We’ve all heard the saying that time is money. And in business, using time wisely can make or break your productivity and profitability.
Optical character recognition, or OCR, is one of the innovations you can use to increase accuracy and cut down on manual work that takes up too much time. Are you wondering what is OCR and if it could be right for your business?
What is Optical Character Recognition?
As a business owner, chances are you deal with some sort of document load — whether it’s invoices, contracts, proposals, or articles.
Hard copies are valuable, but what about having an editable digital copy? Digital access can help you make edits and easily share documents with clients or colleagues or complete quick data entry.
An OCR program is your solution. What is an OCR program? It’s a type of technology that allows you to easily manipulate documents so that they can be searched and edited.
Rather than manually typing a print article or text from a hard copy into a word processor, OCR technology converts text from any source into digital form with just a couple of steps and button clicks.
How Does OCR Technology Work?
You might be thinking that OCR technology sounds a lot like scanning. Unlike a scanner that simply takes a copy or picture of a document or image, OCR technology can identify every letter, character, and word on a page.
You can think of it as a sort of digital and editable image of a document that a computer can understand.
Scanning hardware is important in the OCR process. You will need the help of a scanner to first capture a document, whether it’s from a book, magazine, or newspaper. But once you put that scanned version of the document through an OCR program, it becomes fully readable to your computer.
What is Optical Recognition Software?
What is OCR software exactly? It’s a computer software program that interprets a document in a few important ways.
First, OCR programs like OCR net convert a scanned version of a document into a black-and-white copy. This helps uncover the text and characters and separate them from the white background of the page, regardless of the original font and the language.
This isn’t always a perfect process, especially if you have a low-quality original version of a document. And that’s why the second step OCR programs take is error correction. These programs go the extra mile to detect distractions or distortions, like coffee stains or wrinkles, without mistaking them for text.
OCR software is also sophisticated enough to understand when there are paragraph and page breaks, columns, and even graphs and images.
Optical character recognition is all around us. At work and in life it can save you time with data entry, digitizing important documents, and even depositing a check into a mobile bank account.