When most people think about optical character recognition (OCR), they think about scanning and converting documents into a searchable, editable digital format. However, there is much more to OCR than that. Optical character recognition technology is used in various industries, including healthcare, law enforcement, finance, manufacturing, education, etc. In this article, we will look at optical character recognition and some of the ways it is being used today.

Have you ever had a physical document that you needed to be converted to a digital format so that you could edit it or share it with others? If yes, you may have used optical character recognition (OCR) technology and one of it is platforms such as AlgoDocs. OCR is the process of using technology to distinguish printed or handwritten text characters inside digital images of physical documents.

OCR systems are made up of a combination of hardware and software that is used to convert physical documents into machine-readable text. Hardware, such as an optical scanner, mobile camera, or even some specialized circuit board, is used to copy or read text, while software such as Algo Docs typically handles the advanced processing, i.e. extracting the text. The software can also take the advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) to implement more advanced methods of intelligent character recognition (ICR) such as identifying languages, styles of handwriting, font sizes and more.

The process of OCR is most commonly used to turn hard-copy legal or historical documents into a soft copy that users can edit, format, and search as if it was created with a Word/Excel processor.

How optical character recognition works?

As mentioned before, the first step of OCR is to use hardware such as a scanner to process the physical form of a document. Once all pages are copied, OCR software converts the document into a two-colour, or black and white, version. The scanned-in image or bitmap is analyzed for light and dark areas, where the dark areas are identified as characters that need to be recognized, and light areas are identified as background.

The dark areas are then processed further to find text such as alphabetic letters and numeric digits. OCR programs can vary in their techniques but typically involve targeting one character, word, or block of text at a time. Characters are then identified using one of two algorithms:

– Pattern recognition- OCR programs are fed examples of text in various fonts and formats, which are then used to compare and recognize characters in the scanned document.

– Feature detection- OCR programs apply rules regarding the features of a specific letter or number to recognize characters in the scanned document. Features could include the number of angled lines, crossed lines, or curves in character for comparison. For example, the capital letter “A” may be stored as two diagonal lines that meet with a horizontal line across the middle.

When a character is identified, it is converted into an ASCII code that computer systems can use to handle further manipulations. Users should correct basic errors, proofread, and ensure complex layouts are appropriately handled before saving the document for future use.

Benefits of optical character recognition

The main advantages of OCR technology is to save time, decrease errors, and minimize human effort. It also enables actions that are not capable of physical copies, such as highlighting keywords, incorporating them into a website, and attaching them to an email.   While taking images of documents enables them to be digitally archived. OCR provides the added functionality of being able to edit and search those documents.

AlgoDocs – High Accuracy OCR Software

AlgoDocs is an example of a high-quality and automatic data extraction platform. Its developed algorithms rely on image processing and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies with a human vision attitude. Therefore, AlgoDocs has reliable and accurate data extraction with high accuracy results. Text extraction from PDF documents is performed likewise using artificial intelligence and self-learning algorithms.

Optical character recognition or OCR has never been so simple. Using Algo mDocs all you need is to create extracting rules. Then, upload your documents using AlgoDocs UI/API or Email integration. Finally, Export extracted data to Excel/JSON/XML or many other integrations, such as accounting software.

Features of AlgoDocs

Convert PDF to text

Did you ever wonder how to change the text in PDF documents? We have the solution for you. AlgoDocs converts your PDF document to text or Excel. With the help of optical character recognition, you can extract any text from a PDF document into a readable text file.

And it is simple: just creates extracting rules. Then, upload your documents using AlgoDocs UI/API or Email integration. Finally, Export extracted data to Excel/JSON/XML or many other integrations, such as accounting software.

1) Extract Tables from PDF and Scanned Documents

Have you ever had a situation where you needed to copy a table from a book or a scanned file? It is a complicated and tedious process in most cases. Since copying and pasting tables from PDF to a word/Excel spreadsheet can be challenging, even if the document was computer-generated. AlgoDocs allows us to easily extract tables, and even the most complex table from the PDFs and scanned documents using a user-friendly interface.

In addition to extracting text, AlgoDocs provides  the following features: 

  1. a) extracting tables from documents. You can check the Video Tutorials, which demonstrate how to extract tables from pdf or scanned documents.
  2. b) Extracting Tables from Low-Quality Scanned Documents: AlgoDocs has an advanced AI-powered OCR engine that can handle even low-quality scanned images with as low dpi as 75.

Consider the following scanned documents (Figure1) and the tables extracted by AlgoDocs(Figure2).

 Figure1. Sample of low-quality (black&white) scanned image.

 Figure2. The extracted table from the scanned image, shown in Figure1, using AlgoDocs.

  1. c) Extract Handwritten Text from Scanned PDF and Images: AlgoDocs has an ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition) function that can convert handwritten text into machine-printed text. Figure3 shows a simple handwritten text submitted to AlgoDocs, and the output with 100% accuracy is presented in Figure 4. 

Figure3. Sample of a scanned handwritten text.

Figure4. The extracted table from the scanned image, shown in Figure3, using AlgoDocs.

  1. d) Convert PDF Documents to Structured JSON Objects( PDF to JSON): AlgoDocs can extract text and tables from the scanned documents into JSON files. 

You can check our Video Tutorial, demonstrating how you can Convert PDF to JSON.

For scans & more

Forget about copying text from an article by hand or scanned book. Manual data entry takes more time and has higher costs. Auto-extracting data would stop you from spending extra time doing manual data entry and help achieve the goal significantly faster. Moreover, manual data entry results in errors due to missing/incorrect information, incomplete records, and duplicates. AlgoDocs successfully eliminates annoying and error-prone manual data entry and offers fast, secure, and accurate document data extraction.

If you convert PDF to text or Excel with easy online tool – AlgoDocs. You can simply extract text from any scan files and/or even from pictures. 

End words

Do you have a textbook or some type of journal from which you need to get the text, but you have no time to print it yourself?

What are you waiting for? Now you can use the free subscription plan with 50 pages per month (it is forever). You may check  AlgoDocs pricing for paid subscriptions based on your document processing requirements.

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