Best OCR solution: Traditional OCR vs. cognitive

In the past, all documents were processed manually; there were data entry clerks in all departments. This process was slow, fault-prone and not scalable. That is why OCR software was developed. Learn which approach is the best OCR solution.

best OCR

Best OCR: How modern automated processing works

AI is changing the game for best OCR solutions. Here’s how modern automated processing works.

Finding the best OCR solution

There are two primary ways that businesses can capture data from documents: manual and intelligent data processing (IDP). 

The first is a method that is still used by the majority of companies and requires data entry clerks to type each piece of data by hand into the correct business system. This manual method of capturing data costs thousands of lifetimes per day and results in a backlog of work

Alternatively, businesses could use the second option, which relies upon the use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to perform IDP. 

OCR is a form of technology designed to detect text in both physical and digital documents. At the most basic level, this technology scans documents and identifies areas with high contrast, such as black text on a white background. Using this information, the dark areas are marked as 1 and the light areas as 0. Depending on where the 1s are situated, the technology provides the results of the detected characters. Some solutions can even accurately detect data from charts.

OCR can be broken down into two main categories – traditional template-based OCR and Artificial Intelligence-based OCR

Traditional OCR detects data using human-produced templates. These templates guide the tool so that it knows where to detect text or data in the document and can be based on image or text rules. The trouble with traditional OCR is that it cannot handle varieties in document formatting and is therefore prone to inaccuracy in capturing the data. 

For example, image-based OCR templates provide zero flexibility when it comes to a different document format. Text-based rules are not any better, as the slightest difference in the document’s layout can mean detecting the wrong value. 

Template-based OCR and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based OCR is the difference between the way a program reads a document and how a human reads the same document. The best OCR is the latter. Using machine learning, AI-based OCR platforms imitate humans and do not require templates. Rossum is an AI-based OCR solution and it works by following three steps

  1. Skim-Reading
  2. Data Localization
  3. Precise Reading.

An AI-powered OCR software is the best tool for companies that want to start using OCR right away. Businesses that desire greater customization could utilize an API. The Rossum rapid API OCR solution can be used to design a unique integration with the current system in place at your company. Whether your business needs an API or a complete software solution, the best OCR SaaS company can provide you with the tools you need to successfully and accurately capture data from all of your business documents.

Best OCR online

Online OCR image-to-text tools are widely available on the web. These tools can range from pre-designed websites that require the user to upload a document and wait for the data to be extracted from it to tutorials and coding libraries that can help programmers build custom OCR tools. Website-based OCR tools, however, are not meant for business use as they generally cannot provide a high level of accuracy, nor can they handle large volumes of documents. 

The other option, a code-based online OCR solutions, requires programmers to develop the tool and may not possess the same features as cognitive OCR that can integrate with your business systems, like Rossum. Even the best OCR online tool will either be unable to integrate with business systems or will need to be programmed so that it can.

Many OCR online tools are only capable of converting a document from one format to another. OCR PDF to Word converters may make it easier to copy and paste the data from the file into the business system, but this hardly saves time or effort nor does it increase accuracy. 

PDF OCR online tools are not complex enough to accurately detect data in tables or images, and even if the text is extractable, it will result in data with incorrect formatting that will require more work to understand and reformat. Instead of these options, businesses need a more robust solution such as Rossum’s AI-powered OCR.


Portable Document Format (PDF) is standard for business documents. In fact, around 352 billion invoices are received electronically, with the majority of those arriving as PDF files. Extracting data from these PDF documents is essential to the usability of the data. 

This is where OCR software comes in. Translating PDF to OCR means that the unstructured data in the PDF file can be detected and extracted by the OCR tool rather than manually reading and retyping the data. 

The best online OCR program can convert PDF files to other formats and extract data, but using these tools to try to capture data from 352 billion PDF invoices is not going to work. Instead, efficient, intelligent solutions like Rossum are a better choice for businesses.

It is vital to distinguish between online OCR websites and OCR tools that can be found online. OCR websites are not designed for business use, but OCR tools that are found online may be helpful to companies. 

For example, the Google OCR online tool, Cloud Vision, can be used by businesses to extract data from images or PDF files. Keep in mind, however, that it does require the use of Google Vision API. Google’s OCR tool also has about an 89% accuracy rate, while Rossum’s cognitive data capture solution can extract data from PDF files with 95% accuracy.

OCR software online

OCR software online can come in many different forms with varying features. A simple OCR software will not have machine learning or AI capabilities and will likely be template-based. 

These tools may work for occasional data capture use, but the more documents that a business receives, the higher the likelihood of varied formats, which means that you would need to create additional templates and rules. Assuming you do this, like one company that amassed 13,000 lines of rules, you will still not obtain the level of OCR accuracy that an AI-powered solution would provide.

Rossum is an OCR solution that can be found online and is based in the cloud. Not only is our API compatible with Windows, MacOS X, and most Linux distributions, but it has a free trial so that you can try it out. Businesses can also use the Google OCR API, but it is not free, and, as mentioned earlier, the accuracy is 6% lower than Rossum. 

Additionally, Google’s tool does not provide Rossum’s features and capabilities, such as the ability to filter and sort documents or automatically enter data into the corresponding fields in the business system.

Best OCR Reddit

Before making any decisions to implement new OCR software, you should ensure that you have researched all of the available options. While we have mentioned the Google OCR tool, there are several other choices out there. 

With that said, it is best to narrow down your search if you already know the exact features that you need in an OCR tool. For companies that only need basic software, searching for a pure OCR tool will result in more suitable choices than simply searching for OCR software.

In addition, you can hear from individuals who have utilized specific OCR platforms by looking at the best OCR Reddit threads. The best OCR online Reddit conversations will have posts from users that explain the software they used and its pros or cons. These conversations can give you an idea of what others have said about an OCR tool and can help you find the right one for your company. 

If you need an API, you can search for or create a “best OCR API” Reddit thread. Businesses have different requirements than individuals, so be sure to look for Reddit threads that relate to the business use of OCR tools.

Best OCR app

OCR tools can be either software solutions or applications. Unlike software, apps are designed to work with mobile devices like smartphones. The best OCR app will be able to work with a smartphone camera to scan a document and detect any text that is visible on it. 

You can find examples of how individuals have used these apps by looking at the best OCR app Reddit threads. As with other simple OCR tools like websites, apps are not designed for businesses. 

Because businesses need to process large numbers of documents, they will use computers more often than smartphones for document processing tasks. Depending on whether your company uses PC or Mac computers, you will need to find software that is compatible with your operating system, such as OCR software for PC. 

The best OCR software for Windows 10 may not be the best software for Mac computers, and if your company uses both operating systems, finding software that is compatible with both is the best option. Rossum is a cognitive OCR solution that can integrate with almost any business system and provides businesses with an efficient data capture solution.

Best OCR scanner app

Optical Character Recognition requires a digital scanner but may also require the use of a physical scanner if your business receives printed documents. A physical scanner would be used to convert the printed document into a digital file, such as a PDF. 

You would then need an OCR PDF digital scanner tool to extract the data. The best OCR scanner app or OCR scanner software can detect basic text in a document but may not be able to read complex characters or unique formatting. 

For handwritten text, the best OCR app for handwriting recognition will be designed to detect these unique characters. However, neither of these options for applications will be helpful to businesses because companies require more capabilities in OCR software. Rossum is an AI-powered OCR solution designed for businesses that need to automatically and accurately capture data.

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