Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a revolutionary technology that enables you to scan text printed on a physical medium such as a piece of paper and convert it to editable digital documents. Whether you have a digital image with non-editable text or a piece of paper with text on it that you want to scan, OCR helps you achieve that.
If you are new to OCR and you want to learn more about it, then this article is for you. Keep reading till the end to learn more about OCR, how it works, and its applications in different industries.
What is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?
Optical Character Recognition is the process used for recognizing characters on an image or a piece of paper, extracting it, and converting it to editable text format.
Storing paper-based documents requires a lot of effort, as well as physical space. Scanning these papers and converting them to a digital format using OCR helps you save time, effort, and space.
How Does it Work?
There is a certain pattern of light and dark that makes up the letters and numbers that we write on a piece of paper. OCR technology analyzes those patterns and uses them to recognize the written characters.
In the past, the OCR systems were designed to work with a handful of fonts. But now, they are smart enough to handle all kinds of fonts and writing styles.
OCR technology first converts a document to a black and white version by scanning it. The scanned image is then analyzed for dark and light areas.
After that, OCR takes in the information and uses it to identify the characters that make up the document. This way, it extracts information from a paper or a digital image with text on it.
Applications of OCR
- Image to Text Conversion
Image Text Conversion is the most common example of OCR technology. There are physical tools such as scanners, and online software available that can recognize words written on an image.
For example, you can use the Online OCR tool to extract text from an image. But before extracting the text, make sure that the print quality of the image is clear enough for the tool to process. Otherwise, the tool won’t work at its best.
- Workflow Automation
Businesses can enhance their productivity by going digital. The entire world is using paperless mediums for information exchange. You can digitize all your business documents using OCR.
If you hire a team to manually convert documents to digital format, it is going to take a lot of your time and business resources. OCR is your best choice for doing it in a short amount of time.
- Text to Speech Conversion
You can use an OCR tool to convert the written text into audible files as well. Reading long pieces of content can be quite tiring sometimes.
You can save yourself from this hassle by converting the text to speech. This makes it easier for you to consume the content, without putting in a lot of time and effort. This helps take productivity to the next level.
- Foreign Languages Translation
Along with detecting text from an image, some OCR tools also offer you text conversion features. These tools can now understand a lot of languages, along with English.
So, if you have a piece of content written in some foreign language, you can use an all-around OCR tool to extract text and translate it, without any hassle.
- Faster Data Entry
You can use Optical Character Recognition to streamline your recurring data entry tasks. If your company deals with a lot of paper-based documents, converting them to digital files can be big trouble.
This is where OCR comes to the rescue. You can use it to convert all your physical documents to digital format regularly, in a much shorter amount of time.
Benefits of OCR Technology
Although OCR has a lot of benefits in various domains, we are going to share with you some of the most prominent ones that you need to know.
- Word Processing
OCR technologies process an image and the words written in it. These tools then extract the words so that you can use them as per your requirements.
You can use the extracted text in Word Processing software such as a text editor, MS Word, or some other app for processing words. This way, you can change the text in any way you want, without any manual struggle.
- Document Processing
Along with extracting text from printed images, you can also extract it from digital documents such as JPG or PNG images using an OCR tool. The versatile performance of these tools makes them a must-choice for every image processing task.
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Some OCR tools now allow you to extract text from PDF files as well. Since PDF documents are also not editable, you’d need to extract their text to make changes to it. This is where the OCR technology proves to be valuable for you.
Banks are now using OCR to take their security features to the next level. For example, OCR helps you analyze a cheque to ensure that it is legit.
Once the verification is complete, the user can deposit or withdraw their amount.
- OCR & AI
OCR technology is incomplete without AI. Both these technologies complement one another. OCR tools use AI and machine learning to understand the way physical documents are written.
Based on the insights that OCR gets from AI, it extracts text from a physical document in the most accurate way. This helps minimize the errors in text extraction with OCR.
OCR technology is improving every day and is helping millions of people around the world with their recurring data entry tasks. We are expecting to see huge advancements in this technology in the future. OCR and AI have the potential to completely change the way we process physical documents.
Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions regarding OCR and how it works.
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