Optical Character Recognition Scanning

The other day I was on the phone with a fellow small business owner and we were brainstorming some ideas which he listed as we spoke. At the end of the phone call, I asked him to send me the ideas we had talked about and then I logged onto my email to wait for it to come through. A few moments later, my fax machine beeped and out came a fax of a lined piece of paper with handwriting on it.

Unexpected, but not the end of the world. When I bought my printer, I made sure it had multiple capabilities (including fax, scanner, copier, etc.). Once the fax came out, I put it right back in the machine and scanned it using OCR recognition. When I bought the fax machine I didn't know what OCR was or why I'd need it but now I am glad I bought it.

OCR stands for “Optical Character Recognition” and it allows you to scan a handwritten document (like I did) and turn it into a text document. After scanning, in moments, I had turned my friend's handwritten page into typed text in a Word document. There was the odd error here or there (probably attributed more to his handwriting than to the OCR capabilities) but nothing I couldn't fix in about 30 seconds.

Incidentally, for movie buffs out there, it's the same technology Harrison Ford used in the recent movie Firewall when the villains wanted him to scan bank account numbers.

Convenience and Hollywood entertainment… does your scanner have OCR?