A Quick Introduction to OCR

OCR (optical Character Recognition) is the process by which written text is scanned into a processing unit (computer or mobile phone) using a scanner or similar device and turned into digital written text. This content can then be modified, emailed, or used in word processing software. Books or other printed documents (produced prior to the advent of digital publishing methods) can thus be scanned and digitally saved in this manner.


However, this approach is more than just beneficial for text preservation in the digital age. These writings can be made accessible to many blind and visually impaired people by using a screen reader — a software solution that interprets visible text on a device’s screen and then provides output via a Braille display or a Speech synthesizer..


Keep in mind that electronic does not always imply accessible. Simply scanning a book or paper is insufficient; the scanned image file must be converted into accessible and editable text using OCR. But how exactly does OCR work?


According to ABBYY (an OCR software provider), the application examines the structure of the document picture. It splits the page into elements such as text blocks, tables, graphics, and so on. The lines are broken down into words, and subsequently into characters. After identifying the characters, the algorithm compares them to a set of pattern pictures. It raises a slew of theories regarding what each character might be.


The computer explores many options of dividing lines into words and words into characters based on these theories. After considering a large number of such probabilistic possibilities, the algorithm makes a choice and displays the recognized text to you. Dictionaries are also used by OCR software to aid in analysis.


OCR-capable gadgets, like smart phones, may now be carried about in your pocket thanks to advances in technology. Many low-cost software applications are available that can convert printed text such as restaurant menus, mail, municipal accounts, and other documents into accessible text for the visually impaired. This entails the user taking a photo of a document with their mobile device’s camera, scanning it using OCR software, then reading it with their screen reader. Reading independently is now simpler than ever before and, because of the low cost of these sorts of programs, more accessible to a larger number of people.


It is critical to remember that OCR is not a substitute for the human eye and that handwritten and other poorly preserved documents may cause issues.

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