Character Recognition Software

Character recognition software is mainly used to extract text from scanned paper documents and turn it into computer-readable content that can be searched, edited and manipulated in a number of other ways. It is based on the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system. OCR "Intelligent" systems with a high degree of recognition accuracy for most fonts are now common. Some systems are even capable of reproducing formatted output that closely approximates the original scanned page including images, columns and other non-textual components. A character recognition program is designed to recognize user input that consists of different patterns, like letters and numbers. It is pre-programmed or pre-taught already for numbers and alphabets, and it is possible to teach it new characters.

Character recognition software successfully extracts text from images and saves it. All you need is a high quality image (black text on white background is strongly advised) and the character recognition software. Quality, professional OCR software successfully extract over 99% of the text contained in the image is successfully extracted. However, due to that 1%, the extracted text must be proofread to make sure no errors remain. At this time, no software is 100% error free, no matter how expensive it is.

Let’s say you have a newspaper and you want some text from it on your computer. Can you extract that text without having to type it in Word? Of course! The process is quite simple and it only takes a few minutes. Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Scan the document (check the “scan to OCR” option – all printer software have this option) - there is an optimal resolution of approximately 400-600 DPI above and below which the accuracy decreases.
  2. Save the resulting file as a high quality image (.PNG and .TIFF are the best).
  3. Run the Character Recognition Software on the image.
  4. Save the text and and convert it to an editable format.

As you see, basically, OCR is the process of turning an image of text (such as a scan of a typed letter) into an editable document that you can open and use in your desktop publishing software, word processor, or other text editor. Today's Character Recognition Software packages contain sophisticated support for multiple languages, PDF and HTML output, and format retention.

Character Recognition Software can also be used to convert scanned PDF documents. Since each page of the PDF document is a scanned image, it is not possible without conversion software that includes OCR. So, with the help of a reliable PDF converter, the scanned pages can be turned into editable.

Unfortunately, as we already mentioned, character recognition software is not error-proof. In fact, depending on the font you use, the contrast between the background and text color, and some other factors, the number of errors increases or decreases. Running a few tests of your own is the best way to find the perfect combination of these factors. Anyway, errors will appear, so always proofread the extracted text.

There are dozens of character recognition software packages, some even free. But keep in mind that free software will provide less quality than premium software. Also, options are limited, and free programs can be very unstable, experience crashes or even mess up your Operating System. On the other hand, professional software offers multiple conversion options to the most popular formats, very high conversion accuracy rate and tech support that can resolve your image conversion issues, should your converted document contain errors. So, be very careful when choosing character recognition software you want to work with.