A quick lesson between OCR and ICR… so what exactly is the difference? For starters, let’s reveal the words behind these two acronyms.
OCR = Optical Character Recognition
ICR = Intelligent Character Recognition
Okay, now that you know the words behind the letters, let’s look at the definitions of each. As defined by the all knowing Wikipedia…
OCR: Optical character recognition, usually abbreviated to OCR, is the mechanical or electronic translation of scanned images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. It is widely used to convert books and documents into electronic files, to computerize a record-keeping system in an office, or to publish the text on a website.
ICR: In computer science, intelligent character recognition (ICR) is an advanced optical character recognition (OCR) or – rather more specific – Handwriting recognition system that allows fonts and different styles of handwriting to be learned by a computer during processing to improve accuracy and recognition levels.
When you are looking into document imaging solutions, OCR is usually a process that is included in any worthwhile solution. There are many different OCR engines that different products use, but a key thing to remember is that OCR typically won’t be able to read handwriting. If you are looking into forms processing, especially forms that are written on, you’ll want to look into more advanced ICR software. Kofax is an example of a product that can read handwriting from a scanned image and utilize what it reads.