Use OCR and ICR to scan handwriting to text and automate data entry from forms filled out by hand.

Handprint Recognition Forms Print CursiveThe OCR experts at SimpleOCR are here to help you scan handwriting to text!

Contact us now for a consultation, or learn more about our solutions here:

OCR Solutions that convert handprint to text:

OCR SDK and API products for developers looking to convert handprint to text in custom applications:

What are the best scanner settings for OCR?

Most OCR applications are optimized for 300 dots per inch resolution images.

While color is supported and most often performs better than black & white images, OCR algorithms will generally convert the color to B&W automatically as part of the OCR process. With color input, the dynamic conversion usually produces the best result, but not always.

Especially when an image contains stray markings, stamps, notes, colored paper or other elements that can throw off the binarization process, OCR results can be improved by paying careful attention to image processing settings and using a pristine black & white image for OCR instead of a color scan.

In forms processing and handprint recognition applications, guide marks in the form can often be removed during the scanning process, improving the OCR results when the software doesn’t have to distinguish between the form background and the words being recognized.

Using drop-out forms, traditionally printed in red or green and then scanned with a corresponding red or green light, automatically removes the form background during scanning and leaves only the text to be recognized. This can dramatically improve recognition results, especially for handprinted data.

Older, black & white scanners would require you to change out the lamps in order to perform color drop-out. All but the least expensive modern color scanners have the ability to enable drop-out colors in the scanner driver.

Advanced forms processing applications can perform color drop-out on-the-fly with scanned color images. Though this is generally not quite as accurate as scanning with a drop-out lamp enabled, it has the advantage of retaining a full-color original copy of the image with the form element and labels visible.

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

Reading Handprint, Checkmarks, and Forms with FlexiCapture and Vantage

ICR – Intelligent Character Recognition

Intelligent Character Recognition

  • Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) is an extended technology of the optical character recognition (OCR ). While the OCR technology is designed to extract machine-printed characters, the ICR technology retreives information provided as hand-printed characters
  • The ICR technology can extract hand-printed characters that are separated and written as individualcharacters in areas/zones – these areas/zones needs to be specified as fixed fields of a machine readable forms. Alternativelly, they need to be automatically detected.

Example of a form containing hand-printed characters:

icr-form-illu.png

Important note: ICR is not able to extract texts in “cursive handwriting” as in this example:

old-handwriting-illu.png

  • In most cases, the ICR technology is linked to Field Level / Zonal Recognition and forms processing.
  • To enhance the ICR recognition accuracy, it is recommended to use meta data, for example regular expressions, dictionaries or database lookups.

ICR in ABBYY SDKs

The following ABBYY SDKs and products support ICR

  • FineReader Engine
    Since the version 12, Release 3, ICR is as well included in the Linux version. Since the Release 4 of the version 12, it is as well included in the Mac version of FineReader Engine (in lower versions, the ICR technology was only supported in the Windows version.
  • FlexiCapture SDK – this SDK is designed for forms processing and data extraction, ICR and template matching for fixed forms are part of the default feature set. In addition, ABBYY offers this technology as a product in form of the FlexiCapture platform.
  • Cloud OCR SDK – the ABBYY OCR service, allows reading zones that contain hand-printed, separated characters. This online OCR service […]

OCR Guide

Optical Character Recognition

During your foray into the world of document scanning, you’ve likely encountered the term “OCR” and may even know that it stands for “Optical Character Recognition“. But what exactly is OCR and how can you make the best use of this sophisticated and valuable tool?

We’re here to give you a run-down of what you need to know about Optical Character Recognition, answer any questions you might have, and recommend the best OCR software solution for your scanning project.

Table of Contents:

What is OCR?

What Is OCR Barcode Scanning Recognition SoftwareThe primary purpose of Optical Character Recognition  is to quickly and automatically scanned or photographed document images into machine readable text that can be searched for keywords or edited in a word processor.

In general, an OCR engine analyzes the pixel data of scanned images and searches for patterns resembling letters, numbers, and other symbols to create a digitized record of characters.

The biggest OCR engines employ huge Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models that have been trained on billions of documents collected over decades of development.

While the exact mechanics of this process can be complicated, OCR engines are a key automation tool for the digital age. It bridges the gap between knowledge stored on physical documents and digital data that can be edited, searched or parsed into structured data to automate data entry tasks.

OCR Output Types

Search Document OCR Recognized TextFull Page OCR converts the entire document into one of the following formats:

    […]

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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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 […]

Document Scanning

One Source, Many Solutions

There are many document scanning solutions to choose from. ScanStore offers many of the top document imaging solutions under one virtual roof. ScanStore‘s CDIA+ consultants can work with you to explain the strengths and weaknesses of each option and even provide a demo of the products using samples that you provide.

You’ll find flexibility with each of these products allowing a one-person shop to jump right in, or scale up to enterprise or service bureau proportions. If you need to throw some data capture into the document imaging mix, ScanStore also carries OCR, forms processing and document management tools.

Information and Advice

Take a look at the Scanning Solutions Comparison page to find in-depth information on the features of the available offerings and for more insight in finding the best fit.

And be sure not to miss the detailed comparison of the favorite Batch Scanning solutions in the exclusive Document Scanning Software Review.

What’s Right for You

You want a paperless office and document scanning is part of the path to get you there. Simply buying a scanner and feeding paper into it isn’t going to save you money. Automation of the scanning process is what holds costs down and drives up your Return on Investment.

For example, if an OCR automation costs $3,000 to implement, but by doing so you save a $15/hr employee 10 hours per week of data entry, the feature has paid for itself in 20 weeks.

So how do we automate the data capture? Here are a few possibilities:

  • Full-Page OCR turns a scan into a full-text document you can search

  • Barcodes on each document contain key data like a customer name or invoice number

  • A single field […]

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.

It is also possible to use these applications to automate data collection from PDF forms, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and other formats used to fill out forms electronically. Many include the ability to publish forms as paper, fillable PDF and web pages simultaneously to distribute and collect data from multiple sources into one dataset.

Who can benefit from forms processing 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 […]

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 […]

Simple Software

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.

Barcodes

Receipt Scanning

When you’re managing your small business’ finances, filing taxes or just dealing with a results of your shopping spree, it’s necessary to know and record where your money is being spent. But receipts from your purchases may get lost in a sea of other documents and miscellaneous papers.

And when it comes to record keeping, tracking a pile of receipts can become daunting, especially if you travel often for business and need to organize them for expense tracking, or you run your own company and want to write-off all expenses you can.

If you struggle to keep track of your receipts, a receipt scanner can become incredibly useful. Some receipt scanners include online tools and apps that allow you to keep and access your receipts from anywhere, so receipts will be consolidated and you can access them whenever you need them.

At the same time, just having a mobile phone with Scanner App offer a lighter and easier alternative. Receipt Scanner Apps make it easy to scan receipts with any mobile device. Having the ability to transcribe key data and record the information without manual data entry will save you time, and best of all, you can toss those paper receipts.



The Neat app transforms your device’s camera into a powerful mobile receipt scanner that’s always at your side, making it easy to stay organized. The Neat mobile app is especially helpful for tracking expenses while traveling for business or on the road. As soon as you have a receipt or document, just snap a pic and into Neat it goes. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to run an expense report with the click of a button.

Intuit offers a large accounting and record keeping ecosystem Quickbooks. Luckily, […]

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.

Traditional forms processing relies on constrained handwriting, where boxes on the form force the filler to write with separated, printed block characters. Modern AI technology has dramatically improved the ability to recognized unconstrained handwriting and cursive script. Hand printed notes, free-form comments blocks, non-segmented fields, historic documents, and more can now be converted to text with acceptable accuracy where these were impossible just a few years ago.

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 25 working hours then it is probably 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 […]

Knowledge Base

The SimpleOCR Knowledge Base contains frequently asked questions and answers, technical guides and general information on a broad range of optical character recognition, handprint recognition, data capture, PDF OCR, AP invoice scanning and zone OCR applications.

Contact Us for FREE Consultation on Your OCR Project

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 […]

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

Data Capture Forms OCRAutomate 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

Advanced data extraction solutions that can turn the most complex documents into structured data ready […]

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 […]

Amazon Textract API

Automatically extract handwriting, plain text or form data from any document using the world’s largest OCR machine learning model based on billions of sample documents.

Amazon Textract is a cloud OCR service that automatically detects and extracts text and data from scanned documents and PDF files. It goes beyond simple optical character recognition (OCR) to also identify the contents of fields in forms and information stored in tables.

Amazon Textract API also lets you implement OCR in your RPA workflows. UiPath and other bots offer connectors that let you include Textract OCR into your RPA process.

Textract is not a “ready-to-use” product. It requires programing skills, experience with AWS systems and decent amount of coding to implement it into your systems, especially once you add user interfaces for scanning and data validation.

Simple Software developers have the necessary skills and experience to integrate Textract into your custom applications. Contact us or click the Request a Quote button to get a proposal for your custom application development project.

Simple Software also offers the ready-to-use SimpleIndex application that incorporates Textract into a fully-featured scanning, indexing and document processing application.

SimpleIndex Cloud OCR

SimpleIndex Cloud OCR adds Amazon AWS Textract OCR to any SimpleIndex workstation or server license.

Textract capabilities include the most accurate OCR and handprint recognition available, automatic form field detection, accounts payable invoice and receipt processing.

Amazon Textract is only available as an API that requires custom programming to make it work. SimpleIndex turns it into a complete document and data capture application designed for easy batch processing on a workstation or server.

Requires an AWS account. Standard Textract transaction fees will apply.

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