What to Know About Optical Character Recognition (OCR)


You've probably heard of optical character recognition (OCR)--but did you know it can make the difference between a mediocre scanning solution and a life-changing one? Let's take a closer look!

What is Optical Character Recognition?

Optical character recognition is a function of some scanners. It's also about to become your new best friend.

Say you put a document on a scanner that has OCR capabilities. The system starts by looking at your document and identifying the shapes of the characters. It then compares these shapes to a text database so it can understand what's actually written or typed on your page so it can really "read" your content. Once it knows what you're trying to say, the system converts your document into digital text that can be searched, edited, deleted, or updated to your heart's content.

That's optical character recognition--and compared to scanners that just take a flat image of your document, it feels a bit like magic.

With and Without Optical Character Recognition

So, what happens if you skip optical character recognition and go for a scanner that just creates a PDF version of your document? Let's find out:

Without OCR

Without optical character recognition, you still get some of the benefits of scanning--like protecting physical files from floods or fires. However, the resulting documents can't be edited or searched, which means they're less useful in digital format than they were in their paper forms. While this might work in some cases, it's often an inefficient choice for companies with hundreds or thousands of files to scan.

With OCR

With optical character recognition, on the other hand, you end up with files that feel new and improved. In fact, no matter how a document originated, it now seems like you typed it out yourself--which means you can update content, change fonts, add images, and more.

In conclusion, optical character recognition is a pretty big deal when it comes to scanning. Although you'll still see some benefits without it, scanning solutions just aren't the same without OCR.

Ready to choose a scanner with optical character recognition capabilities? Contact us today!

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