Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Free OCR Shareware

Imagine you have an urgent task in hand�digitizing the John Grisham�s The Firm overnight. You could stay up all night typing at a furious speed and still not get done with it. Or you could use a high-end scanner and in minutes scan the entire novel into a computer using an Free ocr shareware!

OCR (or Optical Character Recognition) is the �translation� of optically scanned bitmaps of printed or written text characters into character code, such as ASCII. And the software that helps to do so is called an Free ocr shareware.

So how does an Free ocr shareware work? Well, before an Free ocr shareware can do the �magic� trick, the source materials must be scanned using an optical scanner to read in the page as a bitmap. A Free ocr shareware then processes these scans to differentiate between images and text and determine what letters are represented in the light and dark areas.

Older Free ocr shareware used to match these images against stored bitmaps based on specific fonts and that resulted in lot of inaccuracy. But today�s Free ocr shareware use multiple algorithm of neural network technology to analyze stroke edges, lines of discontinuity between text characters and of course, the background. Allowing for irregularities of printed ink on paper, each algorithm averages the light and dark along the side of a stroke, matches it to known characters and makes a best guess as to which character it is. The Free ocr shareware then averages or polls the results from all the algorithms to obtain a single reading.

Advances are being made to recognize characters based on the context of the word in which they appear. The next generation Free ocr shareware would probably try document recognition that would use the knowledge of the parts of speech and grammar to recognize individual characters.

Even though most modern Free ocr shareware can recognize a wide variety of fonts, handwriting and script fonts that mimic handwriting are still problematic for them. But then, who knows maybe in a few years or so, the Free ocr shareware technology might just become flawless!

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