How To Use An Ocr - Optical Computer Recognition - Program On Your Pc Computer

This article discusses how to set up and run an OCR program using your computer and its scanner.

Optical Computer Recognition (OCR) programs can save you considerable time and effort. These programs allow you to scan your document rather than having to key in every character. This is particularly useful when you are trying to convert a large number of hard-copy documents into computer files for bookkeeping.

Typesetting is expensive and trouble-prone, since keying a book by hand leaves a lot of room for human error. Optical Computer Recognition programs, on the other hand, read text and duplicate your hard-copy manuscript word for word in electronic form, formatting it into popular word processing software such as Microsoft Word.

This article will discuss how to set up and run an OCR program using your computer and its scanner. Your specific software, computer or scanner may be different, but these directions should be applicable in general.

Your hard-copy pages should be as clean and clear as possible. Dirty or damaged pages will lead to poor scanning results and smeared or unclear characters invariably lead to errors. You will end up with between five and 10% errors in your work using most OCR programs, but you can greatly reduce this number by taking care of your equipment and the pages you hope to convert.

Most scanners will not accommodate unusually large pages. It is possible to photocopy your hard copy at a reduced setting and then OCR it, but the quality of the characters will degenerate through frequent reproductions. Alternatively, you could scan your text in pieces if it's in columns by folding it over.

Follow your scanner's manufacture's suggestion on how to set up the unit. Test your scanner under normal conditions before attempting an OCR job. If your computer is not reading your scanner, recheck your instructions to be sure it is hooked up correctly. Always have you scanner turned on and ready before starting your OCR program. You may have problems and need to restart if your program doesn't read your scanner.

Open your OCR software and choose "Select scanner" under the File menu. If your scanner does not appear, close the program, check all connections, scan an image in another program, and then restart the OCR software. It is sometimes necessary to reinstall your scanner on your computer. Make sure that "Scanner" is selected under the Process menu. If you have "Image" selected your computer will ask for you to locate an image file on your computer.

Selected "Settings" in your Process menu to configure how your scanner will read your document. Use "Dual Page" if you are doing a book that can fit with the binding open in your scanner since this will drastically reduce your scan time. Select "Newspaper" or "Magazine" if your document has unrelated columns or choose "Any Page."

Pick "Scanner" in the tab menu under Process. You may want to select 400dpi (dots per inch) or greater, but refrain from using 200dpi for most normal-sized text. Be aware that the higher your dots per inch, the more likely you will be to pick up page blemishes in your scan. These defects are sometimes read as characters and may create errors in your document. Lower DPI scans will be much faster, but won't read light characters as well. In most cases 300dpi will suffice.

Pick "Processing" in the tab menu under Process. Here you will usually select your page orientation. If your page is very long - or you have "Dual Pages - select landscape, otherwise select portrait. Make sure English is selected as the document's native language.

After you have made your changes be sure to save your settings. You may need to change some setting in the future, but many (such as your DPI) will largely remain the same from job to job.

Now use your "Get page" option to start the scanning process. In some cases, depending on how you have your OCR program configured, a smaller "Setting" pop-up window will appear. Reselect the type of document you will be scanning - "Dual Page," "Newspaper," etc - and choose OK.

Your scanner should scan your document. As mentioned earlier, the higher you have set your dots per inch, the longer your page will take to scan. Once it is done a small pop-up will appear of the page you have just scanned. Take the opportunity to be sure your document is not upside down or oriented in a way that cuts text off. It is advisable to save this page by selecting "No More" and then open it in your word processor.

Print off your scanned page and examine it for defects. If it looks okay return to your scanning program and start over, selecting "More Pages" after each scan. It's a good idea to separate longer documents into 30- or 40-page sections in case you run into a scanning error. That way you avoid having to rescan an entire section.

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