Optical Character Recognition and The Digitization Wave

January 25, 2015

2:00 pm

Optical Character Recognition, popularly abbreviated as OCR technology, is very relevant to the concept of paperless office and the wave of digital revolution. The basic idea of OCR however is not new. Don’t you read and recognize characters? The OCR/ICR machine has evolved to from the same basic concept of tracking – matching and identifying.

The Practice of OCR – Optical Character Recognition

Well the OCR technology definitely has its implications on your business as it will help you convert handwritten papers into digital documents, and hence make information storage and access easy. Companies can process printed or handwritten documents into OCR/ ICR invoices, checks, forms, votes in the form of ballots etc in addition to other business documents, and papers.

Incorrect or faulty OCR can have its negative implications as well. So what does it take to use OCR technology to its strengths and convert it into a better business?

This is how a High Quality OCR Document Conversion is Carried Out!!


The first step to document conversion into a digitized format is to run it through the scanner. Professionals usually use sheet bed scanners for bulk processing (scanning) of documents. Most of the OCR machines recognize characters as the documents are scanned and convert them into editable text.

Two Color Documents:

In order to derive the best OCR results, a document needs to be converted into a black and white image first, so that the machine gets a clear idea of what is a character and what space is not a character. Now it is important to have documents that are in the best condition. Any stains (green brown or any variants of grey) over text will also be converted into black as considered as a part of the character. This can lead to errors or missing text in the converted copies. It is very important to deal with such document conversion with extra care and a higher degree of manual intervention.

Layout Analysis:

An intelligent OCR program will do most of work for you. It will identify how the text has been laid out, the alignment spacing etc. It also identifies graphics and tables and treats them accordingly.

Manual Error Correction:

You might be using a high quality and intelligent OCR, however, it is not right to rely on it completely for accuracy – “we already mentioned glitches like misinterpretation of stains as characters”. Manually checking documents is essential, in case of critical documents, they should be checked for errors with extra care.


A multi-tier quality check is essential. Hence after the manual error correction the documents should be proof read again to ensure that the overall context remains intact and there are no errors in the documents that are digitized.

The level of quality checks and expert intervention needs to be leveraged as per the nature of documents. Since the process of document conversion includes use of technology and further expert intervention, such services are the best carried out by professional service providers, as they have the experience and the infrastructure to carry out such offline & online OCR/ICR processing in the most efficient and accurate manner.

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Ritesh Sanghani is a Director at Hi-Tech BPO and a passionate writer with experience of 10+ years of in Business Process Outsourcing, managing strength of 450+ professionals.