OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. OCR is used in data entry to convert documents–such as paper files, PDFs and digital images–into documents that can be easily searched and edited. On a basic level, OCR technology takes documents that would traditionally be stored as static files and makes them more flexible by locating characters within the document and identifying them as letters, words, sentences and so on.
OCR technology can be used for a wide range of documents, including receipts, invoices, business cards, banks statement, hand-written letters and much more.
How Does OCR Technology Work?
A three-step process is used to achieve successful results with OCR data entry. The OCR software will run pre-processing to start, which will increase its ability to convert the document successfully. There are a number of pre-process methods that might be used, including line removal, segmentation, binarization, de-skewing, and more. All of these procedures aim to make the actual conversion process as accurate as possible.
After that first step, the actual conversion process begins. This stage is executed by using an OCR algorithm; either matrix matching or feature extraction.
Matrix matching, also called pattern matching, uses a stored glyph that will be compared to the elements in the document being converted. This method depends greatly on the font types and sizes in the document and in the glyph being similar, and so this process works best with documents that were typed using traditional fonts.
More modern OCR software uses what’s called feature extraction, which also leverages a stored glyph for comparison to the document. However, with feature extraction, glyphs are broken down further into more specific elements and those elements are used to more accurately differentiate between characters in the document.
After the matrix matching or feature extraction is complete, post-processing begins to improve the accuracy even further. For instance, some software uses near-neighbor analysis to detect patterns in the document and correct errors that are inconsistent with those findings.
How Does OCR Technology Impact Data Entry?
OCR software has improved the ability to enter, store, and use data by leaps and bounds. With the technology that exists now, data can be easily and accurately converted into digital files, which can later be searched and edited. OCR technology greatly improves the data entry process and helps to eliminate the burdens of using and managing paper and other traditional types of documents. To learn more about how you can benefit from OCR, contact ILM today.