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OCR Software

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software makes it possible to recognise text and images in scanned documents and convert them to a searchable and editable format. OCR software takes the manual work from creating digital versions of physical documents such as invoices, forms, and contracts, making business operation workflows more efficient. Robust OCR software solutions can handle multiple document formats. They can be used with electronic and paper documents, reducing the need for manual identification and data entry of document content into other systems. Browse and compare the different image-to-text converter solutions to find the best OCR software for your business needs in the UK.

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Optical Character Recognition helps businesses extract data, convert, classify and verify documents to automate workflows. AI powered! Learn more about Klippa DocHorizon
Do you want to save up to 70% of your current processing cost and time? Then Klippa DocHorizon is exactly what you are looking for. The powerful Klippa OCR engine makes your administrative business processes more efficient by transforming to digital operations. No more tedious administrative tasks! Automatically extract, convert, classify, anonymize and verify important data points from a vast variety of document types with Klippa OCR. Are you ready for the future? Book an online demo today! Learn more about Klippa DocHorizon

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
AI-powered OCR delivering 99.8% accuracy, seamless integration, and unrivaled efficiency. Revolutionize your document processing today! Learn more about ECIT Digital
Introducing ECIT Digital: The Future of Document Processing Transform your document management with ECIT Digital, the world's most accurate and scalable Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) platform, powered by AI and Machine Learning. Our cutting-edge technology streamlines document processing and eliminates the need for manual data entry, ensuring 99.8% accuracy with a guaranteed quality. Learn more about ECIT Digital

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Create, edit, convert, sign, and combine documents with Adobe’s all-in-one PDF and e-signature solution.
Adobe Acrobat is the all-in-one PDF and e-signature solution trusted by Fortune 500 companies. With Acrobat, you can create, edit, convert, share, sign, and combine documents – all from one Adobe platform. You can build seamless digital experiences that enable your team to collaborate and work from any device, anywhere. Acrobat solutions are also designed to integrate with apps you use every day, including Microsoft 365, Google, Workday, and more, so you can get things done in the flow of work. Learn more about Adobe Acrobat

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Revver helps you organize and automate all of your document-dependent work, putting your documents to work for you.
Revver is a solution designed to put your documents to work for you. Revver helps you digitize, organize, find, and secure your documents while also giving you the tools to effectively collaborate on document work and automate document-centric tasks. Revver’s award-winning platform transforms document-dependent work from a burdensome task to a powerful source of growth and positive impact for mid-market organizations across all industries. Learn more about Revver

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Nitro is a global SaaS leader in PDF software, document management and electronic signatures.
Nitro is a global SaaS leader in PDF software, document management and electronic signatures (eSign). Its industry-leading business intelligence and analytics product measures ROI and quantifies sustainability efforts, all supported by a best-in-class customer success and change management support team. With more than 3 million licensed users and 13,000+ business customers across 157 countries, Nitro serves 68% of the Fortune 500. Learn more about Nitro

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
#1 Adobe® Acrobat® alternative: PDFelement is your all-in-one PDF solution. Create, edit, convert, and esign PDF files in a better way.
PDFelement is a one-stop PDF solution powered by AI. Fast, smart, affordable, and easy way to manage (.pdf) documents across desktop, mobile, and web. It provides a great user experience and is an excellent alternative to Adobe® Acrobat®, making it perfect for individuals and small businesses. The mission is to stay at the forefront of PDF technology, constantly innovating and improving our product to meet the evolving needs of our users. Learn more about PDFelement

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Powered by ABBYY's AI-based OCR technology, ABBYY FineReader PDF is a PDF tool for working more efficiently with digital documents.
ABBYY® FineReader PDF is a PDF tool for working more efficiently with digital documents. Powered by ABBYY's AI-based OCR technology, FineReader PDF integrates scanned documents into digital workflows and makes it easier to digitize, convert, retrieve, edit, protect, share, and collaborate on all kinds of documents in the digital workplace. Learn more about ABBYY FineReader PDF

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Cloud-based solution that enables businesses to convert pictures, documents, and whiteboard content into PDF, Word & PowerPoint files.
Microsoft Lens (formerly Microsoft Office Lens) is a cloud-based solution that enables businesses to convert pictures, documents, and whiteboard content into PDF, Word and PowerPoint files. Those files can then be saved to OneNote or OneDrive. Handwritten text is recognized thanks to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and allows words to be searched and copied for editing purposes. Saved files can also be shared via email. Learn more about Microsoft Lens

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
United Kingdom Local product
Automatically & easily extract data from receipts, invoices, statements & more. Then publish through to all major accounting software.
AutoEntry is the market-leading data entry automation tool for accounting. Scan or email receipts, invoices, statements and other documents, or use our mobile app to snap pics. No contract required. AutoEntry extracts the data and publishes it through to all major accounting software—including Xero, Sage & QuickBooks. Auto-publish regular bills. Learn more about AutoEntry

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Mobile scanning tool that utilizes OCR functionality to extract texts from scanned images, edit files and share them with customers.
Mobile scanning tool that utilizes OCR functionality to extract texts from scanned images, edit files and share them with customers. Learn more about CamScanner

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Knowledge work automation platform that enables you to find information faster, work smarter, and achieve more.
M-Files is the leading platform for knowledge work automation. With the M-Files platform, knowledge workers can find information faster, work smarter, and achieve more. M-Files features an innovative metadata-driven architecture, embedded workflow engine, and advanced artificial intelligence. This enables customers to eliminate information chaos, improve process efficiency, and automate security and compliance. For more information, visit www.m-files.com. Learn more about M-Files

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Reading, Note taking and Document Analysis app winning Editor’s Choice from Apple & Microsoft "PDF Editor with Superpowers, FastCompany
The first Reading, Note taking and Document Analysis app to win Editor’s Choice from both Apple and Microsoft. "PDF Editor with Superpowers" FastCompany. For professionals whose work involves analyzing complex sets of documents; to study, analyze and reach conclusions. LiquidText is an active reading and note taking tool where all your documents, highlights, annotations and underlines are in the same workspace as your notes and lets you make dynamic visual connections across content and notes. Learn more about LiquidText

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Technical computing system that provides tools for image processing, geometry, visualization, machine learning, data mining, and more.
Technical computing system that provides tools for image processing, geometry, visualization, machine learning, data mining, and more. Learn more about Wolfram Mathematica

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
OCR invoice scanning, plus much more. Tipalti is a solution that automates the entire AP workflow. Eliminate manual invoice capture, approvals, coding, payment and reconciliation.
Say goodbye to basic OCR, and hello to real AP automation. Tipalti is the only solution to automate your invoice scanning alongside end-to-end accounts payable, global payments and procurement. Tiplati enables you to onboard suppliers with ease, streamline PO generation, accelerate approvals, eliminate invoice entry and make fast global payments to 190 countries in local currency. Also includes global tax compliance, 2 & 3 way PO matching, multi-entity support, and instant reconciliation with ERP integrations that includes NetSuite, Quickbooks and Sage Intacct. Used by 3000 of the world's fastest growing businesses to cut manual processes. Learn more about Tipalti

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Adobe Acrobat Pro is a cloud-based PDF management solution that helps users edit files, manage documents, collaborate, and more.
Adobe Acrobat Pro is a cloud-based PDF management solution that helps users edit files, manage documents, collaborate, and more. Learn more about Adobe Acrobat Pro

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Mine data from your documents using powerful extraction tools including structured and unstructured OCR, Barcode Recognition, and more.
Automatically recognize your document formats and apply the correct data extraction rules. With Square 9’s easy-to-use design wizard, you can easily handle multiple document formats and create new extraction rules when needed without technical expertise. Learn more about Square 9

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Docparser is the most advanced document data extraction and automation tool. Parse recurring PDFs, Word docs & scanned image files.
Docparser is the ultimate document parsing and automation tool. Extract data from recurring documents like PDFs, Word docs and scanned images. Download to Excel, CSV, JSON, XML, integrate with Google Sheets, Salesforce, Zapier, Integromat and MS Power Automate to connect to hundreds of endpoint options. Our comprehensive security features keep your data safe. Streamline document processing workflows and eliminate manual data entry. Transform the way you handle documents today with Docparser. Learn more about Docparser

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
XPENDOR is a powerful SaaS solution for the management of invoices, expenses, and reimbursement of any company department.
XPENDOR is an easy-to-use SaaS solution for the management of invoices, expenses and reimbursement of any company department. Xpendor improves the management of corporate expenses and reports reducing high administrative costs, tedious paperwork and improving working flow and team communication. Integrable with other management systems, Xpendor helps companies to digitalize and optimize their processes as well as streamline their management. Learn more about XPENDOR

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
DocuWare's office automation solutions deliver smart digital workflow and document control for substantial productivity gains.
DocuWare provides digital document management and automated workflow solutions to organisations of any size and across all major industries from manufacturing and retail to healthcare and government. With availability in 18 languages and supporting cloud and on-premises deployments, DocuWare currently serves over 15,000 customers and 650,000 users across 100 countries with a global network of over 800 partners. Learn more about DocuWare

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
DocuPhase automates your repetitive, manual tasks allowing you to be more efficient and focused on higher-value work.
DocuPhase is a complete OCR solution for medium to large enterprises. By eliminating the manual indexing and reducing human errors, your team will be able to do higher-value work. DocuPhase validates the data is entered right the first time so you can make data entry a thing of the past. Learn more about DocuPhase

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Digitize invoices, receipts, documents, PDFs to extract data and automate reviews with Nanonets OCR and Deep Learning.
Nanonets uses advanced OCR and Deep Learning to extract relevant information from unstructured text and documents. Digitize documents, extract data-fields, and integrate with your everyday apps via APIs in a simple, intuitive interface. Eliminate manual processes and automate invoice, receipt, document reviews. Reduce processing time by upto 90% and save on costs by upto 50%. Learn more about Nanonets

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Create, Review and Edit PDF Documents on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
An easy to use, full-featured PDF editing software that is a reliable alternative to Adobe Acrobat and provides all PDF functions needed at a fraction of the cost. Easily upload and edit PDF documents, Word files, Excel Sheets, PowerPoint slides, images, and more. Use PDF Studio to electronically sign documents as well as protect them with watermarks, passwords, and other security features. PDF Studio maintains full compatibility with the PDF Standard and runs on Windows, macOS and Linux. Learn more about PDF Studio

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
Conexiom is a leader in AI-enhanced, commercial document process automation.
The Conexiom platform employs AI, advanced algorithms, and automated validation to deliver industry-leading automation rates for processing Sales Orders, Invoices and Vendor Order Acknowledgments. Conexiom’s technology gives back the excessive time lost on manual data entry and alleviates the high cost of correcting errors. The platform handles emailed documents with ease, extracts clear text for 100% accuracy, and delivers data seamlessly to leading ERP and CRM systems. Learn more about Conexiom

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
United Kingdom Local product
Cut bookkeeping time in half! Automate data entry of all purchase bills, receipts and sales invoices.
Datamolino is an invoice management solution that boosts productivity & client relations by automating manual tasks. It extracts key data from uploaded invoices & receipts with 99% accuracy. Our "multiple folders" feature allows tailored organization by creating separate folders for clients, projects, or categories. The "Original Email Content" feature captures coding instructions for improved communication. Exceptional support, live training & onboarding will elevate your user experience. Learn more about Datamolino

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction
For organizations seeking secure, easy-to-use content management functionality that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime.
NetDocuments is the leading cloud document and content management software with built-in capabilities to help reach new levels of productivity, collaboration, and inspired work—including industry-leading document management, email management, and optical character recognition (OCR) solutions. We help by delivering on promises, providing technology that gets out of their way so they can focus on results, eliminating the need to re-invent the wheel. Learn more about NetDocuments

Features

  • Data Extraction
  • Full Text Search
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Conversion
  • Text Extraction

OCR Software Buyers Guide

OCR software, or optical character recognition software, is the name given to software solutions that can scan non-editable documents and convert them into an editable file format, such as a Microsoft Word document or a plain text file. The documents that can be scanned and converted include PDF files, paper forms and other physical documents, such as contracts, receipts, and invoices. Therefore, the software can also quickly and effortlessly convert physical documents into an editable digital format without manually recreating them.

In general, optical character recognition technology allows for the electronic conversion of images of written documents into machine-encoded text. This means that documents can be converted after being photographed, scanned, or uploaded directly into the software. OCR tools can be used in a wide range of fields, like accounting and human resources, but the software is perhaps most commonly used within the field of data entry, where it allows handwritten or printed texts to be swiftly digitised with minimal human intervention. Aside from making non-editable documents editable, this digitisation process also makes it easier to share documents using online methods, store documents in a digital database or archive, search documents for specific words or terms and upload documents to the internet.

Optical character recognition is a technology that relies on pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. The best solutions on the market can assist individuals and businesses with improved efficiency and productivity while allowing critical documents to be safely stored, amended, and duplicated. OCR software is sometimes categorised alongside data extraction software and PDF software. However, it shares similarities with solutions like document management software and electronic data capture software too.

The precise features included within OCR software packages will vary depending on how advanced the software is and who the key target audience is. Nonetheless, there are some core features in almost every solution of this kind, along with some common features contained within a large number of OCR programs. As a result, the vast majority of software packages will allow users to perform the following actions:

  • Extract the text from a variety of scanned, photographed or uploaded documents and create an editable text file
  • Convert documents to a variety of file formats, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and plain text
  • Turn scanned PDF documents into editable and searchable PDF documents
  • Save the editable text documents in an archive, so they can be easily accessed for future use

What is OCR Software?

OCR software, describes a category of software solutions designed to scan the text from non-editable documents or files, recognise the characters within the text, and convert it to an editable and searchable file format. This could include taking scanned PDF documents, paper forms, receipts, contracts, and other physical documents, and then converting them to Microsoft Word, plain text, or another editable format. The core technology used by the software includes pattern recognition, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The features of OCR scanning software make it useful for any organisation or individual looking to convert physical documents into digital documents, creating a digital archive. OCR tools are also commonly associated with the field of data entry, allowing printed paper records to be converted to digital records. In this sense, the software is often seen as a means of digitising content. It is important to stress that most solutions can also convert non-editable or 'read only' digital files to editable digital files.

Ultimately, one of the main uses for OCR software is its ability to create new digital content without having to manually recreate that content. Most OCR programs can automatically detect the characters within a document and output an editable text document, meaning there is little need for human intervention in the process. Tools of this kind can also create a fully searchable database or convert documents to a preferred format.

What are the benefits of OCR software?

The benefits of OCR software are geared towards businesses, professionals working in fields like data entry, and other individuals or organisations with a need to digitise or archive text documents. However, it should be noted that the various benefits on offer are potentially far-reaching, and the uses of an OCR program can extend to individual users and professionals working in a wide range of roles. Therefore, it can be helpful to explore some of the more specific benefits provided by the software, including the following:

  • Increased data entry productivity: The process of manually entering data from non-editable digital documents—or physical paper documents—can be time-consuming and may require significant labour resources. Beyond this, there is also the possibility of human error, especially if there are high productivity demands. With this in mind, a key benefit linked to the use of OCR software is its ability to boost data entry productivity. High-quality software solutions in this category can process multiple documents simultaneously and convert the information into an editable text format. This information can then be easily entered into a database or converted into different file formats, meaning far more data can be entered in a short space of time. As optical character recognition technology and artificial intelligence as a whole continue to improve, the level of accuracy improves too. OCR technology scans and recreates the precise text included in a document, removing the possibility of typing errors. Ultimately, in many cases, this can result in the software delivering both greater productivity and improved accuracy.
  • Enhanced security and accessibility: The process of OCR document scanning can help individuals, businesses and other organisations take physical documents and convert them into digital files. From there, it also becomes possible to back up the files by duplicating them and storing them elsewhere. This is a much more secure system than storing physical paper documents, which could be misplaced, damaged, or otherwise lost, and provides organisations with greater security. On top of this, the process of taking text from a physical document, or converting a non-editable digital document, can boost accessibility because it means documents can be much more easily located. Furthermore, it also becomes much easier to find specific information contained within those documents too, because the process ensures those documents become fully searchable. The greater security provided by options to store and back up fully editable documents can also help protect businesses from some of the big threats associated with cyber security threats, like deletion of data, or ransomware attacks.
  • Increased support for text-to-speech: One of the more interesting potential benefits associated with OCR tools is the ability to take an uneditable or physical document and turn it into a document that can be read and interpreted by text-to-speech software. This has the potential to allow visually impaired people, or people who have difficulty reading for any other reason, to understand and interpret written documents of all kinds, including scanned PDF files, handwritten physical documents, forms, invoices, receipts and more. Some of the best OCR software may even include in-built text-to-speech functionality, which can make this process significantly more efficient. Not only can this help individuals, but it can also assist businesses with efforts to improve workplace accessibility.

What are the features of OCR software?

The features of OCR software are primarily based on optical character recognition and similar technology to extract information from scanned physical documents or uploaded digital documents, and then place that information into an editable digital file. While there can be differences in terms of how features are implemented, how accurate the software is, and what advanced options are included, the majority of solutions will include the following core features:

  • Text extraction: Process digital text documents, paper documents, or images containing text, then extract the text from the file, and place it into a new document. The resulting document can be in several different file formats, including plain text, PDF, or a Microsoft Word document. The most crucial thing is that the resulting digital file is fully editable and searchable. This allows changes to be made to the text and means that specific words or phrases can be easily located. The best OCR applications can automatically detect words within scanned, photographed, or imported documents and then accurately recreate those words so that the meaning is retained. Moreover, top-end solutions will include intelligent character recognition (ICR) or intelligent word recognition (IWR) technology, allowing cursive and handwritten print script documents to be converted to a more legible digital format.
  • Document conversion: Take documents, images, and other digital files and convert them into a format that allows them to be editable and searchable. The precise file formats supported by OCR software packages will differ, but some of the most common formats include Microsoft Word files (.doc, .docx, etc.), Microsoft Excel files (.xls, (.xlsx, .xlsm, etc.), plain text files (.txt) and HTML. In addition to this conversion allowing users to edit and add to the text contained within a document, it can also help make documents more widely shareable. Most OCR software will support conversion to the most common file types for ease of use and accessibility.
  • PDF conversion: Convert scanned PDF documents into editable PDF documents. In general, text documents stored in the PDF file format can be divided into two main categories. The first category is PDF files created and saved as digital files. The second type is PDF files created by scanning physical documents, books, or paper. This second type has, historically, been much harder to work with because the text is stored as a scanned image rather than as digital text. However, OCR software can recognise the characters contained within the scanned image and convert this to text. This then makes it possible to take a scanned PDF document and convert it into a document where the text can be edited and searched. Not only does this make it easier to work with the document, but it is also a valuable way to take physical books and texts and digitise them. Such a process can be useful for long-term preservation and the creation of digital libraries.
  • Multiple language support: OCR software works through optical character recognition technology and, in many cases, optical word recognition technology, too, to deliver the most accurate results. However, high-end solutions will recognise characters and words from multiple different languages. This support for multiple languages can be especially important in situations where languages have unique visual characteristics, such as the use of accents or diacritical marks like the umlaut in German. Multi-language support helps avoid situations where these marks are misinterpreted or ignored by the optical character recognition technology. The process of converting written text from different languages to digital text can also be essential for any situation where automatic digital translations are going to be carried out, as it allows the text to be imported into a translator.
  • Data import/export: Import data from the device, or external storage, and convert the file. Once a converted file has been created, this can also be exported from within the application, allowing it to be saved in any folder or on a separate external storage device. Imported data can also be archived and stored for future use. In most cases, this archive can be easily accessed from within the OCR software, and users will also have the ability to search this archive for a specific file or specific content within all files.
  • Mobile document capture: Capture an image of a document on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet, and save this image on the device. From there, the file can be used within the best OCR readers to extract text and save it in an editable text format instead. In essence, this mobile document capture process removes the need to scan a document because the captured image serves the same basic purpose. The optical character recognition technology will recognise patterns, characters and words within the captured image, create a text document, and allow the user to save the resulting document as a text file, a Microsoft Word file, a PDF file, or a similar file format.

The Capterra OCR software directory allows users to sort through the available solutions based on the included features. For instance, a user can opt to only see software packages that contain mobile document capture or multiple language support. This then makes the entire process of searching for software far more efficient.

What should be considered when purchasing OCR software?

When purchasing OCR software, many considerations will need to be factored into the eventual decision. A key focus for buyers should be finding the best solution for their specific needs, rather than simply trying to find the best all-around product. After all, there may be unnecessary features, and without the right level of care, this can result in investment in a more advanced OCR solution than what is needed. Alternatively, a good all-around solution may not provide one specific and much-needed feature on offer in a different package. A good way to approach this is to ask and try to answer a series of questions, like:

  • How much does OCR software cost? When acquiring software of any kind, the cost needs to be carefully considered. Individuals and organisations typically have a budget in mind, and it is critical to find the most suitable option while staying within that budget. The cost can be a more complicated issue than it may initially seem, and buyers should think beyond simply comparing the price of one OCR program to the price of another. A better way to approach this is to compare the total cost of ownership between the products being considered. This can include several hidden or less obvious costs, with some of the main examples including the cost of setting up the software, the cost of training employees to use the software in the way that is needed, and the cost of storing the relevant data and keeping that data secure. It is also worth thinking about software updates, how regularly these updates are released, and whether there will be a need to pay for upgrades. Of course, with cloud-based software, ongoing subscription fees also need to be added to the equation.
  • What is the OCR software going to be used for? Buyers should try to think carefully about what the OCR software will be used for, as this can help to focus the search. Although it can be beneficial for OCR tools to have a wide range of features, some of these features are likely to go unused, so an emphasis should be placed on the most critical functions. For instance, if an organisation regularly needs to scan physical documents, the ability to import image files becomes a key focus, while the technology needs to be able to handle scanned documents with different layouts. If an organisation is scanning documents from multiple languages and intending to translate them digitally, multi-language OCR technology is a must. If users are more likely to use a mobile phone than a scanner, it is vital to acquire a solution with mobile document capture and good mobile optimisation. Ultimately, the priorities of the buyer will go a long way towards determining the best solution for their specific needs, and it can be crucial to avoid losing sight of these individual priorities.
  • Which is the best software deployment option? In general, OCR tools can be divided into two main categories when it comes to software deployment. On-premise deployment is the more traditional approach, with buyers acquiring the software licence and then taking responsibility for actually installing the software, running it, managing related data, and maintaining security. It is an approach with high upfront costs, but it provides maximum control and also avoids ongoing subscription fees. By contrast, the main alternative is cloud-based deployment, which relies on a third-party service provider who deploys the software remotely using cloud technology. There are numerous benefits to this approach, including the ability to access the OCR software remotely on a wider range of devices. The third-party service provider takes responsibility for storing data and securing it, and this data is automatically backed up. Although there are ongoing subscription fees associated with this approach, it does have extremely low startup costs, and the long-term costs are predictable and can be easily budgeted for. While there may be a clear winner for some buyers, the cloud vs on-premise deployment debate often comes down to personal preference and issues surrounding the way IT infrastructure is handled more generally.
  • What are the supported file formats? It is critical that the chosen OCR software can fit into an individual or organisation's wider plans. This can make it important that support for different file formats is checked carefully, and buyers need to focus on finding an OCR solution that can import and export file formats that they already use. In terms of the output file formats, it is best to find an option that can create Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, plain text and HTML files as a minimum, and other file formats may also become important if they are frequently used within day-to-day work. As far as the files that can be imported, it is best to find a solution that offers support for those same file formats, along with several common image formats, such as JPEG, JPG, PNG, GIF, EPS and RAW. Again, there may be a need for additional image formats if they are commonly used.

The most relevant OCR software trends need to be carefully considered before deciding which software to purchase. Buyers need to know that the software they are acquiring has been designed with an awareness of these major trends, and understanding a little about these trends can also help highlight why certain features are important. At present, some of the most significant trends in this area include the following:

  • Greater use of AI and machine learning: Optical character recognition technology usually functions through pattern recognition, with the software being able to detect what each letter looks like. However, as the technology has continued to improve, there has been greater reliance on artificial intelligence technology too, and this can understand whole words and the meaning of words. One of the major trends linked to OCR documents is the use of this AI and machine learning to take optical character recognition to the next level. By interpreting meaning, and by understanding patterns more fully, the technology has the potential to recognise characters that are on a page and to complete words that may be lost through wear and tear, physical damage to a document, or issues with the printing process. In the end, this can lead to more accurate and more complete document conversions, and the technology can be used to restore texts to their intended state.
  • Cloud-based software deployment: While the choice between on-premise and cloud deployment will depend on a variety of factors, it is important to note that cloud-based deployment is increasing in popularity all the time, as businesses recognise the benefits associated with storing data in the cloud, avoiding the high initial startup costs linked to on-premise deployment, and the advantages of being able to access software easily from remote locations. Cloud-based software can often be accessed using any device with a modern web browser and internet access, and this can be especially valuable in situations where OCR tools need to be used away from a physical workplace.
  • Mobile accessibility and optimisation: In the past, an OCR application would typically be used on a computer, alongside a scanner, or using existing digital files. Today, however, there is a greater need for mobile accessibility and mobile data capture is one of the most important trends linked to OCR software. The best solutions will offer access via mobile devices or may even provide a dedicated mobile app. Mobile optimisation will allow menus to be navigated easily on a smaller touchscreen, and the scanning process will only require a smartphone camera. Most employees in an organisation will have access to a smartphone with a decent camera, and access can be provided where this is not the case, but access to a scanner is usually more limited. Therefore, mobile accessibility is essential for ensuring that all employees within a workplace can utilise OCR software from wherever they are in the world.