What Is OCR (Optical Character Recognition): Overview, How Does It Work? What Are Its Applications?

OCR is one of the finest examples of human evolution. We’ve successfully made the machine read the text we write, then return it to us. The great thing about this evolution is that OCR came into existence almost a hundred years ago!
And now, experts are projecting how much it’ll impact our lives in 2022. Therefore, the role of OCR in our world is undeniable. But, how exactly does this remarkable technology work? Does it have any actual benefits?
Moreover, what are its applications in the business or marketing world? These are all good questions, so let’s dive in and find their good answers:


Defining OCR Technology


What is OCR? Optical character recognition, the name suggests it a bit, but what are the behind-the-scenes mechanism? Well, as the name tells it, it recognizes each character in a text. Therefore, if you’re reading something on a physical or virtual manuscript like this:
“Word’
Then, OCR will read it like this:
“W o r d”
The spaces suggest how it analyses each individual syllable. Once the tool abstracts all of the text from an image or text manuscript, you will see it like this:
“Word”
You can understand how the process works. This is what OCR does, because it examines each syllable on an image and then presents it to us by formulating it as the original word.


5 Most Common Types Of OCR


OCR isn’t a simple technology that relies on its 100-year old ways. It has evolved massively and even taken AI under its wing somewhere along the way. That’s why it’s imperative that we understand its various types, such as:


⦁ IWR: Intelligent Word Recognition


Intelligent word recognition or IWR is the primary type of OCR that you will come across today. Instead of recognizing each character solely, it analyses hand or type-written words then turn them into virtual texts.


⦁ OCR: Optical Character Recognition


The oldest horse in the yard, OCR itself, is still alive and kicking. Today it’s primarily common in physical OCR devices, such as OCR pens and OCR scanners.


⦁ OMR: Optical Mark Recognition


Optical mark recognition is yet another AI-enthused form of OCR. It helps the user analyze marks or shapes in a text, such as math equations. This makes it an ideal companion for businesses.


⦁ ICR: Intelligent Character Recognition


Much like its older brother IWR, ICR or intelligent character recognition does the same—except it analyses each character in a text. This allows the technology to thoroughly capture texts that are hand-written.


⦁ Optical Word Recognition

Optical word recognition is much like IWR, except it’s also available in physical OCR devices, and it scans each word compared to extracting only the characters.


So, How Exactly Does OCR Work?


The working of an OCR tool is straightforward. In order to help you understand, here’s how OCR works:


⦁ Visit the Website (Desktop & Mobile) Or Download App (Mobile Only)


Once you pick a tool, you will have to download the mobile phone app or visit the website. Then, you will be provided the option to upload the picture you wish to extract text from. In the case of a phone, you will also be given the option to capture the image.

⦁ Text Analysis


Once you upload or capture the picture with the text, then the tool will begin to convert photo to text. This process requires analysis and may take several seconds.


⦁ Text Extraction


This section is where you will see the result, as it will show you the text it has extracted from your image.


What Are OCR Applications? & What Do They Do?


OCR applications are viable picture-to-text converters. Whether on a mobile phone or web app, these applications help you convert your image to text within a few seconds. Therefore, it’s imperative to use them.

But, what exactly do they do? As mentioned above, that’s how they extract text from images in the process. However, to help you understand these applications and their implications, here are 6 elements to remember:


⦁ Convert Images To Text


Converting images to text is the first and primary task of OCR technology tools and applications. They help you take text from an image without any hassle.
As mentioned throughout this article, these OCR tools employ a blend of classic OCR and AI. Which allows them to execute these tasks.


⦁ Create Data Libraries


When text is extracted from physical or virtual manuscripts, it helps the user keep this text for future purposes. That’s the reason many businesses and marketers use OCR in the first place. As it helps them create comprehensive virtual data libraries.


⦁ Make Data Automation Easier


In order to execute data automation, you need data. That’s when OCR steps in once more. This viable OCR technology helps marketers & writers execute astounding tasks.
One of them is to extract text for data automation. In most cases, this text is extracted from data such as images, receipts, ledgers, or other records.


⦁ Convert Vital Information To Text


Vital information depends on your definition of it. Some would consider old bills as vital information. Others would say their textbook records are more important.
Regardless of how you define it, creating a virtual copy can always help you keep it safe. This is one of the primary implications of OCR in today’s world.


⦁ Index Necessary Information

How good would it be if you could access vital information regarding your business at any time? Well, nowadays, you can, but you do have to use OCR, and you have to use it a lot. It can help you create vast indexes and help you access any information easily.


⦁ Promote Efficiency

Lastly, the primary reason behind OCR becoming a vital tech in marketing and business today is its ability to capture text and promote efficiency. Since writers no longer need to go through long scrolls of text because of OCR, it helps improve performance by miles.


Conclusion


This is the role of OCR today, including how it works and its applications. Therefore, if you wish to garner all these benefits, you need OCR in your professional life.

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