Alternatives to manual invoice data extraction
In this article, you’ll learn about alternatives to manual invoice data extraction. This should help you choose the option that meets your company’s specific needs.
Best OCR software
OCR, or optical character recognition, is a business solution that extracts information from a document and converts it into a machine-readable format that is searchable and editable. OCR scans paper documents, invoices, receipts, and non-searchable PDF files to create a digital copy of any printed text. The digital text can be edited, indexed, searched, and displayed online for easy retrieval.
OCR creates digital copies of scanned hard documents and converts non-editable soft copies into editable text formats. OCR technology allows users to extract both written and printed data from scanned documents. Documents can also be compressed into zip files, sent as email attachments, or embedded in a website. By extracting data, OCR allows for digital archiving, editing, and document searching. The extracted text can be used in Word, Excel, or other similar programs.
How does OCR work? When an image is analyzed by an OCR system, it recognizes light portions as background and dark areas as characters. An OCR system analyzes the dark areas further to recognize letters and digits.
In general, OCR consists of three steps:
- Pre-processing – OCR preprocesses an image to improve the quality of the text image. Pre-processing aims to improve OCR accuracy in terms of distinguishing a character or word from the background by converting distorted images into correct text and enhancing image features.
- Intelligent character recognition – OCR recognizes characters from images and converts them into actual text characters. In OCR, feature extraction removes redundant and irrelevant features by detecting and utilizing data patterns for more relevant data processing and analysis. OCR algorithms are trained in pattern recognition by using examples of texts in various fonts, formats, and handwriting styles. OCR compares and recognizes characters in scanned documents using pattern recognition technology.
- Post-processing – In post-processing, the image that has been processed and scanned is examined to detect and correct errors in the OCR output. To correct fields with potentially faulty data, OCR text is tokenized, or separated into a group of characters.
Some documents contain both handwritten and machine-printed texts. OCR has the capability to identify and separate handwritten and printed text within digital images. Some OCR tools also include spell-checking features to help decode unintelligible text.
Because of the complexities of understanding different handwriting styles and letter strokes, finding the best OCR app for handwriting recognition can be challenging. While there are free OCR software programs available to transform scanned handwritten notes into digital text, a lot of these free applications may produce inconsistent and erroneous results with specific handwriting styles.
By automating manual document processing, the best OCR scanner app can help boost your operational performance. A centralized, cloud-based invoice processing solution such as Rossum can improve your data capture process. Rossum’s proprietary cognitive data capture technology utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate how human minds comprehend structured documents. This enables Rossum to understand the overall layout of business documents for highly accurate data extraction.
OCR software online
A paper-intensive process may be detrimental to a company’s bottom line. Furthermore, this could result in inaccurate data input and slow retrieval of important information.
Manual data entry, or entering information from a paper document to a computer program, is a time-consuming and error-prone procedure. Companies may struggle to scale and expand if their data management system is outdated. Employees would be wasting time completing repetitive procedures when they could focus more on higher-value-added activities.
Organizations may reduce the manual steps involved in data management and eliminate human error by utilizing OCR to automate data entry for business documents. OCR software can scan physical documents and convert them to digital formats. When looking for the best OCR online, companies may utilize open-source OCR options, such as Tesseract OCR online software, to extract text from scanned images.
While OCR tools have been proven to assist in spend management, not all OCR solutions are created equal. Although there are numerous OCR software online tools available, it is important to be cautious before utilizing them. Some free tools may incorrectly alter your data or even compromise your data security.
Traditional data capture processes may involve manually retyping data from paper documents. In a manual procedure, employees must sift through heaps of documents and enter data from forms into computer systems. Doing repetitive manual tasks may affect employee morale and hinder organizational productivity.
While a template-based OCR can extract document data, it lacks the ability to parse the extracted information. Additionally, if the structure of the document differs from the existing template, additional configurations have to be created. This continuous template setup may end in false-positive results or OCR results that cannot be reversed unless data validation rules are applied.
A traditional OCR solution requires separate templates for each new document type. Rossum’s AI-powered and cloud-based OCR technology, on the other hand, can read invoices the way a human brain does. Rossum’s AI OCR solution also does not require costly and complicated setup or additional rules and templates because it learns templates and naming standards by itself.
Best OCR software for handwriting recognition
Manually transcribing handwritten data, such as doctor’s orders, bank check amounts and forms, and postal addresses, can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. Additionally, due to diverse handwriting styles, poor paper quality, and hastily scribbled notes, it can be difficult to convert handwritten notes to text in a machine-readable format.
When it comes to the best OCR software for handwriting recognition and extraction, there are various free and cloud-based programs that can convert scanned handwriting to text. Some handwriting-to-text converters online have spell-checking capabilities to decipher unfamiliar words. Other tools have handwriting recognition algorithms with a high accuracy rate.
There are also AI-based OCR software tools for handwriting recognition that leverage machine learning and deep learning to process images. However, free plan options may only allow users to process a limited number of pages, and premium features are only available to paid subscribers. Other OCR tools may have a user interface that is difficult to navigate.
Rossum’s AI-powered OCR software has an intuitive interface and a well-documented application programming interface system. Rossum’s OCR solution can easily integrate into company processes. Rossum utilizes cognitive data capture technology to automate data extraction, including handwritten text, from a variety of business documents.
OCR software for PC
For those that need OCR software in a pinch, there are a few free resources to use. Here is a list of some of the best OCR software for Windows 10 downloads that are free to use:
- Amazon Textract – This machine learning service from Amazon can automatically extract data from scanned documents. Amazon Textract can match handwritten notes with digital alphabets and characters and convert handwritten documents into electronic format. Customers of Amazon Web Services can avail of a free software trial and analyze up to 1,000 pages per month during the trial period.
- Adobe Acrobat Pro DC – Adobe Acrobat has OCR capabilities that can extract text and convert scanned documents into searchable PDF files. Acrobat Pro DC allows users to convert documents to PDF formats which can be accessed from any device and edit text without having to leave their PDF files. This software is available on a 7-day free trial.
- Easy Screen OCR – A freeware application that is compatible with Windows, Easy Screen OCR uses the Google OCR engine to transform images into an editable text format with high accuracy. Easy Screen OCR can support 100 different languages and can be used up to 20 times with no subscription required.
Best OCR software for Mac
Here are some free OCR software tools available for Mac users:
- ABBYY FineReader PDF OCR for Mac — This PDF editor software is powered by AI-based OCR technology. ABBYY FineReader PDF for Mac has high OCR accuracy and can keep the formatting of the original document after OCR scanning. ABBYY FineReader PDF for Mac may not be suitable for handwriting recognition. During the 7-day free trial period, users can process up to 100 pages with this software product.
- OCRKit — OCRKit is a Mac application with advanced OCR technology. OCRKit can convert PDF or graphic files into searchable formats. Mac users can download OCRKit and try it out for 14 days free of charge.
- Readiris Pro — This software tool is a PDF and OCR solution for both Windows and Mac. Readiris Pro has an easy-to-use interface and can generate four different types of PDF files. Mac users can process 150 pages and convert up to three pages at once during the 10-day free trial of Readiris Pro.
When it comes to free OCR software download options, it is important to note that free trial versions have restricted functionality. The premium features are only available for a limited time.
Unlike traditional, template-based OCR which is prone to error, AI-based OCR can recognize a wide range of text styles and document formats without the need for templates. Companies can shift from manual, paper-based processes to automated workflows by using an AI-powered OCR solution such as Rossum.
As a cloud-based Intelligent Document Processing platform, Rossum’s AI-based OCR learns layouts and naming standards on its own. Rossum’s OCR solution utilizes artificial intelligence to capture and extract data from pre-defined fields.