How Optical Character Recognition Works

Here at Paperless Digital Solutions, we specialize in scanning paper documents to convert them to digital files. While you might assume that this process entails simply scanning the documents and that’s it, the truth is that there’s more to it. Just scanning the document would create an image file–while you could still read the words, your computer wouldn’t be able to interact with it like it would a text file, meaning that you wouldn’t be able to search within the text. To create a digital archive that’s fully searchable, scanning companies like ours use what’s called optical character recognition software to convert the scanned images into text files that the search function on your computer can read. In this article, our team at Paperless Digital Solutions will be going over more about how optical character recognition works.

How Optical Character Recognition Works

When documents are first scanned, they are typically stored as bit-mapped files in TIF format–essentially, the computer breaks the image into a series of black and white dots. We recognize those patterns of dots as letters and words, but the computer has to do some more work in order to do the same. This is where optical character recognition comes in. The software looks at the pattern of dots and attempts to figure out what patterns represent certain letters or numbers, comparing them to the patterns of thousands of other scanned pages in order to make the best guess. The clarity of the original documents has an impact on the accuracy of the generated text files, but if the originals were clean, laser-printed pages, then optical character recognition should be able to read at least 98 percent of the words correctly.

We at Paperless Digital Solutions hope that this information has given you some insight into how our document scanning services work. If you have questions about optical character recognition, simply give us a call.