Zone OCR automates data entry from from documents by reading the text at specific coordinates using optical character recognition. Data is output to a database or structured text files like CSV, XML or JSON.

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.

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.

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.

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 ABBYY Vantage Document Skills

Processing Your First Documents with Vantage

Learn how easy it is to get started with Vantage – upload your documents and Vantage will take care of the rest.

 

How to Create and Train a Vantage Document Skill

Learn how to use the Vantage Skill Designer to create and train a new Document Skill with just a few sample documents.

 

How to Create and Train a Classification Skill in ABBYY Vantage

Learn how to use the Vantage Skill Designer to train a new Classification Skill. You need just a few samples of each document class.

 

 

How to Automate a Complete Workflow, by Creating a Vantage Process Skill

 

 

How to Edit a Document Skill

Learn how to adapt already existing skills to your specific documents and business requirements.

 

 

How to perform the first authentication in Vantage Swagger UI?

To get a first access token perform the initial authentification using the default client, one does not need to enter any passwords or client ID. The initial authentication is preconfigured. Just open a Swagger page (EU link or US link), click Authorize:

mceclip1.png

Select all scopes, and click Authorize again:

mceclip0.png

The password should be specified only for a custom client. A custom client can be created after the initial initialization.

References

EU Help: Getting a Tenant Identifier or US Help: Getting a Tenant Identifier

EU Help: Creating a Client or US Help: Creating a Client

Learn more at ABBYY […]

Using FlexiLayout Studio to Design Data Capture Templates

FlexiLayout: How to capture a table using Repeating Group if table header is on each page

In some cases, we might have a table that we are not able to capture correctly using a traditional method – Table element. In such cases, we usually use Repeating Group element.

But what if we come across a multi-page document that has a table header on each page?

mceclip0.png

We can use two following methods to capture such a table using the Repeating Groups.

Using Absolute search area constraints

To limit the search area to the table area so that it doesn’t capture unnecessary text outside of the table, we can use Absolute search area constraints in the Search Constraints tab.

You can measure the area with the Measure Rectangle tool.

mceclip0.png

Using nested Repeating groups

Sometimes it might be not suitable to use the Absolute search area constraints method because other tables using this layout might have different positions and lengths of elements, thus making it not convenient to use the method, because you will have to re-measure the area every single time.

In such a case, you can use the nested Repeating group method.

  1. Create the first, “main” Repeating group that will include the Table header and footer. mceclip1.png
  2. Next, create the nested RG in the first RG. The relations are as follows: mceclip2.png
  3. These are the main steps, other elements in the RG don’t need any specific settings and should be designed according to the needed results.

Additional information

FlexiLayout: Capturing a table using Repeating Group

 

How to reliably capture elements in FlexiLayout Studio if the image resolution can vary

When the image resolution varies, then the search area of elements based on absolute offsets can miss […]

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 […]

How to have more control over the OCR process in PowerPDF

Q: How to have more control over the OCR process in PowerPDF?  For example, to edit the text in the OCR layer to correct mistakes.

A: As designed, Nuance PowerPDF does not offer this functionality .

Nuance Power PDF program offers a powerful built-in OCR engine but it only offers limited control over the OCR process.  To accomplish what the client is requesting you would specialized Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program such as Nuance® OmniPage®.

There are many advantages in using this Nuance® OmniPage® Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program if you want more control over the OCR process.

  • Choose from four formatting levels instead of two (see below)
  • Win full control over the OCR process, including:
    • The ability to manually zone pages
    • Access to multi-lingual spell checking and proofing
    • Dynamic verifier image display to speed up editing
    • Voice readback facility
    • And much more.
  • Scan new pages into the converted document
  • Add new pages from fax, image files or digital cameras
  • Save to other formats, including OmniPage’s internal format for document sharing with other OmniPage users.

The four formatting levels offered for saving in OmniPage are:

The pages retain the layout of the originals. Graphics and framed elements are placed in text boxes. Whenever possible, other text is transferred without using text boxes. Power PDF offers this under the name Flowing Column.

The pages retain the layout of the originals, but all elements are placed in text boxes, including text in columns. Power PDF offers this formatting.

Text is decolumnized, but text attributes, graphics and tables are retained.

  1. Flowing Page
  2. True Page
  3. Formatted Text
  4. Plain Text

Text is decolumnized and rendered as plain text. Graphics and tables are retained, but not in their original locations. This option is convenient for users who want to reformat the content.

 

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

OCR Data CaptureForms Processing OCR 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, […]

OCR Servers

Enterprise OCR servers let you perform Optical Character Recognition on thousands of documents at a time, scaling to meet the demands of the largest document conversions.

Traditional Desktop OCR applications require a person to load the scanned document, run the OCR process and save the output files. This makes sense when you are converting individual documents, but large organizations with thousands or millions of documents need something much more automated and scalable.

OCR Server processing workflow

Typical Enterprise OCR Applications

As the cost of OCR software and hardware goes down each year and the quality goes up, full-text search is included in more and more records management applications. Typical applications include:

  • Data mining
  • Litigation support
  • Full-text searching
  • Document management

Features of Enterprise OCR Servers

  • OCR is performed in the background without a user interface
  • Files are imported automatically from hotfolders
  • Ability to use multiple CPUs and servers for processing
  • Management tools for remote administration
  • Web service & API integration to submit OCR jobs

What is the Best OCR Server?

The ABBYY FineReader Server offers the best combination of features, performance and pricing. It has flexible licensing, including an unlimited CPU-based license that does not limit the number of pages processed.

Foxit PDF Compressor has the lowest entry level pricing, OmniPage OCR and unique PDF compression technology that can dramatically reduce the size of searchable PDF documents, leading to faster viewing and lowered cloud storage and bandwidth costs.

The SimpleIndex Server offers affordable unattended OCR services coupled with advanced data extraction and indexing capabilities that organizes documents automatically or saves metadata to Excel or a SQL database. It doesn’t have the scalability, API interfaces or compression technology that other OCR servers have, but you can bundle the Standard Server version with them to add indexing, […]

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 […]

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

Enterprise OCR Applications

Enterprise OCR Data Capture Software Enterprise OCR Data Capture Software

Enterprise OCR refers to applications designed with the features and scalability required for large businesses and service operations.

Speed and efficiency are the name of the game at the enterprise level so options like batch processing, multi-user and multi-server workflows, security and compliance auditing are found in these applications.

Enterprise OCR can also refer to Enterprise Site Licensing for desktop OCR applications that allow any user in your organization to install licensed OCR tools without incremental costs. Contact Us for a quote on any Site License.

Enterprise Data Capture Solutions Enterprise Constitution Class Starship

Enterprise Document Management

With the high volume of documents coming out of an enterprise OCR product, there is a need for robust Document Management applications with enhanced features that cover the stricter oversight needs of large organizations. Sorting through thousands or millions of pages can quickly turn digital documents into a quagmire without proper organization, tagging, search and workflow capabilities.

Enterprise Document Management features include:

  • Digital signatures
  • Document life cycle management
  • Version control
  • Advanced keyword searching & full-text indexing
  • Audit trails (HIPAA, Sarbanes compliance)
  • Cloud Based Document Management Apps Cloud Based Document Management Apps

    Email archiving

  • Workflow routing
  • Enterprise Report Processing (ERP)
  • Document access control

Our document management solutions work with any of the enterprise OCR products below to provide a secure end-to-end solution. Contact Us to see how they work together in an online demo or get a quote.

OCR to Database

Data is Everything. It does not matter in what field your company works, after all everything will be distilled into digits of data and accumulated in Database to be processed, stored, repurposed and reassembled again, again and again.  All organizations have database, that acts as a repository for all of their information. And you may survive with manual data entry, or using spreadsheets or just folders with documents for some time, but eventually just mare amount of Data will become overwhelming.

Luckily there are plenty of solutions for your Database. You can choose between SQL (MySQL, Access, Postgres, …) or NoSQL (Mongo, AWS, …) solutions for storing and processing Data, but there will be always an issue of how raw unprocessed digits get from images or texts into more structured form of your Database. Identifying and transferring all of this data can be a bit of a task. Misreading data or mismatching of data to fields could easily ruin your data processing system. Thus, precision of data character recognition becomes essential.

One of the solutions is to keep these processes of scanning and data transferring separate. You can use one software for character recognition and transferring data from image to PDF or text document. And then to use PDF (or text) to database converters to extract that data into your database format. The very obvious disadvantage of this approach is that it adds the whole extra step into your data processing. You will start accumulate additional errors, will add time for setting up additional conversion, will add time to data processing and will add time for inevitable error identifying and bug fixing. It may work for smaller companies, but on larger enterprise level it becomes cost prohibitive.

Another solution is OCR to Database direct approach. […]

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 […]

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.

ABBYY FlexiCapture Cloud

ABBYY FlexiCapture Cloud

ABBYY FlexiCapture Cloud delivers ABBYY’s advanced data capture platform capabilities via REST API and web interfaces. ABBYY FlexiCapture Cloud customers can rapidly configure and deliver their Content IQ solution, taking advantage of our cloud services to automate and accelerate their document-driven processes. The advanced machine learning and AI in the platform improve classification and data extraction results, enabling core processes to support better, smarter, faster decisions.

FlexiCapture Cloud enables organizations to accelerate digital transformation by complementing their automation systems with new and advanced cognitive capabilities that liberate the intelligence locked in their documents.

PaperVision Capture OCR Server

PaperVision Capture’s fully customizable OCR server uses a machine-based Open Text OCR license to give you incredibly fast full-text OCR capable of handling millions of pages per day without expensive click charges. It can be expanded to add powerful zone OCR and forms processing capabilities. PaperVision Capture was designed for the biggest service bureau scanning operations in the world and tackle any scanning, OCR and  job. Its modular licensing based on the number of capture stations gives it the best price/performance ratio for many scenarios.

IRIS Powerscan Advanced Server

IRISPowerscan OCR Server & Central Management distributes document processing activities among multiple users and share a common organization scheme for export digitized documents. It has more powerful zone OCR and automated indexing capabilities compared to other OCR servers, and is priced based on processing speed rather than pages, with unlimited licenses available.

PaperVision Capture Forms Magic

PaperVision Capture Forms Magic adds handwriting recognition, forms processing, invoice processing or healthcare claims forms templates and business rules to their high-volume document scanning and data capture platform.

ABBYY Cloud OCR SDK

ABBYY® Cloud OCR SDK is a web-based document processing service that will enhance your enterprise software systems, SaaS platforms, or your mobile apps with the ability to convert documents and utilize textual information from scans, PDFs, document images, smartphone photos, or screenshots.

Combining ABBYY’s latest AI-based technologies for information extraction with the highly scalable processing power of the Microsoft® Azure® computing infrastructure, this secure and reliable ABBYY cloud service can be easily integrated into your application via a REST API—empowering it to precisely convert virtually any number of pages within the shortest amount of time.

ABBYY Vantage

ABBYY Vantage leverages AI machine learning and a huge library of document “skills” to provide out-of-the-box data capture for all kinds of documents.

Vantage provides a simple way to implement new data capture processes without the need for programmers.

It takes the FlexiCapture platform, hosts it in the cloud, and dramatically simplifies the interface. The thousands of settings you can use with FlexiCapture to build templates are managed by the AI, giving you a simple point and click interface to create new document capture workflows.

The “Skills” library gives you pre-configured capture workflows for hundreds of the most common documents. Simply connect them to your import and export destinations and you are ready to go, saving you hours or even days of development time.

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