Convert Paper Documents to Digital with OCR Software

by Sven Larsen, Digital Marketing Intern

Convert Paper Documents to Digital with OCR Software

The digital age has arrived for corporate data storage, with the reliability and convenience of digital archiving outweighing paper record-keeping for most types of files. But transforming your physical records into a digital format may seem like a daunting task. A long-tenured organization may have decades of paper documents taking up space in filing cabinets, and companies of any age may accumulate new papers, such as receipts and invoices.

Scanning brings your organization’s archives into the modern era of digital document storage, but there’s more than one way to process and format scanned documents. If you simply scan in printed documents as flat image files, the resulting collection of data will take up a large amount of digital storage space, and it will be impossible to search for text within those records. This is where the second stage of an effective digitization process comes in: optical character recognition (OCR) software.

Foxit’s OCR engine, part of PDF Compressor, is a powerful complement to document scanning, allowing you to create an archive of searchable PDF files, compressed to small file sizes and compatible with common viewer programs. Digitizing information from physical records in a functional format such as PDF lets your organization reap the full benefits of modernized data storage.

What an OCR Engine Can Accomplish for Your Company

Using OCR-based PDF conversion in your data scanning process adds value by generating text-searchable PDFs instead of saving the image files generated straight from a scanner. A quick and easy keyword search can bring up essential information from documents that have had their text identified by OCR. Sorting through flat images can take hours of extra employee time as workers open each document and visually skim its contents.

Heavily automated OCR is a better way to manage this process than trusting manual data entry. Organizations that call upon their workers to type in information from papers instead of scanning and converting may end up with searchable digital files in the end, but the amount of labor that goes into the process will be far larger.

Using a less sophisticated OCR system, one that lacks automation and requires employees to manually select each file for conversion, is a better but still not optimal option. The PDF Compressor OCR engine’s ability to watch particular folders for new image files enables employees to set up a scanning process and let it automatically run rather than triggering each conversion by hand. Using a Batch OCR command allows workers to convert large document repositories of scanned documents at once, at a rate of approximately five pages per second.

Accuracy and Effectiveness of OCR

Speed and automation are valuable components of an OCR solution and scanning in general, but accuracy is the crux of the process. If an OCR algorithm cannot accurately detect the text in a particular document, it won’t live up to its potential value. This is why PDF Compressor’s OCR engine is designed for maximum accuracy.

The software can detect words in circumstances that may stop other OCR solutions from functioning, such as when documents are captured in low resolution. It can also detect multidirectional text, or text in colors other than black letters on a white background. When text is interrupted by extraneous lines or otherwise broken up, less powerful OCR tools may miss it. This is why it’s important to select a top-quality OCR-enabled system instead of settling for just any offering on the market. PDF Compressor’s auto-rotation, despeckling, resampling and foreground-background separation capabilities put it in the top rank of OCR options.

Using an OCR engine that is actively looking for words in a particular language is another way to ensure it will accurately find and convert all the text present within a scanned image. To this end, PDF Compressor’s OCR engine supports 118 languages from all corners of the world.

Additional Uses for PDF Compressor

PDF Compressor isn’t just for scanned files, and the latest release can provide consistent PDF conversion for born-digital documents including Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, emails, HTML and more. When these files already have digitally readable text, PDF Compressor knows not to run OCR, carrying over the digital data as is. When working with “flat” files such as images, the OCR takes effect and creates searchable text.

If your primary need is a long-term archive, you can convert files into the PDF/A format. This variant of PDF is optimized for accurate data retention and long-standing compatibility. All new PDF readers are able to open PDF/A files, meaning you won’t have to search for an esoteric viewing software to access your archived content in the future.

Installing and Using OCR

It’s easy to buy and install PDF Compressor, selecting a model that suits your company’s usage plans and getting your team to work on conversion projects quickly. Licensing models include:

  • The one-time volume pack, which is billed by number of pages processed. Best used for backlogs, one-time use, and inconsistent monthly or annual volume.
  • An annual volume plan, based on the number of pages you scan in any year and suitable for companies with an ongoing need of scanning services.
  • The enterprise unlimited model, which has no upper volume maximum and is billed by the number of cores you’ll use for conversion.

The software, for Windows 7 or later, requires a 2GHz CPU, 1 GB free on a hard drive, a minimum of 1 GB RAM (2 GB is recommended), as well as the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.6.2. It’s simple to start a free trial of the system and envision how it will help your company.


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