Why Your Business Needs OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

From large companies to small offices, this software helps everyone work smarter and not harder. Let’s say your boss hands you a 50-page hardcopy of your department policies and tells you they need to be updated. There is no electronic original, so this task would involve hours of retyping the entire document to then start making the necessary changes.  That sounds like a lot of hard work! What if you could scan the entire document and have that convert into a document that you could edit. What would take hours just turned into a push of the scanner button! Now that’s working smarter.

What is OCR?

OCR is a software tool that allows you to convert scanned documents into text searchable files that you can change, copy, edit and basically do anything you regularly do to text. It is now increasingly common for documents to be scanned so that they can be conveniently viewed and shared electronically.

However, a scan is merely an image capture of the original document, so it cannot be edited or searched through in any way. This results in a decrease in efficiency since employees now have to manually correct or search through multiple pages. OCR solves this problem by making the document text searchable.

How Does OCR Work?

There are two methods used for OCR: Matrix matching (the simpler and more common) and feature extraction.

Matrix Matching compares what your OCR software detects as a character with a library of character templates. When it finds a match, bingo! The OCR software matches that image to its corresponding ASCII character.

Feature Extraction is OCR that uses computer intelligence to look for general features such as open areas, closed shapes, diagonal lines, line intersections, etc. It’s a much more versatile method, but it has more requirements for a successful outcome, such as a clean, straight image and minimum 300-dpi resolution. Matrix matching can still work well on less-than-ideal images and it’s what’s most common in PDF software.

Why Use an OCR?

  • Increased efficiency and effectiveness of office work. Unless you plan on breaking the world record for speed typing when recreating documents, you will love the time you save converting scanned documents into searchable, editable text.
  • Instantly search through content of scanned documents, streamlining the tasks. Need to find the needle in the haystack of hundreds of invoices? Let the computer search for that one client name you need.
  • It’s a space saver. The office floor real estate is up for grabs. By storing digital images rather than paper in large file cabinets or stacks of copy paper waiting to be used, your office can have a spot for yoga class!
  • Editing on the fly. You can now type in new text right after scanning a hardcopy and converting to an editable document.  Need a different paragraph? Simply use the copy and paste tools on the document, instead of rewriting everything.

So why not use the superpower of OCR in your PDF software to increase efficiency in your office? When combined with other technologies such as scanning and file compression, the advantages of OCR truly shine. Workflow is increased since employees no longer have to waste time on manual labor and can work quicker and more efficiently.

ecoprintQ is a PaperCut Authorized Soultion Center and Umango Partner. Call us at 800-236-8499 or email us at sales@ecoprintq.com to learn more about the benefits of OCR and how we can help.