how many pages of their books were read by borrowers.

The move has been welcomed by eBook authors with a dedication to creating quality content who feel that the newBook Scanning Service12 system encourages the better written books which would otherwise have been paid the same as those deemed to be more poorly written; if a reader begins a book but decides they don’t like it and stop reading early on, the author will earn less than if the reader loved the book and read to the end.

For more information about the new payment system, you can find a detailed explanation in this Amazon announcement.

How Can You Benefit From The Change?

For those of you who are already established eBook authors, you have the potential to earn more money from your work but if you haven’t yet branched out to electronic publishing and you have found yourself surrounded by hard copy work, we have a solution.

If you like the idea of unlocking a brand new audience and earning an income based on how much of your work is read, you can get your hard copy books scanned to a Kindle format with no hassle.

Here at Pearl Scan, we have scanned books for a number of different writers wanting to convert hard copy books to eBook format for sale on popular digital marketplaces like Amazon.

Our book scanning services have been designed so they can be tailored to suit the needs of each individual writer or publisher. Whether you need your books in a format which will aid further editing of your work before publishing or you want it converted to any of the popular eBook formats, we can help. We provide both bound and unbound book scanning depending on whether you need your book to remain intact or not.

For more information about the different options we offer with our book scanning service, give us a call and speak to a member of our experienced sales team who can suggest the options best your project and draw up a quote. We have a dedicate book scanning page with more information about our book scanning service.