OCR technology was only accessible to some businesses that had a really large budget in the past but nowadays, it is widely available and very popular. After companies started to adopt this technology, processes, and workflows automatically improved. There are even firms that created their own OCR software in order to achieve the best possible results and they customized programs to fit their own needs.
The great thing about OCR is that its accuracy keeps getting better and better. However, what we have to understand is that we cannot expect perfection. The user needs to take as many steps as possible to increase accuracy. This is particularly important for government agencies and the public sector since accuracy needs to be as high as possible. In such cases, agencies need to work with specialized service providers, like Smart Engines and their services for government agencies: https://smartengines.com/industries/government-public-sector/. For other businesses, the tips below will help increase OCR technology accuracy, no matter what software is utilized.
Always Aim For High Source Image Quality
The original source image determines greatly influences the result of the software. It needs to be visible so that OCR technology can actually detect the characters in it. Scanning hazy images never produce great results because characters mix with other pixels, making them unidentifiable. Optical character recognition needs to be able to recognize pixel noise, aligned characters, character borders, and high contrasts. This is impossible when the image quality is low.
Always check the scanner that you use and the settings that it has. If you notice that the scans are of low quality, it is time to invest in a more precise scanner.
Scale Images To Appropriate Sizes
Before you start the recognition process, it is a good idea to scale the images you want to use to standard sizes. Generally, this is around the 300 dpi mark. When images are lower, results tend to be unclear, no matter how good the software is. Also, the images that are over 600 dpi end up making a very big output file and not enough quality improvement is present to warrant this. After all, images also occupy disk space so you have to take this into account.
Enhance Image Contrast
Density and contrast are really important factors for OCR accuracy. Always consider these before the image is scanned. Images should be processed in order to enhance both contrast and density. This offers clearer outputs so the software can identify characters easier and faster.
Remove Image Noise
There is a foreground or background noise present in an image, it should be removed (as much as possible). This also increases data extraction success rates.
Properly Handling And Preparing Documents
Always make sure that documents of suitable sizes can actually be loaded inside scanners. Document preparation is more important than people think. For instance, if you mishandle contracts and they are not properly folded, marks will appear on the paper. As these marks appear on areas that feature text, the software finds it difficult to identify characters.
Use Thesaurus, Databases, And Filters
If you want to reduce the errors that sometimes appear with OCR technology, you need to exhibit some extra care. Any added language filters, the thesaurus that you use and databases added help increase accuracy. The goal is always to end up with documents that require minimal further inspection.
If you hear about new ways to help you achieve increased accuracy results after the extraction, use them. New technology is often created and when the software provider says an update was released, take advantage of that. Every single new program version has increased accuracy.