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What is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?

OCR is a process that involves the recognition of printed or written text in digital images. It has very wide applications, including converting paper documents to editable electronic format. There are different methods for performing OCR, but the most common approach involves dividing an image into small blocks and analyzing each block for character shapes. The results of this analysis are then compared against a database of known characters to determine the text conten


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Yaniv Noema

3 months ago | 3 min read
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OCR is a process that involves the recognition of printed or written text in digital images. It has very wide applications, including converting paper documents to editable electronic format.

There are different methods for performing OCR, but the most common approach involves dividing an image into small blocks and analyzing each block for character shapes. The results of this analysis are then compared against a database of known characters to determine the text content.


OCR has been around since the early days of computing, but it has become increasingly more accurate and efficient with the advent of powerful processors and sophisticated algorithms. It is now widely used in a variety of industries, including banking, healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics.


Benefits of using OCR

There are many benefits to using OCR, some of which are listed below.

  • Increased efficiency and productivity: With accurate and fast OCR software, workers can quickly convert paper documents into electronic format for further processing. This can save a lot of time and improve workflows.
  • Reduced costs: By eliminating the need to print documents, organizations can save on printing costs. In addition, by converting paper documents into digital format, storage space is reduced and retrieval is simplified.
  • Compliance with regulations: Many government regulations require certain information to be in an electronic format. OCR helps organizations meet these requirements by easily extracting the required data from scanned images.
  • Improved accuracy: When documents are converted into editable text files, there is less risk of human error.
  • Enhanced searchability: Optical character recognition makes documents searchable by keyword, which can be very useful for finding specific information quickly and easily.

Drawbacks of using OCR

Despite its many benefits, OCR also has a few drawbacks.

  • It can be inaccurate: In some cases, the results of an OCR process are not completely accurate. This can lead to errors in data entry and inconsistency in document formatting.
  • It is time-consuming: The conversion of a paper document into an electronic format requires time and effort. If there are a large number of documents to be converted, it can be a very daunting task.
  • It requires training: Not everyone is familiar with how to use OCR software. Training may be required for workers who will be using the software to convert documents into electronic format.
  • Limited language support: OCR software is generally limited to recognizing characters from a specific alphabet or language. This can be a problem for documents that contain text in multiple languages.
  • It is not always reliable: OCR software can sometimes fail to recognize text from scanned images, resulting in lost or garbled data.

Despite these drawbacks, optical character recognition remains one of the most efficient and accurate methods for converting paper documents into electronic format. With the continued development of powerful processors and sophisticated algorithms, OCR is becoming more and more accurate and user-friendly. And as regulations continue to become stricter, organizations are increasingly turning to OCR technology to help them meet compliance requirements. So if you're looking for a way to improve your document management processes, then consider using optical character recognition software!


Example of reading characters from an image and displaying it as text
OCR Google colab example by John Snow LABS


As the world becomes increasingly digitized, optical character recognition (OCR) is becoming an essential technology for businesses of all sizes. OCR is a process used to convert paper documents into electronic files, and it has a number of benefits including increased efficiency, reduced costs, compliance with regulations, and improved accuracy. Despite its drawbacks, OCR remains one of the most efficient and accurate methods for converting paper documents into electronic format. With the continued development of powerful processors and sophisticated algorithms, OCR is becoming more and more accurate and user-friendly. And as regulations continue to become stricter, organizations are increasingly turning to OCR technology to help them meet compliance requirements.


The future of OCR
The future of OCR looks promising, with new applications and improvements in accuracy and efficiency continually being developed. With the ever-growing volume of data that needs to be processed, OCR is becoming an increasingly more important tool for businesses of all sizes.


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Yaniv Noema

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Content on Computer Vision πŸ’»πŸ‘οΈ & Image Processing πŸ–ΌοΈ | Python 🐍 | Beginners and Intermediate πŸ€“


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