Levels of OCR Software
OCR Software comes in many different types, which vary in price range based on their features, speed, and accuracy. For instance, you can get a freeware such as SimpleOCR that will serve in a pinch, but it will only be able to convert BMP, JPG, and TIF images of English or French text into plain text documents of TXT or DOC format, one page at a time.
On the other hand, you can invest a few hundred dollars in a Batch OCR or even Server OCR software that will be able to watch particular folders for incoming documents in a variety of image formats and languages, then automatically recreate exact copies of all of the pages therein in a format of choice.
You can also find Desktop OCR software, which will bridge the price gap and include many of the features of the Corporate editions but still require some user input during conversion.
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Although some OCR engines are better than others, no software can guarantee 100% accuracy. This is because there are other factors in play, including scan quality. Recognition software will not be able to do its work if the scanner is not properly digitizing the page.
It is recommended to scan at a resolution of 300dpi for best results. Black & White (Bitonal) is preferred over Greyscale or Color modes, and although most modern scanners are fairly well configured out of the box, you may want to adjust your Brightness and Contrast settings for your particular documents.
If you do not have a scanner that has the necessary speed, quality, or other features that you require to scan your documents, you can always find a large selection of document scanners at ScanStore! ScanStore even has a handy scanners guide to help you find the perfect scanner for your specific requirements and price range.
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Limitations of OCR
OCR software is also limited in what it is able to recognize. Most OCR software are only designed to recognize machine printed text, as opposed to handwriting. While there are ICR software that can recognize handwritten information, they tend to be enterprise level solutions for forms processing work, rather than full page recognition.
Similarly, most OCR software are only able to convert traditional machine fonts, not cursive scripts or calligraphy. There are many fonts out there, and OCR engines depend on common, separated letter shapes to recognize the text, so fonts that are unusual or flow together will not be recognized.