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What Is OCR and How Does It Work in Kofax Software?

A Powerful Technology to Streamline How Businesses Work

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is an essential technology for businesses to work with scanned documents. Without it, you can’t search through documents unless they are manually entered into a word processor. At its core, this software enables computers to read documents in the same way that a human can: by recognizing letters’ patterns and picking out text from an image.

This task is surprisingly difficult because our brains work differently than a computer’s processor. While the human brain takes our visual input and categorizes it according to shapes and patterns, computers instead see images as a collection of pixels. Traditionally, programmers must enter any patterns they wish computers to recognise — meaning that their scope was limited and minor variations in font could render text entirely illegible for computers. OCR software was developed as the solution to this problem, and today it is a powerful tool for businesses.

The Early Stages of OCR Software to Today

This technology developed over time and its early stages were nowhere near as powerful as it is today. The first instance of successful OCR software was used in finance and can still be seen today on bank checks. The distinctive font used for the account and routing number on checks is called OCR-A. It was designed to be clear and differentiate each letter and number from the others. As a result, computers could be taught to read a single font from an image.

While OCR-A represented a breakthrough, it was not robust or flexible. The next step was to break characters down into their component parts, which helps the computers identify different fonts and even handwriting contained within images. That development means companies can use OCR to scan and digitally sort through physical documents with the right software.

Today, the most advanced OCR software produces faithful transcriptions of most forms of handwriting and virtually any computer font. It also recognizes formatting elements such as columns. Modern OCR software can even differentiate between intentional text and accidental damage such as stains or spills on documents by using multiple colors.

Using OCR to Your Advantage

Kofax empowers you to work with PDFs through OCR software built into our programs. Powerful tools such as Power PDF and OmniPage use OCR to scan through PDFs and rapidly search through them. PaperPort helps organize your documents and keeps them easily accessible. Power PDF gives you more control over the PDFs and allows you to convert them to different formats or edit the text contained within the documents.

With the power of OCR software, your business can now digitally store all documents and become more organized. You can create and remotely sign legally binding documents and agreements. Using OCR software and our smart search capability, it’s possible to select the relevant kinds of information you want to pull from many documents. The common thread is that you can complete more work in less time with greater accuracy — enabling you to Work Like Tomorrow.

Find the Power PDF solution that's right for you

Find the PDF solution that’s right for you

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