There are certain file formats that before the development of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), you could not edit. Some examples of these files include Portable Document Formats (PDFs), Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), Portable Network Graphics (PNG), and pictures that have texts in them. In this article, besides providing a comprehensive definition of OCR, we will look at its use and then outline some of its benefits.
Optical Character Recognition
Optical Character Recognition is a process of effective document conversion either be electronic or mechanical. The process entails the conversion of images of text in whatever form they may come (printed, handwritten, or typed) into machine language so that it can be edited. Or in simple terms and as alluded to in the introductory part of this article, OCR allows you quickly digitalize documents and saves you the hassle of having to retype text you want to use that is contained in say a PDF. This tool can be particularly useful to academic writers who want to make lengthy references to the works of revered scholars in their field of study as instead of having to retype, OCR enables them to simply convert the material into a format they could easily copy, paste, and reference from.
Uses of Optical Character Recognition Software
Besides its clear benefit to writers in academia, OCR software has had remarkable success in other fields of endeavors. Here’s a list:
- Data Entry: OCR software has been utilized in the entry of data for business documents. These documents could include receipts, bank statements, and invoices.
- Information extraction and recognition from international passports
- The automatic recognition of number plates
- The extraction of relevant information from Insurance documents
- It makes it possible to search scanned printed documents
- OCR software has also been utilized in aid of the blind and visually impaired
The Pros of OCR Software
One apparent benefit of OCR software is its portability. OCR software will help to declutter your office space of paper documents that are fast becoming obsolete. With OCR software you can digitalize all sorts of paper documents such as receipts, invoices, and other essential documents in paper form. Besides leaving you with a more orderly and spacious workspace, it enables you to be able to carry and store a huge amount of data using a thumb drive or even the internet.
2. It makes documents searchable
As mentioned earlier, certain file structures are immutable and hence, unsearchable. When a file is immutable it means that its content cannot be edited and as a result cannot be quickly searched. OCR software enables such a file or document to be converted into a format that can be read by machine and thus, searchable. In their converted format, these documents may be searched for their specific content.
3. It allows for Edits
There’s no denying that errors are human nature. So, until we somehow achieve perfection, the need to edit or effect changes to statements that we have made would always exist. OCR software enables you to detect mistakes in your documents and effect the necessary corrections. OCR software also helps you to adapt to change seamlessly. For instance, let’s assume that having anticipated that the government would lift lockdown restrictions at a particular date, you had created beautiful fliers containing that date but later discovered that the date wasn’t as you expected, instead of having to redo your whole design, OCR software allows you convert your design into machine-readable language so that you can easily affect the necessary corrections.
4. It is cost-effective and consumes way less time
OCR software is a cost-effective document conversion tool. Paper costs money and paperwork itself takes a lot of time. The manual process of entering data onto computers to digitalize and bring the business process to the 21st century has been rendered redundant and unnecessary as with OCR software, all you need do is scan whatever document it is that you want to be uploaded and the software will do the rest.
Technology has a way of catching up with us no matter how fast we try to run away from it. Even formerly diehard fans of the orthodox way of entering data cannot but agree that OCR software is a less cumbersome and error-prone method of data entry. And whereas, hardcopy materials are susceptible to disasters should as flooding, fire outbreaks, and the likes, digitalized data due to the possibility of saving it in the cloud, will always be the safer option.