Streamline your business operations with flexible API for OCR

Are you hesitant to add another tool to your technology ecosystem for fear of overcomplicating your business operations? Don’t bother with old and clunky software integrations – use a flexible API for OCR instead!



In today’s fast-paced global economy, flexibility is key. Many organizations recognize this, which is why they may hesitate to add yet another tool to their already over complicated processes and workflows. 

On the contrary, many businesses prefer to rely on APIs they can use to build integrations with their existing systems. This is often the best way to address a specific need. It also means less time spent training employees on a new platform. However, great tools don’t always come with great APIs. If they even provide one, it is often poorly documented and difficult to implement. 

One of the areas where there is high demand for an easy-to-use, versatile API is optical character recognition (OCR). OCR technology allows businesses to streamline their document management by extracting data from documents and exporting it in a more practical format. Generally, there are two kinds of OCR: template-based and cognitive

Template-based OCR relies on manually-written rules and rigid guidelines that often fail when documents vary even slightly. Cognitive or AI-powered OCR relies on machine learning and neural networks to scan documents and “read” the data off them. 

With Cognitive data capture OCR, however, businesses can dramatically reduce the time it takes for them to process documents, generating impressive efficiencies and excellent returns. 

Finding an API for OCR can be difficult, and although there are many tools that claim high levels of accuracy, few of them provide a truly flexible and powerful API. 

For example, there is the Google OCR online API known as Cloud Vision. It is primarily designed for extracting basic text elements from images, however, and provides very little customization. Furthermore, it is also a template-based OCR and does not have the ability to learn new document types and formats. This is the only OCR API that Google provides. 

At Rossum, we have seen this issue with APIs and have taken steps to address it with our own OCR online API. We enable you to transform business documents into data using our rich cloud-based environment. Our API is clean and comes complete with detailed documentation, a ready-made Python SDK, and plenty of examples so that you can start building fast. 


PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It’s a highly versatile file format created by Adobe to make sharing files between people more straightforward than ever before. This format exploded in popularity and continues to be widely used to this day. It’s been estimated that there may be more than 2 trillion PDF documents currently extant in the world today.

The only problem with these document types is that they do not store the data within them in a structured format that computers can understand. Thus, businesses must find ways to extract the data from PDF documents using OCR tools and platforms. However, many companies may have the same inclination towards APIs that we have already mentioned. 

These companies may be looking for a PDF OCR API – a programming interface that would be compatible with PDF data files and make it easy to convert them into structured data formats like a spreadsheet. Once more, you could try to find a Google OCR option that is limited in its functionality and flexibility, or you could go with Rossum’s PDF OCR online API. The Rossum solution was originally designed with PDF documents in mind and can easily extract the data from hundreds of such files with a few clicks.


What are the characteristics of the best OCR API? It can be challenging to define the best because every business has different requirements. Flexibility and ease of use may be the two most critical attributes of the best rapid API OCR tools. You could go and look for an OCR API Github project or try to find an AWS OCR API.  

However, APIs like Microsoft OCR API and others are often bundled as part of a subscription to a particular provider’s cloud services. In order to get access to the Amazon Textract OCR software, you’ll need to subscribe to AWS (a free tier is available but only lasts for three months). 

We have already mentioned the limitations of the Google OCR API. Rossum, on the other hand, is an ideal API that gives you complete control. The Rossum API is organized around the REST protocol and is written in an intuitive way. We believe the ability for anyone to implement and run their own extension of the Rossum API is crucial because it allows true customization to your particular needs. With our API, you can do more with your documents, including:

  • Pre-process extracted data before it is displayed in the UI
  • Alter the way the user interface responds to specific user actions
  • Post-process user-validated data.


Microsoft’s uses Computer Vision as part of their OCR API and is part of their Azure cloud service. Although the API they provide is clean and relatively easy to use, the underlying tool is, unfortunately, not as accurate as Rossum. Specifically, the Azure OCR tool extracts data with around 80% accuracy, while the Rossum OCR solution can extract data at about 95% accuracy. 

This difference can lead to many hours of validation work on the part of your employees and team members as the seemingly minor errors start to add up over time. Although Microsoft does not offer an Azure OCR demo, there is the option for a free trial of the Azure OCR API if you are already using the Azure cloud service. 

If you set out to learn the tool, we recommend finding a helpful Azure OCR tutorial to help guide you through the process. You may even be able to find an Azure OCR PDF that could help you. However, a better choice than either of these for many organizations is going to be working with the Rossum API. 

One of the great things about Rossum is how easy it is to integrate with other platforms. If you are already using Azure, the Rossum API can connect seamlessly with it. You can even use the API to authenticate users using your own identity provider, including Azure AD. 

OCR API documentation

One of the most vital elements of any API is its documentation. Without clear documentation, it will be tough for developers to be able to build extensions and integrations using the API. PDF OCR software may be very effective, but a company may want a specific feature to solve its problem. If the OCR API documentation is available, they may be able to build their own extension. However, if not, they will have to look for yet another tool to find a solution. 

Rossum’s API documentation gives developers all the details they need to start building their own integrations and also comes with a wide range of useful features. For example, the Rossum API includes an embeddable human data validation interface and built-in email communication support. Plus, you can use the API to customize the data fields you need to extract and then let the AI automatically learn from the validation feedback. 

Handwriting recognition API

One of the main limitations of OCR text recognition technology is variability. Although cognitive OCR relies on AI to “learn” new variations in format and style, handwriting is still an area that stumps most tools. Handwriting recognition has been a specific category of software development for many years, and the technology is still being improved. 

The problem is that many types of handwriting are complex for humans to read, let alone machines. On the other hand, some of the most vital business data is written by hand into documents that may then be mailed or shared in formats like PDF.

Being able to extract this data is often critical for many processes and business workflows. Fortunately, Rossum is one example of optical character recognition that can extract data from handwritten text with a high degree of accuracy. 

Furthermore, because Rossum’s OCR scanner is powered by AI, it has the ability to learn new styles of handwriting so that its OCR accuracy is increased with every new document it scans. These features mean that Rossum is one of the best handwriting recognition API options available today. 

OCR API pricing

The best online OCR software is one that meets your particular needs. We’ve designed our platform to work out of the box for most general applications, but we recognize that you need the flexibility to customize your tools to work for you. This is the mindset in which we’ve built our API. 

If you’d like to learn more about the best algorithm for OCR available, feel free to request a demo or sign up for our free trial. OCR API pricing varies from product to product and depends, in large part, on the volume of documents you want to process. The other aspect that impacts the pricing is the number of features you need for your own situation. 

In order to get access to the specific license pricing calculation, contact our sales team. Rossum is easy to integrate and can be quickly implemented. Start taking control of your business documents with the power of AI-enabled data extraction.

Layout independent OCR technology

Parse business documents to data using a rich cloud API for OCR. Because when every layout looks different, a simple regex won’t cut it, but deep learning will.