How are scanners and OCR used to capture data?

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An optical scanner is a device which converts text and illustrations into a digitized image. Paperwork can be scanned and stored electronically as soon as it enters an office building then distributed automatically to relevant personnel using workflow. The combined use of scanning and OCR, however, not only captures an electronic image but also allows data to be extracted and exported into an IT system for processing. OCR stands for optical character recognition and the software is used to scan the text character by character, then translate the character image into character codes. Data can be interpreted automatically from a form or invoice so processing can begin almost immediately. This has distinct advantages over manual data inputting which is far more time consuming and labour intensive.

Zonal OCR can also be used to read specifically zoned text from a scanned image. Examples of the use of this is for supplier invoices where a company name and address or VAT number is automatically recognised by the software because of its location on the page.

The use of automated data inputting is becoming increasingly popular with businesses as it uses less human resource, works 24/7, improves cash flow and results in better customer service.

For further advice on the use of OCR software, please contact The IPC Group on 08081 45 46 47.

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