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OCR: Definition, Benefits, and How to Use It

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What is OCR

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a computerized process for recognizing text or characters in digital images or documents. This technique is commonly used to convert physical documents such as book pages, letters, or invoices into a digital format that can be searched and edited.

Character recognition technology allows machines to read and recognize characters in documents automatically. The OCR process involves scanning a physical document for digital images which are then converted into text that can be accessed and searched on a computer. The application of character recognition technology can help speed up and improve efficiency in document processing, such as in the banking, legal, and health industries. This technology can also help reduce human errors in reading and typing text from documents, which can affect the accuracy and consistency of data.

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Functions of OCR

The following are some of the functions of optical character recognition:

1. Conversion of physical documents into digital formats:

Optical character recognition enables the conversion of physical documents such as letters, invoices, and books into a digital format that can be edited and searched. This allows documents to be stored and shared more easily and efficiently.

2. Document search and processing:

By using optical character recognition, digital documents can be indexed and searched based on content, making it easier for users to quickly find relevant documents. Optical character recognition technology can also be used to process and extract data from documents, such as names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

3. Business process automation:

In the banking, legal, or healthcare industries, optical character recognition can be used to speed up business processes by converting physical documents into digital formats that can be processed automatically. For example, optical character recognition can be used to automatically process insurance claims or medical claims.

4. Handwriting recognition:

Optical character recognition technology can also be used to recognize handwriting in documents. This can help reduce the time and cost required to enter handwritten data into the system.

5. Enable accessibility:

Optical character recognition technology can be used to create accessible digital documents for people with special needs, such as the blind or hard of hearing. Optical character recognition can turn physical documents such as books or magazines into digital text that can be accessed with a screen reader or other device.

Read Also: 5 Functions of OCR for Boosting Digital Businesses’ Performance

How Does OCR Work

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) works by recognizing character or letter patterns in an image or digital document before converting them into editable or searchable text. The following are some of the common work processes of OCR:

1. Image or document scanning:

Physical documents such as letters, invoices, or books are scanned to create digital images. This scan can be done using a scanner or digital camera.

2. Image pre-processing:

Scanned images are then processed to improve image quality and remove noise or distractions. This is done so that images are more easily recognized by optical character recognition technology.

3. Character segmentation:

A digital image that has been processed is then broken down into individual characters or letters. This is done by recognizing the lines or boundaries between each character in the image.

4. Character recognition:

Each character that has been broken down is then analyzed to recognize the corresponding character pattern or letters. Optical character recognition technology uses machine learning models or pre-programmed patterns to compare broken characters with pre-programmed character patterns.

5. Character correction:

Optical character recognition technology then makes corrections to characters that do not match the programmed pattern, or that cannot be identified precisely. This can be done using algorithms or image processing techniques.

6. Text output:

After characters are identified and corrected, optical character recognition technology turns the image into text that can be edited or searched for. This text can then be saved in several digital formats such as PDF or DOCX.

Once the recognition process is completed, the resulting digital text can be edited, searched, or automatically processed. The technology has many benefits that companies can reap across all industries to increase the efficiency of the document processing process.

Read Also: Identifying What OCR or Optical Character Recognition is and Its Functions and how it Works

Here are some examples of OCR Usage:

1. Improved business efficiency:

OCR can be used to convert handwritten or printed documents into digital formats to facilitate the process of storing, searching, and processing data. This can improve business efficiency and reduce costs.

2. Digitization of archives:

OCR can be used to convert physical documents such as letters, reports, and books into digital formats. This makes it easy to access and use documents without having to reprint or re-copy them.

3. Business card scanning:

Optical character recognition can be used to read information from business cards and convert it into a digital format. This makes it easy to store and manage contact information.

4. Form processing:

OCR can be used to read data from forms such as surveys, applications, or questionnaires. This facilitates the process of collecting and processing data.

5. Character recognition in images:

OCR can be used to read out characters in images such as license plate numbers, bar codes, or serial numbers. This facilitates the collection and processing of information without having to enter it manually.

Companies often face problems in managing complex documents and data. Physical documents require significant storage space and are difficult to manage, which can lead to errors and inaccuracies in data processing, as well as difficulties in meeting regulatory requirements. If you are looking for an easy-to-use optical character recognition application for your company, you may consider using the OCR application from eendigo! With this application, you can leave the manual scanning process with a scanner and use your smartphone more flexibly. Don’t hesitate to contact eendigo now and feel the tangible benefits of using this optical character recognition application for your work and your employees!