OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software is used to extract text from a digital document. Some scanning software includes OCR so that a document is automatically processed with OCR as it is scanned. The software looks at every line of an image and tries to translate the black and white dots which make up the image into a letter or number.
OCR is used to speed up the data entry process and helps reduce the amount of human error. There does, however, have to be a manual checking procedure in place to correct any unrecognised characters and words.
As well as extracting data from a document OCR is also used to search scanned images for any particular words or phrases. This is a much quicker and more cost effective method than doing it manually by having to read every page of a document.
As powerful as OCR is, it still has limitations and it is only as good as the quality of the original paperwork. The best type, i.e. clean, laser printed pages without lines or boxes can expect a 98% success rate with OCR. Faxes or dot matrix printed documents can only expect 60-80% accuracy and hand written pages will not be recognised at all.
In conclusion, given the right set of criteria, OCR can work well and effectively with large volumes of data and can give businesses significant cost savings. The technology is constantly evolving and if it is currently unable to meet your business needs, it is well worth revisiting at some point in the future.
For advice and guidance on OCR and scanned documents, please call The IPC Group on 08081 45 46 47.