OCR Explained: A Guide to How OCR Technology Works


Optical Character Recognition (OCR Technology) allows you to scan documents, images, and PDFs to your computer. OCR software allows you to convert printed text into editable data that can be used for transcription, archiving, and more. In this guide, we’ll discuss how OCR works, why it’s important to use the best tools available, and how you can use OCR technology in your business.

How does OCR interpret and convert text?

To understand OCR technology, first, consider the basic process of scanning a document. When you scan a document, your scanner shines a light on the page and then processes this light with an array of sensors that convert it into electronic signals. This electronic signal is then sent to your computer for processing.

The next step involves interpreting these electronic signals and converting them into digital data. In other words, optical character recognition (OCR) software uses pattern recognition to interpret what characters are written on the page or image and converts them into digital data that can be stored or manipulated within a software application such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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The basics of OCR

OCR is a type of software that can convert jpg to text. JPG to text is an online tool that uses OCR for the conversion process. The process involves scanning the document, converting it into an image file (such as a TIFF or PDF), and then running OCR software on this image file. This allows you to extract all of the data from your document and save it as searchable text files.

You can also use OCR to manually convert images of text into text, which means you don’t need any special software to do it.

What is optical character recognition and how is it used?

OCR is a technology that converts scanned text into digital text. OCR software can take a document that has been scanned, such as an invoice or receipt, and convert it into digital data. This is useful for converting paper documents into electronic files that can be stored on your computer’s hard drive or on the cloud.

Also Read: What is 3D Imaging and How Does it Work?

How does OCR work?

OCR is a scanner-like device that converts images into editable text. That may sound simple, but it’s actually quite complex: OCR software recognizes the shapes of letters and numbers in an image, then compares them to its database of letter and number shapes. Only after this process can it begin converting the scanned document into editable text.

The reason why this works is that each letter has a unique shape, no matter how small or large it is written. If you look at an uppercase “A” and compare that shape to an uppercase “B” (or lowercase), you will notice that they do not look exactly alike, and yet we still recognize both as being distinct letters of the alphabet despite their differences in size or orientation within words or sentences.

Is OCR accurate?

OCR is not 100% accurate. It can be inaccurate when it comes to certain fonts, characters, and image quality, but it’s still a useful tool.

The OCR algorithm works by analyzing the pixels of an image and comparing them against a preloaded database of characters (the font). If there’s no match in this database, then the text will be considered “unknown.”

Because OCR algorithms are trained on particular fonts, they don’t always work well with different fonts or styles, even if they look similar (think Arial vs. Helvetica). Fonts also vary in how many unique characters there are; for example, Courier New has more than 30,000 while Times New Roman only has about 5200. So you may encounter some inaccuracies when using OCR technology on documents that have been typeset in unusual ways or use uncommon fonts.

OCR Technology:

OCR is not a new technology, but it’s never been simpler to use with the advent of free online tools.

OCR was developed in the early years of computing and has remained an essential part of conducting business, whether you’re processing patient records or monitoring cash flow for your small business. The wide range of industries that make use of OCR includes medicine, law enforcement, and finance.

Types of OCR

There are two main types of OCR:

  • Static OCR, which is best for documents that don’t change often (think invoices and bank statements)
  • Dynamic OCR, which is ideal for documents that change over time (like legal briefs or marketing plans)

How to use free online OCR software

To use the free online OCR software, follow these steps:

  • Download the file you want to convert.
  • Upload it to your computer or web-based storage account (like Google Drive).
  • Choose the type of OCR software you want to use and upload your image file.
  • Select your format from TIFF, PDF, JPG, or PNG files.
  • Select whether you want a black-and-white or color document and click “Start.” If a specific type of file isn’t listed as an option, such as.xlsx for Excel spreadsheets, you can still convert it using this method by choosing “Other” in place of one of the above selections before uploading your document file.

Uses of OCR technology in Business

An OCR technology is helpful for scanning documents, converting them to PDFs, converting them to editable text formats, and reading the text inside a document. OCR can also be used by search engines like Google or Bing to search for specific words or phrases in a document.

For example, in an academic setting, students may want to use OCR technology to convert their handwritten notes into digital text. This enables them to access those notes via their phones or laptops, so they can study anywhere and anytime.

In the medical field, this technology is often used by doctors who may not have the time or ability to take notes while they’re seeing patients but still need some way of recording patient information so they don’t forget any important details later on down the road when writing up prescriptions or performing surgery.

These are just two examples of how this type of software can be used within different industries; there are many others!

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OCR is a beneficial technology for anyone who needs to convert documents quickly into a digital format. If you have a large number of paper documents that need digitizing, then OCR software can save you hours of work by automatically scanning your text and converting it into searchable files. As well as being great for businesses and offices, OCR also has many applications in everyday life, such as helping people with disabilities access information more easily through speech recognition technology.


Barker, Jess, et al. A Level Further Mathematics for OCR A Mechanics Student Book (AS/A Level). Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Chaudhuri, Arindam, et al. Optical Character Recognition Systems for Different Languages with Soft Computing. Springer, 2016.

Obaidullah, Sk Md, et al. Document Processing Using Machine Learning. CRC Press, 2019.

Rice, Stephen V., et al. Optical Character Recognition: An Illustrated Guide to the Frontier. Springer Science & Business Media, 1999.