What is ICR, Survey & Forms Processing?

ICR stands for Intelligent Character Recognition and is the technology that allows software to interpret hand printed text on scanned images.

Forms Processing Software uses ICR technology to automate data entry tasks involving hand-filled surveys, applications and forms. It provides interfaces for scanning, recognition, data verification and export, as well as management and monitoring tools to track large volumes of documents and data through the workflow.

Forms Processing also includes OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to recognize machine printed text, and OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) for check boxes and multiple choice bubbles.

Robotic Process Automation

Introducing Robotic Process Automation

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation and it represents a new approach to business automation that helps minimize the technical hurdles required for implementing new workflows.

Robotic Process Automation of Data Entry

Traditional business process automations rely on application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow systems to exchange data. This approach has two main drawbacks:

  1. The application vendor must make those APIs available
  2. A programmer needs to write custom code to interface with them

If your software vendor does not provide an interface for consuming the data you need to automate, then you’re out of luck. And even if they do, the development costs can eliminate the ROI if the transaction volume isn’t large enough.

RPA tools avoid the API problem by interfacing directly with the application user interface just like a human would do. They use artificial intelligence and machine learning to “watch” the operator perform a task within the application then creates its own program (called a “bot”) to mimic it. This means that:

  1. Bots can do anything a human can do within the application
  2. Users can create a bot without writing code

Practically speaking, an experienced robotic process automation consultant with programming experience is required to roll out an RPA solution enterprise-wide, and most users will only be able to automate small, routine tasks without assistance. Business-critical, high-volume automations will still involve coding. But RPA dramatically reduces the implementation time and avoids the need to retrofit APIs for software applications that were not designed to support them.

Using RPA with OCR Data Capture

UiPath Robotic Process Automation RPA OCROCR Data Capture is one of the most common business processes to automate with RPA. Taking data stored in paper or electronic documents and […]

OCR Consulting Services

OCR Experts for Any Project

Our unique team of OCR experts are equipped to help out with OCR projects of any size or complexity. We have support specialists that can remotely configure desktop solutions in a matter of minutes and expert systems integrators with years of programming, database design, and robotic process automation experience.

Desktop OCR

Batch Document Scanning and OCRUse our online store to order desktop OCR applications and our staff will be happy to answer your setup questions via email or web chat.

Remote configuration and training services using GotoMeeting are available for a low hourly rate.

Let Us OCR That For You

Got a one-time conversion and don’t want to hassle with software? Upload your scanned document to us and we’ll send back the converted files. Optional verification service corrects recognition errors and layout issue for a low hourly rate.

Data processing for forms, reports, directories, and other documents is also available with output to CSV, Excel, XML, JSON, SQL, etc.

Contact us and if possible provide a sample, total pages, desired output and whether you want us to correct the results after OCR and we’ll reply back with a quote right away. Prices start at $50 for up to 1,000 pages.

Batch Scanning & OCR Servers

Automate document scanning and digital document archival processes using zone OCR, barcode recognition, database integration and other technologies.

Small business systems and single document workflows can be setup remotely via GotoMeeting, usually in just a few hours. Chat now if we’re online or leave a message to schedule a consultation.

Data Capture and Forms Processing

Data Capture Forms OCRAdvanced data extraction solutions that can turn the most complex documents into structured data ready […]

OCR Data Capture

What is OCR Data Capture?

document OCR process automationOCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and is the technology that allows software to interpret text on scanned images. When this technology is applied to automating business data entry processes it’s referred to as OCR Data Capture.

Many are familiar with popular desktop OCR applications designed to convert scanned images to editable documents. When this process is applied to specific areas of the document containing data fields it’s called zone OCR. But OCR data capture software is more than just simple zone OCR. Modern applications use some or all of these technologies:

Enterprise data capture systems provide interfaces for scanning, recognition, data verification and export, as well as management and monitoring tools to track large volumes of documents and data through the workflow.

Who can benefit from OCR data capture software?

messy business information made easy with ocr data captureAny organization that collects data from paper documents, or electronic files like PDF and Office documents, can get a very high return on investment by automating the data entry with OCR data capture software.

You do need to have a significant number of documents to […]

Why are the prices of OCR applications so different?

OCR software ranges in price from freeware all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars. What explains the difference between these applications? Here’s the breakdown:

  • OCR Freeware uses the SimpleOCR or Tesseract engines and provide limited scanning and output format capabilities. Recognition quality is generally poor except for the highest quality document images.
  • PDF OCR Converters provide good quality OCR engines like ABBYY, IRIS and OmniPage, but limit the output to searchable PDF files. These cost less than $100.
  • Standard OCR applications range from $100-$200 and provide full OCR capabilities including converting scans to Word, Excel, HTML and other editable formats.
  • Corporate OCR applications add advanced features like automated hotfolder processing, concurrent licensing and other features useful for business applications. Pricing for these is $200-$500.
  • OCR Servers provide scalable, enterprise OCR services for processing very high volumes of documents or providing OCR capabilities to users throughout the organization. Prices start around $1,500 and go up based on processing volume.
  • Enterprise Data Capture and Forms Processing applications are used to capture structured data from complex documents like healthcare claim forms and invoices that include things like tables, handwriting, checkboxes, and movable zones. These solutions can cost anywhere from around $1,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the document volume and complexity of the project.

Creating forms optimized for handprint recognition

Handprint recognition applications can provide dramatically different results in terms of accuracy depending on whether the form is designed with intelligent character recognition (ICR) in mind.

Forms Processing applications like ABBYY FlexiCapture have a built-in form design tool with ICR-optimized field layout elements and rules that validate whether your form uses best practices for recognition. These forms can be automatically converted to recognition templates for scanning for data capture. This saves you dozens of hours of trial and error during the design process and even more in data entry once the filled in forms are collected.

Best practice recommendations for ICR and OCR forms include:

  • Plenty of space between form elements and labels, at least 0.5cm / 0.25in
  • Use drop out colors for form backgrounds when possible
  • Hand printed characters should be constrained with boxes or combs to force filler to write legible, separated, printed characters
  • Use check boxes instead of handprint when possible since these are nearly 100% accurate
  • Use numeric codes instead of alphanumeric text when possible to reduce the number of possible characters and increase accuracy
  • Use validation rules to check against possible values and flag data with incorrect values
  • Check box fields can be used to verify the presence of signatures

Using OCR to capture data from tables and reports

Data that repeats over and over again in a document can be OCR’d to Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets and other spreadsheet formats, or a SQL Database like Access, SQL Server, MySQL and Oracle.

Inexpensive Desktop OCR products like FineReader, ReadIRIS and OmniPage can automatically convert data from tables to Excel and other spreadsheets, as long as the columns are standard and don’t “overlap” such that different field values appear in the same column area, like when one row of each record represents one set of columns and a second row has additional column data.

Converted data will require some clean-up before it is usable in any database or software application, and it is difficult to convert large numbers of documents in batches this way. But it’s a good way to produce structured data from large single reports or small batches of similar report data.

For more complex tables, tables with similar data but different formats on different documents (like Invoices), tables with nested structure like header and detail rows, Enterprise Forms Processing software is required to turn these documents into structured data like XML, JSON or SQL database tables.

Using OCR with Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation of Data Entry
Robotic Process Automation can simulate human user interfaces to allow code-free application integration for data entry workflows

Robotic Process Automation applications like UiPath and Blue Prism have revolutionized the way that enterprises provide systems integrations and automate repetitive tasks. For any task that involves data that comes on a document, OCR is needed to fully automate it.

An example RPA OCR workflow using an Accounts Payable Invoice automation would be:

  1. Bot signs on to Vendor website
  2. Bot navigates to Invoice Download page and downloads invoice batch PDF
  3. PDF is handed off to FlexiCapture for Invoices RPA interface for data extraction
  4. XML is returned to Bot containing header (invoice number, date) and line item data (items, quantities, pricing) for each invoice
  5. Bot opens accounts payable data entry screen in accounting software
  6. Data from each invoice is entered and submitted by the Bot

Since RPA simulates the clicks and keystrokes that would normally be made by a human operator, bots are able to interface with any software, database or website regardless of whether an Application Programming Interface (API) has been made available. This gets around the hardest part of most data entry automation processes–the need to write code.

ABBYY FlexiCapture integrates with RPA applications like UiPath and Blue Prism to perform OCR data capture services that can be called directly from a bot’s workflow.

ABBYY FineReader Corporate and FineReader Server can be integrated for full-text OCR.

Our OCR experts are also UiPath certified and can deliver end-to-end RPA OCR solutions for your project. Please […]

Using Artificial Intelligence to train OCR templates

Modern Forms Processing applications have AI-based training algorithms that let users point and click on the location of data in their documents and create OCR templates automatically.

This bypasses the technical requirements of creating complex OCR templates, especially for varied documents like Invoices where the data doesn’t always appear in the same place.

But how good are these AI-based training systems?

In our experience they work well when you have:

  • Good quality scanned images
  • Clearly labeled data
  • Tables with regular columns

Point and click style training doesn’t work quite as well with:

  • Poor quality images
  • Data that appears within paragraphs
  • Tables with overlapping columns, subtotal rows, etc.

These types of documents can still be captured with OCR but they will usually require an experienced technician to manually configure the template.

For natural language data like legal documents, a new artificial intelligence technology called NLP (Natural Language Processing) is available. These work by attempting to “understand” the language used in documents to interpret the location of data points based on meaning. ABBYY FlexiCapture also supports NLP-based training for these types of documents.

How to use Zone OCR when the data can be in different locations?

Modern Forms Processing software can use rules-based templates for locating data on documents based on label keywords, data types, regular expression pattern matching and other methods.

The most common example in business is an Invoice. Businesses receive invoices from 1000s of different vendors, each with important information like the Invoice Number, Due Date and Total needed to process the document, but each vendor invoice is formatted a little differently than the others.

Software like ABBYY FlexiCapture will look for keywords like “Invoice Number” or variations like “Inv #” and “Invoice No.” to locate the invoice number value on each invoice.

These applications are also able to capture complex table data and output to formats like Excel or a SQL Database, especially when it doesn’t line up into regular columns.

In recent years, artificial intelligence based training has made it possible to simply point and click on the location of data on documents as you process them and generate these templates automatically, dramatically reducing the need for ongoing expert help these systems require.

Does ReadIRIS, FineReader or OmniPage support Zone OCR?

The “Pro” versions of most Desktop OCR applications support the creation of zone templates that can be used to OCR specific regions on batches of documents.

Most OCR applications have “Lite” versions that don’t have the ability to manually create zones so it’s important to get the correct version.

With these applications it is often not possible to output this data as “fields” in a structured data file like CSV, Excel or XML. What you typically get a text file for each document with a line of text for each zone. The zones are designed more for excluding regions you don’t want or manually overriding the detection of text, tables and images in the document.

If you need to capture specific data in multiple documents and output them to structured data files or a SQL database, Batch OCR Applications are the best option for this.

If you need to capture data formatted in tables and output to CSV or Excel, desktop OCR applications do this quite well as long as the tables have a regular format with well-defined columns.

To capture handprint, irregular tables, large numbers of data points, or data that doesn’t always appear in the same place on every page, Forms Processing software is what you need.

ABBYY FlexiCapture On-Premise

ABBYY FlexiCapture On-Premise – Distributed – Perpetual License PPY 50K Pages

ABBYY FlexiCapture is a powerful data capture and document processing solution from a world-leading technology vendor. It is designed to transform streams of documents of any structure and complexity into business-ready data. And its award-winning recognition technologies, automatic document classification, plus a highly scalable and customizable architecture, mean that it can help companies and organizations of any size to streamline their business processes, increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Handprint Recognition Guide

What is ICR, Handprint Recognition?

ICR stands for Intelligent Character Recognition and is the technology that allows software to interpret hand printed text on scanned images.

Forms Processing Software uses ICR technology to automate data entry tasks involving hand-filled surveys, applications and forms. It provides interfaces for scanning, recognition, data verification and export, as well as management and monitoring tools to track large volumes of documents and data through the workflow.

Forms Processing also includes OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to recognize machine printed text, and OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) for check boxes and multiple choice bubbles.

Who can benefit from handwritten recognition software?

Any organization that collects data on paper-based forms, surveys or applications on a regular basis can get a very high return on investment by automating the data entry with forms processing software.

You do need to have a significant number of forms to justify the expense at least a hundred forms per month or more depending on how much data is being captured. If the data entry task can be done in under 100 man-hours then it is not a good candidate for automation with ICR software.

Organizations that have many separate departments that collect data on forms can share the budget for forms processing software by re-using it for other projects. Your current project may not be big enough to justify the expense, but when combined with one or two others it would be.

How much do Handwritten Recognition systems cost?

The total cost of a forms processing solution includes several items:

  • Cost of the software
  • Time to install and configure the software
  • Forms may need to be redesigned for optimal recognition
  • Recognition templates must be created for each data field on every type of form
  • Data exports must […]

Invoice Processing

What is Invoice Processing?

Invoice Processing Software uses OCR data capture technology and page layout analysis to automatically identify the common data elements in an invoice, such as vendor, date, amount, invoice number, line item data, etc.. Invoice Processing applications are built using the same technology as other data extraction applications, but have been specifically configured to recognize Invoices since they are one of the most common documents that companies need to automate.

Who can benefit from Invoice Processing software?

Data Capture Forms OCRAny organization that receives a large number of vendor invoices on paper can benefit from invoice processing technology. The more data from each invoice that you are hand-keying into your accounting software the more benefit you can get from each page you automate.

Accounting firms and other companies that do outsourced accounts payable processing stand to gain the most return on investment from automation. It also has the benefit of on-shoring the data entry, providing additional security and piece of mind to your customers.

A robust OCR invoice processing solution becomes justifiable when you have over 1,000 invoices per month. When dealing with smaller volumes the potential return on investment does not justify investment in an enterprise solution. However, a simple document scanning solution to digitize and store scanned invoices can still provide many benefits.

How does it lower the cost of AP processing?

There are many benefits to OCR invoice systems when it comes to AP processing that give these systems a very high return on investment.

  • Automate data entry tasks
  • Eliminate data entry errors with validation rules and improved UI
  • Automate retrieval of invoices from vendor websites or email
  • Assign Profit Centers and GL Codes based on business rules
  • Match invoices against open POs
  • […]

HealthCare Claims Forms Processing

Automating Medical Forms with OCR

Perform your claims processing faster, with less errors and effort using OCR.

Once the form is scanned, our software:

  • Electronically isolates and records information provided in the different fields
  • Transfers and fills that information
  • Checks for errors and flags those errors for easy verification.
  • Automatically generates the proper organization and format of the form to meet requirements
  • Accurately submits and stores your claim

By expediting claim processing and increasing accuracy,

you can decrease the overall time it takes to process claims to ensure faster payments.

The open architecture and technology allow for flexibility

to customize and enhance system operations to specifically fit your organization’s unique requirements and easily meet changing healthcare industry standards.

In coordination with our team of experienced professionals,

we can provide the critical expertise and effective ongoing support that you need to succeed in the ever-changing healthcare industry.

Other functions and benefits include:

  • Index forms for instant searching and viewing
  • Reduce the risk of combining redundant member information
  • Customized to specifically fit your company’s requirements
  • Improve exception handling
  • Maintains both professional and institutional claim types with all required information
  • Reduce errors
  • Increase accuracy, productivity, and profitability
  • Predefined templates for fast implementation

The forms CMS 1500 (formerly HCFA 1500) and UB-04 are the most common medical forms used to submit a claim. The form CMS 1500 is the universal claim form used by non-institutional healthcare providers, such as private practices, to bill specific covered services. The form UB-04 is very similar to the CMS 1500, but it is used by institutional healthcare providers, such as hospitals, to submit claims. […]

SimpleSoftware

SimpleIndex can bring speed and efficiency to your scanning or doc filing no matter the process. Even if all you are doing is hand keying a few basic details about a document, breaking those details into individual indexes and adding tools like drop down choice lists, automatic orientation, and blank page deletion ensure a smoother, more consistent process.

Automation

Here’s where things start to get interesting. From basic tasks like splitting individual documents within at stack of pages by spotting a blank page, a specific mark, or a barcode separator to capturing index data directly from the page or looking up additional details about a document in a database, SimpleIndex has a host of powerful tools to tame your piles of paper or drives full of digital files. Let’s look at a few.

OCR

Optical Character Recognition is the ability to take a scan, which is merely a picture of a page, and turn it into words that the computer can understand and use to index your files. SimpleIndex leverages the power of ABBYY FineReader, recognized as one of the best OCR engines on the market, to accurately capture names, dates, important numbers, document types, and other details about your file. Some products have you set a box and capture whatever information happens to fall in that zone. SimpleIndex takes it further with Dynamic Zone OCR to enable you to set an oversized zone that allows for shifting of the pages between scans, but still captures just the date you need by matching against templates, lists, or even Regular Expressions (RegEx). You can also skip the zones entirely and use the full text of a page to find matches for your index data.

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SimpleOCR | OCR Software Experts

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Document Scanners
& Scanner Parts

Accurate OCR starts with quality images. Efficient OCR starts with fast scanning. Find Document Scanners built for OCR at ScanStore.

Our Team of OCR experts is here to help! SimpleOCR is not just Freeware, we have every kind of OCR solution from PDF Converters to Enterprise Data Capture, OCR Servers and Handprint Recognition for Forms and Surveys. Live chat with an OCR specialist now or Contact Us for a consultation on your OCR project.

SimpleOCR is the popular freeware OCR Software with hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. SimpleOCR is also a royalty-free OCR SDK for developers to use in their custom applications.

SimpleIndex is OCR built for business, offering powerful batch scanning, OCR server, and data capture features with a simple user interface and affordable licensing.

If you like free stuff, freeware versions of our SimpleView Document Viewer (with Tesseract OCR), SimpleCoversheet Bar Code Printer, and SimpleExport CSV to XML Converter are also available.

If you have a scanner and want to avoid retyping your documents, SimpleOCR is the fast, free way to do it. The SimpleOCR freeware is 100% free and not limited in any way. Anyone can use SimpleOCR for free–home users, educational institutions, even corporate users.

If your documents have multi-column layouts, non-standard fonts, tables, poor quality or digital camera images, you will not have much success with applications based on free and open source engines like SimpleOCR and Tesseract. You will need a commercial OCR application to get an accurate read. Our OCR Guide compares desktop and server OCR solutions from several […]

Forms Processing

What is ICR, Survey & Forms Processing?

ICR stands for Intelligent Character Recognition and is the technology that allows software to interpret hand printed text on scanned images.

Data Capture Forms OCRForms Processing Software uses ICR technology to automate data entry tasks involving hand-filled surveys, applications and forms. It provides interfaces for scanning, recognition, data verification and export, as well as management and monitoring tools to track large volumes of documents and data through the workflow.

Forms Processing also includes OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to recognize machine printed text, and OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) for check boxes and multiple choice bubbles.

Who can benefit from handprint recognition software?

Any organization that collects data on paper-based forms, surveys or applications on a regular basis can get a very high return on investment by automating the data entry with forms processing software.

You do need to have a significant number of forms to justify the expense– at least a hundred forms per month or more depending on how much data is being captured. If the data entry task can be done in under 100 man-hours then it is not a good candidate for automation with ICR software.

Organizations that have many separate departments that collect data on forms can share the budget for forms processing software by re-using it for other projects. Your current project may not be big enough to justify the expense, but when combined with one or two others it would be.

How much do Survey & Forms Processing systems cost?

The total cost of a forms processing solution includes several items:

  • Cost of the software
  • Time to install and configure the software
  • Forms may need to be redesigned for optimal recognition
  • Recognition templates must be created for each data field on every type of form
  • Data exports must […]

Batch OCR Software

Batch OCR for Full-Text Conversion & Searchable PDF

Batch OCR PDF to Text, Excel, WordThe primary purpose of Optical Character Recognition is to quickly and automatically convert scanned images of machine-printed (typed) text into actual text data that you can search through and modify.

Batch OCR software allows for the conversion of multiple files at once, usually through a hot folder or watched email inbox method that converts any files added to a particular folder.

The ability to watch a hotfolder and automatically convert documents is included in the complete versions of desktop OCR products, like FineReader Corporate, OmniPage Ultimate or ReadIRIS Corporate.

While automatic processing is available in these applications, they are not designed for true server-based processing since the application has to be running on the user’s desktop. OCR servers are designed for unattended batch OCR processing and high-volume applications that require multiple CPUs and processing workflows.

Those applications are all designed for traditional, full-page OCR conversions to text, Word, Excel, or searchable PDF documents.

Batch OCR for Data Capture

Forms Processing OCR Data CaptureOCR Data Capture systems are designed to read specific data points from documents and output structured data like CSV, XML, JSON or SQL databases. SimpleIndex, FlexiCapture and PaperVision Capture all offer batch zone OCR as well as advanced features like AI-based training, invoice processing and line items.

OCR Experts At Your Service

Our OCR experts can help you find the batch OCR software that is right for your project, as well as providing remote installation, setup, training and support that’s not available for most desktop OCR applications. We can also help with enterprise implementations, custom API integrations, RPA or […]

ABBYY OCR

ABBYY is one of the leading OCR (Optical Character Recognition) companies in a world. They offer a large variety of document capture and automation products starting with FineReader Pro for individual or small business scale companies and FineReader Corporate. If you need to process many thousands or millions of pages, ABBYY has FineReader Server for full-text OCR and FlexiCapture for OCR data capture. Many companies are using their products for its flexibility and scalability, there is always a way to customize ABBYY OCR products to fit your automation needs.

ABBYY FineReader OCR software helps individuals turn scans of paper documents, PDF files, and digital photographs into searchable and editable formats. Unmatched text recognition accuracy and document conversion capabilities virtually eliminate retyping and reformatting. Intuitive use and one-click automated conversion tasks let you do more with this OCR software in fewer steps. Up to 190 languages supported for text recognition and document conversion – absolute record on OCR/PDF software market!

ABBYY FlexiCapture is a powerful data capture and document processing solution. It is designed to transform streams of documents of any structure and complexity into business-ready data.  Solid recognition technologies, automatic document classification and a highly scalable and customizable architecture, will allow it to help companies and organizations of any size to streamline their business processes, increase efficiency and reduce costs.

ABBYY FineReader Server is powerful server-based OCR software for automated document capture and PDF conversion. Designed for mid- to high-volume batch processing, it enables organizations and scanning service providers to establish cost-efficient processes for converting paper, as well as TIFF, JPEG, and PDF image documents into electronic files suitable for full-text search and long-term digital archiving.

ScanStore and SimpleSoftware are highly experienced integrators of ABBYY […]

Applications

When you scan a document that has text or numeric data on it, you are able to read and understand what is written in the scanned image. However, to a computer, the resulting image file is just as meaningless an assortment of pixels as a landscape photo. In order to transform this information into an editable format that you can search through, copy, and modify without retyping it manually, you will need the an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.

There is a wide variety of OCR software available. While they all share the ability to convert images of machine printed (not handwritten) text or numbers into an editable format, the various software often have different features, accuracy, prices, and language options.

You can find the various types of OCR software with a description of each below.

Users within a single department, working from home or who have a small business can simply scan their documents to a folder that is shared to everyone. In this “ad-hoc” scenario you only need some basic document scanning software to simplify and bring consistency to your filing system.

If you want to move to the next level, there are Desktop Document Management options that provide an all-in-one means for capture, storage, search and retrieval of documents. Additionally, they provide security, advanced capabilities and ease of use above that of the ad-hoc methods

And let’s not forget cloud-based options that alleviate the need to maintain storage servers or keep software up to date.

Need a simple, no frills OCR solution without spending hundreds of dollars on a professional software package? Look no further. There is a no cost, donation optional, OCR freeware solution for […]

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