You are here because you have heard about OCR, and now you are wondering what it is. If you want to know what optical character recognition is then you have landed in the right place. OCR is not just a concept. Rather it is a complete technology that is used to extract text from image. It used to be that you could only get text from an image by manually typing it down. That tends to be cumbersome, time consuming and inefficient. There is also a chance of human error in manual conversion. It’s way better to use OCR tools to get text from your photos.
Example of OCR at work
If you think OCR is just for show, then you would be mistaken. This is a technology that’s being used a lot out there. As an example, if you Google Lens, you will be familiar with it OCR function.
This feature is available on the desktop version of the application. You can use it to extract text from your images. It’s an essential time saving application allowing you get within seconds text that would otherwise have taken you hours to type.
That’s one example of the use of OCR. There are many tools out there that you can use for this purpose. In fact, we firmly believe OCR tools are a must have for every office. The following are other common practical uses of OCR;
- You can index print material for search engines
- It can be used for auto data entry, extraction and search
- It can recognize license plates of vehicles
- It can sort letters for mail deliveries
- It can translate text into different languages
- It helps you convert image to text or editable Word files!
OCR uses that you should know about!
There are many uses of OCR tools. These tools essentially scan paper documents for readable text. This happens within a matter of seconds. The program then converts the text that’s on the piece of paper or image into written text.
OCR programs are not limited to extracting text from images, however. They can also get text from PDF and other scanned document formats. You can retrieve text for multiple purposes like editing or even storing. You can use OCR tools to get text from the following document formats;
Advantages of using OCR tools
Usually OCR tools are used to change images of contracts, invoices and other business documents into editable text format. OCR tools;
- Reduce the cost which is wasted in manual conversion of images to text.
- Speed up the process of getting text from images. It usually takes hours to extract small textual details from an image if you do it manually. You can save all this time by using the online tools. OCR tools can get the job done in less than seconds which is a big pro of this tech.
The technical aspect of OCR
If you are wondering how the OCR tools work on a technical level, then you should read this section. The first thing to know is that most of the tools scan the image and find text in it. During this process OCR tools turn the image into a two color version (black and white). The dark areas in the image represent the text and the light areas are the image’s background.
Next, characters within the dark section are separated. OCR tools are able to compare the characters based on alphabetic and numerical characters. These characters form words. OCR tools use;
- Pattern recognition to identify and compare textual data in the image.
- Feature detection. This helps the tool identify complete words.
Now the characters that are recognized by the tool are converted into binary digits. Next, this is changed into text. The process takes around five to ten seconds in which the tools extract text from image.
The Importance of Proofreading
In this article, we taught you about OCR tools and how they are used. We noted that OCR tools are important in the office environment. They can be used to extract text from images, that’s saving your from having to spend minutes or hours typing.
It’s important, however to note that you need to always edit the text that you get from whatever OCR tool you are using. Proofreading makes sure that the tool has done a good job.
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