What is OCR Technology And How Can It Be Used to Get Text from Images?

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a technology that is used to extract text from images of every sort-printed data, PDF files, bank statements or invoices, etc. The purpose is to digitize the text so that it can be editable.

 The OCR at first differentiates text from images, converts them into singular letters, and then combines these letters to form words. In the end, words are converted into sentences.

 The technology is aided by both hardware and software elements. The image is fed by a scanner or any image processor. After that, the OCR processor takes up that image for further processing.

The modern-day OCR software utilizes AI for advanced charter recognition to identify various linguistic styles or handwritings.

Types of OCR

OCR can be classified into two types

  1. Zonal OCR
  2. Full OCR

In Zonal OCR, A region is created in a pdf or image from which text is extracted. Anything outside that region remains completely untouched. Even so, that text which is at the border between the region and outside is not recognized. This helps in targeted scanning.

 Whereas in full OCR, the whole document is read.  There are no escapes, it is useful when you want to convert books, and judicial files into their digital version.

Benefits of Using OCR Technology

The modern world thrives on data. From dawn to dusk, we are always interacting with various forms of data to make choices about ourselves, our job descriptions, our surroundings, and those who relate to us. By converting printed data into the digitized form, OCR has become of immense help.

Here are some benefits of OCR technology:

  • Automating the entry, collection, and processing of data.
  • Assisting the government. institutions in keeping citizen records (passport identification, ID card scanning) 
  • Archiving important historical records (newspapers, centuries-old books, constitutions, etc.)
  • Depositing back statements
  • Converting important legal documents into digital copies
  • Recognizing text with a camera, enabling number plate scanning, etc.
  • Sorting material for mail delivery
  • Helping in scan-based marketing campaigns
  • Deciphering documents in the text which is understandable for visually impaired or blind people
  • Helping businesses in keeping a record of previous transactions

How does OCR Work

After knowing the introduction and benefits of OCR, let’s understand how it performs its job. The process is done in the following stages.

Image Processing

The first step is to feed the input. A scanner/camera is used to process a physical image into the data of any OCR software and application.

Two-Color Conversion

OCR, in its initial work, divides the selected image into two distinctive colors: black and white. The black defines the characters which would be recognized while white areas are mere backgrounds. In this stage, singular characters are targeted.

Character Identification

In the third step, OCR moves towards the identification of characters. This identification is further divided into two categories

  1. Pattern identification
  2. Feature Identification

OCR determines the pattern when it is fed various types of fonts and writings in a document. OCR recognizes and understands the meaning of words by analyzing the style of writing.

Feature identification analyzes the distinct features of a scanned document. Letters or words are identified based on their features.

For Example, while analyzing the letter “L”, OCR would recognize it as a vertical line and horizontal combination. In this way, it interprets every such pattern as the letter L.

ASCII Conversion

After recognizing all the text, in the final step, it converts into ASCII (American Standard Code for interchange information).  Computers use these codes to understand and interact with human languages.

After ASCII, you get the readable text on your digital screens.

How to get text from an image using the OCR tool?

Now, let’s see a practical example of an image to text conversion from the credible online OCR tool. You can do it by following our simple guidelines.

Selection of Desired Image

In the first step, you need to select the image for text conversion. 

We have selected the following image for understanding.

Text, letter

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Choose a quality OCR Tool

After the image, the most important thing is your online tool. Your tool should be fast, efficient, and reliable so that you can extract text from your object without undue headache.

There are plenty of quality OCR tools available online like “Nanonets, OCR online, Abbyy FineReader, etc.  Every tool has its own unique features, you can choose any of the above stated tools based upon your requirement.

For this particular case study, we will be using OCR ONLINE.  To visit the website click on the following link: https://ocronline.info/

Upload the image

Now, after that, you need to upload the image on the tool’s website. As shown below,  You either do it by selecting an image from your computer or you can simply drag & drop the image on the user interface. The tool supports PNG, JPG, GIF, and SVG extensions.

Graphical user interface, application

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This will feed the image to the scanner.   We have uploaded our image.

Click “Get Text”

After the upload, the tool would show an option of “Get Text”.   Just click on this option to get your desired text.

Retrieve your Text

After conversion, the text would show in the below window.
Graphical user interface, text, application, email, website

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The tool has also the option of copying, you can copy the selected text at your convenience. 

By following these simple steps, you can extract any text from a pdf or any other object.

Concluding Remarks

OCR has made life easier by enabling us to extract text from images. Due to this we can save, edit, and share invaluable information with others. We can propagate the works of geniuses like Shakespeare, Aristotle, Newton, etc. to future generations. Businesses use it for record-keeping.

This article describes how OCR works, the easiest way to get a text from an image is by utilizing OCR Online. 

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