Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Overview

Suppose you wanted to digitize a patient record or a printed contract. You could spend hours retyping and then correcting misprints. Or you could convert all the required materials into digital format in several minutes using a scanner (or a digital camera) and Optical Character Recognition software.

What exactly is meant by OCR?

Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, is a technology that enables you to convert different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data.

Imagine you’ve got a paper document – for example, customer record, brochure, or contract sent to you by email. Obviously, a scanner is not enough to make this information available for editing, say in Microsoft Word. All a scanner can do is create an image or a snapshot of the document that is nothing more than a collection of black and white or colour dots, known as a raster image. In order to extract and repurpose data from scanned documents, camera images or image-only PDFs, you need an OCR software that would single out letters on the image, put them into words and then – words into sentences, thus enabling you to access and edit the content of the original document.

How to use OCR Software?

Using VirtualScan is easy: the process generally consists of three stages: Open (Scan) the document, Recognize it and then Save in a convenient format (DOC, RTF, XLS, PDF, HTML, TXT etc.) or export data directly to one of Office applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel or Adobe Acrobat.

In addition, the latest version of VirtualScan supports Automated Tasks mode which is essential when you deal with routine tasks regularly. With this feature, recognition tasks run automatically without having to manually execute all of the above mentioned steps.

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