Creative Scanning Solutions, Inc.
Optical Scanning Technologies

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and barcode technologies are used to transfer machine-printed information into a digital format.

For OCR applications, a scanner is used to create an electronic image of a sheet of paper (an invoice, order, etc.).  An OCR software package then matches the patterns found in the image to known characters, and in doing so, translates the image to a file containing the letters and numbers that it found on the paper.  Some word processors now include a built-in OCR capability, and many scanners come with an OCR software package included.

In a similar fashion, barcode technology can be used to transfer machine-printed information (customer number, part number, etc.) into digital data.  There are many standard barcode formats in use today, and standards for dense 2-dimensional barcodes have been developed.  Barcodes can be pre-printed directly onto the forms to be scanned, or applied to the form via a label.

Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) is widely used to collect data from checked or shaded bubbles (remember those standardized tests?) for a variety of applications.  An Optical Mark Reader is a special scanner that "reads" shaded bubbles on a form by shining a light on the form and detecting how much light "bounces" back (or with some scanners, how much light passes through).  Since OMR technology is limited to reading bubbles, it is generally used for multiple-choice questions.  Most of today's OMR scanners can read blue or black ink in addition to the standard #2 pencil.

Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR), which is used to capture hand-printed characters, is a relatively recent entry in the automated data collection world. This technology works in a similar fashion to OCR technology, in that sophisticated recognition software is used to match the patterns found in an image to known hand-printed characters.

TeleForm combines all of the above technologies in a single software package.

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