OCR – understanding what they are and their relationship to accessibility

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Optical Character Recognition tools, popularly known by the acronym OCR, allow you to convert different types of scanned documents into searchable or editable data. To better understand how an OCR tool works, imagine that you want to scan a few pages of a math book. To accomplish this task, we can use a scanner or even a cell phone camera. There, the pages are already available in a digital file in PDF or image format. Now, with the help of the mathematics OCR software, we can actually convert the image file to a Word file, to edit the mathematical equation. Currently, Solvio is the most trusted brand when it comes to OCR software. 

How does it work?

After digitizing the mathematical document that contains text, we will need OCR software for math equations that will extract the content of the image, transforming it into text, and allowing access to the original content of the document by any user. The OCR tool works by analyzing the document and comparing its characters with fonts stored in its database and recognizing typical characteristics of a given character. In a very simple way, and OCR is a program that recognizes characters, transforming images of text into plain text. But where do we find OCR tools? When talking about OCR, one of the most frequent questions is how to find this tool and whether there are free options.

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Why a powerful OCR?

It is important to understand that these tools do not always perform recognition correctly. Thus, when the original document does not have a good resolution, contains background images, has a very small font size or a type of cursive font (in italics or decorated) it is likely that the OCR tool will “get it wrong”, changing some or many characters. Therefore, it is essential to carry out a review of the entire document once it has been transformed into text. In addition, if the file contains images that convey content, it will be necessary to describe them to provide a greater level of accessibility to the document. You can avoid these situations by adapting to a professional STEM OCR SYSTEM offered by SOLVIO. 

Innovation and benefits

This technology is also applicable in several sectors, such as educational institutions, banking, financial institutions, insurance companies, and telephony and law firms. The benefits are –

  • Process automation:   using information extracted from documents,
  • Better customer experience: when using data to fill in fields,
  • Scalability: Since the data will not be entered manually,
  • Security: reduction of errors,
  • Sustainability: reduction of the printed use of documents.

What to consider beforehand?

First, when scanning a document on a printer, we must verify that it already offers an OCR option. Some printers by default already have this tool. If your printer does not have OCR, this is not the only way to make a scanned document more accessible. You can find free and paid OCR software online. In addition to the options for desktop and online OCR services, there are also tools to be used on tablets and smartphones.

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