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What is OCR scanning?

Microform Branding - Finger touching digital screen.

One of the many services that we offer our clients is OCR scanning.

Quite often, however, most people don’t know what OCR scanning is, or even what it stands for.

Optical Character Recognition, put simply, is the electronic conversion of images of typed, handwritten, or printed text. This is then encoded and the process enables technology to recognise characters in files, allowing the information to become both identifiable and searchable.

In addition, OCR scanning provides users with the opportunity to edit text.

So if you have been sent a document that requires edits, OCR scanning enables users to change the document – although not the image itself.

What are the benefits of OCR Scanning?

As you can imagine, the primary advantage of OCR scanning is that it makes your documents 100 per cent text searchable.

This means that if someone in your company is searching through documents or files, specific addresses and reference numbers can be sought and identified in a matter of moments.

For companies or organisations that have large storage facilities or databases, this means that a considerable amount of time can be saved and some of the largest institutions can save thousands of hours per year.

Although we work with a large number of private companies, we also have relationships with libraries, museums, and other public institutions.

These kinds of organisations benefit massively from OCR scanning as it enables rare, valuable and previously inaccessible documents and books to be opened up to the public.

What’s more, many councils around the country have also benefited from OCR scanning, with multiple departments often choosing to have their entire records scanned and converted into electronic documents.

There are many document options

Quite often our clients require their documents to be placed into more common file types such as Microsoft Word.

That said, we are also able to convert documents into Excel so that important information can be applied to structured tables, text, and images.

This is advantageous for businesses in finance and law, as well as companies that happen to work with a lot of directories involving addresses and contact details.

We can also convert them into fully editable files including:

  • PDF searchable formats

  • CSV files

  • XML files

We can also use OCR scanning on an array of physical documents including:

  • Legal documents

  • Medical records

  • Newspapers

  • Books

  • Magazines

  • Manuscripts

  • Financial information

What is the success rate?

The success rate of OCR scanning depends entirely on the documents being scanned.

For instance, good quality and well-preserved documents often have success rates of around 99 per cent.

Older documents, however, which could be faded and contain scuffs, marks and other scratches, might impair the quality of the recognised text.

In the unfortunate instance where this might happen, we can also provide an OCR clean-up service, alongside further proofing and formatting for scans that might have mistakes or impairments due to old or low-quality documents.

For more information about our OCR services, or how the process works, give us a call on 01924 825 700, or alternatively email us at