Optical Character Recognition

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Definition: Optical Character Recognition

Optical Character Recognition or OCR tool is the electronic tool which converts images, typed texts, printed texts, handwritten texts into machine coded text. Once the text is machine coded, we can later take a print out, send a copy through mail etc.

Imagine you have with you a paper document like magazine article, a contract paper, or a PDF file sent through email and you need to edit the original document and then take a print out. Using scanner alone will not solve the purpose because what scanner does is create an image of document digitally using black and white dots. And we can’t make changes to scanned copy. This is where the role of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tool comes into play.



OCR uses a combination of pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, syntactic and semantic analysis for character recognition. In OCR technology, each document fed goes through a fixed set of processes before presenting the the document in machine coded text completely.

Process 1: Analyze the structure of document i.e. dividing each page into blocks of text, images etc.

Process 2: Then each block of text containing lines are divided into words and then words are divided into characters.

Process 3: Once character has been segregated, OCR compares them with it inbuilt pattern of images. It performs many hypotheses to recognize each character and finally presents the electronic character.



OCR technology is used in various kinds of applications. Few of them are mentioned below.

1. Entering the data in documents like passbook, invoice, passports etc.

2. Google Books


4. Creating text version of printed documents

5. Getting business card details

6. In creating a reading tool for visually impaired people.



1. The complete conversion to machine coded text takes less than a minute.

2. You can edit and convert paper, image, or even PDF as required easily.

3. It is easy to preserve since it gets stored on machine and don’t require paper.

4. Helpful to achieve paperless environment.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Optical Character Recognition along with its overview.

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