What is OCR scanning?

Document volumes are increasing, new suppliers are submitting documents with more layouts, human operators are becoming more expensive and unwilling to work on document transcription, and security concerns are rising.

It is possible to leave behind the issues of manual and template-based data capture and achieve a solution with high accuracy and speed, that is cost-efficient with cognitive OCR scanning technology.

traditional OCR vs cognitive

The past, present, & future of document processing with OCR scanning

We’re going to take a short trip back in time to look at the history and evolution of document processing. Then we’ll look into the future to see how the digitization of data capture solutions, such as OCR scanning, can benefit companies like yours.

What is OCR scanning?

In any business, document processing is one of the most crucial tasks. With the wrong process in place, companies could face strained vendor relationships and additional fees due to late payments or inaccuracy in the extraction process, which might lead to more time and money being spent to fix the errors. Documents in physical printed forms and digital formats need to have their data extracted accurately to process the documents swiftly. While it may seem that digital files would be easier to capture data from, if the document is an image or PDF file, there is little difference between the extraction process for those documents and paper documents.

There are two very different methods for extracting data from these documents. The older method is to hire data entry clerks to manually read and retype all of the data into the business system used at the company. The other way is to use OCR scanner software. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and is a technology that detects text in printed or digitally uneditable documents so that the data can be extracted without manual effort. What is OCR scanning? 

It is the process that the OCR tool performs to extract the data. Essentially, an OCR scanner will scan the document for text and then translate the text into a digitally editable format. Certain OCR scanners will be available as both hardware and software, meaning that a physical scanner will scan paper documents to convert them into digital files that the software can then scan for text.

An OCR scanner app is a simple form of tool that uses a smartphone’s camera to scan documents for data. These tools are helpful for individuals who need to convert a document into digital text quickly, but they may not be beneficial for the document processing department in a business. The best OCR scanner for companies is one that can automatically scan documents for data and extract it accurately, including data that may be hard for other OCR scanners to detect, such as tables, columns, and unique fonts. Rossum is an OCR scanner software that uses Artificial Intelligence to detect data and reliably extract it with minimal human involvement.

What is OCR in PDF?

The first question to answer is: how does OCR work? The answer depends on the specific type of OCR tool that is used. For instance, an OCR online tool will prompt the user to upload the document to the website and will then convert the data into a digital format – likely either a .txt or .docx file. On the other hand, a robust OCR software tool will require implementation and, possibly, integration with the other business applications used at a company. An OCR software would be able to scan more documents with more reliability than an online tool.

PDF files are standard in business, and it may be necessary to use OCR for PDF documents. What is OCR in PDF? Simply put, it is the process of running a PDF file that includes data that is “locked” inside of it, like an image file, through an OCR tool for data extraction. The Adobe Acrobat OCR tool is designed specifically for PDF files and can act as an OCR PDF to Word tool, among other features. There may be times when you need to reverse the OCR process in a PDF document, and you may ask: how to remove OCR from PDF? The steps to do this can be complicated, but there are several tutorials available online that can walk you through the procedure. 

Optical Character Recognition algorithm

An Optical Character Recognition software will have a built-in algorithm for the process. The same is true for Optical Character Recognition online tools. The ability to perform OCR is based on these algorithms. What is an Optical Character Recognition algorithm? An algorithm is a specific set of instructions that directs a computer program to do a particular task. In the case of OCR, it is the set of instructions that makes the software or website detect text in documents. These algorithms are available on several websites and can be used to create an original OCR tool.

The best algorithm for OCR will be easy to use to develop an OCR application, website, or software. For instance, Google’s Vision API tool is an OCR algorithm that can be used as part of a code for an OCR application that a company creates. Optical Character Recognition machine learning algorithms will be fairly complex. Any algorithm, though, will require coding knowledge to implement, and businesses may not want to hire a developer to create an OCR tool for document processing. The alternative is that companies use pre-developed OCR software that can be implemented without code and used almost immediately. Rossum is an example of a machine learning OCR software that companies can use to detect text and data in any document.

Optical Character Recognition meaning

Optical Character Recognition, meaning the technology that eliminates manual retyping of data, is helpful for several different purposes. The OCR meaning in business does not only mean less manual data entry, but it can lead to extraordinary savings of time and money as well as more accurate data extraction

The same is true of the OCR meaning in insurance. Insurance claims can be efficiently verified when OCR tools are used for data extraction. OCR accounting software can be used to demonstrate the OCR meaning in accounting. With software, the data from various accounting-related documents can be extracted using OCR. Accounting past papers can be automatically archived because the OCR tool can capture the data for storage in the proper system

In addition to the usefulness of OCR in business, insurance, and accounting, OCR can be used for other financial purposes. For instance, a bank could use OCR. Financial statements, department records, and any other bank record can be digitally analyzed and archived using an OCR tool. Even in the field of education, the OCR meaning in school can be seen. School documents such as exam results, teacher records, and more can be automatically stored and updated with OCR software. Rossum is an example of an AI-powered OCR software that can be used to improve the document processing tasks in all of these fields.

Optical Character Recognition example

An Optical Character Recognition scanner can be a device or a software. To illustrate the difference, an OCR software is a tool that must be downloaded and implemented on a computer. This is in contrast to an OCR scanner device, which is a physical device that must be set up in an office. There are also Optical Character Recognition online tools which are more superficial forms of software that run directly on a website and do not require any installation. Yet another form of Optical Character Recognition software is in the form of an application. The best OCR scanner app will be easy to download on a smartphone and can be used to capture text from individual documents. 

For companies that need to find the right OCR tool, it can be beneficial to examine an Optical Character Recognition example for a particular solution. Finding a review or analysis online of an Optical Character Recognition device, such as a handheld pen scanner, can help you determine whether that tool would be appropriate for the needs of your business. Likewise, examples or customer stories about a specific Optical Character Recognition machine learning software, such as Rossum, can demonstrate how companies used the software and why they chose it.

PDF OCR software

For businesses that use PDF files, you may have asked the question: how to edit a scanned document online? Since many PDF files are actual scans of documents, either digital or physical, this means that the data is trapped inside the file and cannot be easily copied and pasted into the business system at your organization. To make this data digitally editable, it is necessary to use a PDF OCR software. For individual documents or smaller tasks, an online tool will work for this purpose. The best OCR scanner online will be able to make the text in a PDF file searchable and copyable. 

The Portable Document Format (PDF) was invented by Adobe, and that company has since created tools that are designed specifically for that format of digital documents. The scan and OCR Adobe tool available with an Adobe Acrobat subscription is helpful for businesses that already use Adobe for other processes. Additionally, to convert PDF to searchable PDF, Adobe has tools for this as well. These Adobe tools are most helpful when your business already subscribes to the Adobe Acrobat plan, but they do not have the same features that a software that was designed for OCR, like Rossum, has.

OCR accuracy

One of the most essential things to look for in OCR software is OCR accuracy. The OCR accuracy measurement for a scanner will demonstrate how well the tool works on the average document. An OCR benchmark dataset can be used to test the accuracy of a particular software solution. For example, the U.S. Government Printing Office found that OCR scanners will range in accuracy from 90 to 98%, on average. Performing an OCR accuracy comparison between several tools can be helpful when deciding which one is best for your organization. 

Additionally, accuracy should be measured with specific regard for accurately detecting handwriting. The handwritten OCR accuracy level should be included in the overall accuracy measurement. If the accuracy level is low, you may be wondering how to increase OCR accuracy. The most efficient way is to find a software with a higher level of accuracy so that your employees do not have to manually fix errors that come up when using the OCR tool. The best OCR software for handwriting recognition is one that has Artificial Intelligence capabilities. Rossum is an intelligent OCR scanner platform that can automatically capture data with a human-level accuracy rate.

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