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Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – Frequently Asked Questions

What is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a technology that enables you to convert different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data. OCR technology has made a significant impact on the way information is stored, shared and edited. Prior to optical character recognition, if someone wanted to turn a book into a word processing file, each page would have to be retyped word for word.

How does it work?

An optical scanner scans the text on a page, then breaks the fonts down into a series of dots called a bit map. The OCR software can read most common fonts and distinguish where lines start and stop. This bit map is then translated into computer text.

What benefit does automated fax OCR software afford my organization?

For one, it gives you more power and flexibility. Users can receive faxes as working documents rather than static pages. In addition, it helps enhance workflow processes, saves time and increases employee productivity. It allows data entry to happen more rapidly as copy and paste generally is faster when dealing with large amounts of data input. It also helps you save on storage space (and cost) since the information captured by OCR uses much less space than hard copy materials.

How does the use of OCR enhance our workflow processes and productivity?

Because OCR converts all incoming faxes to readable text, it reduces data entry times and enables easy indexing and archiving of your faxes to email documents. This also makes it easier and more efficient to search for key words or phrases. In fact, you can do this in a matter of minutes. For example, if you are using GFI MailArchiver, you can easily search and retrieve faxes from the archive by searching key words or phrases as GFI FaxMaker will put the OCR text from the received fax in the body of emails.

What’s more, OCR enables routing based on the actual fax content. For example, you can create a rule that says when “Online Order Form” is detected, the fax is forwarded to the orders department. GFI FaxMaker will convert the fax image to text and if the rule text is found, the fax is forwarded accordingly.

Is there any negative impact on network performance?

No. The OCR module enables fast conversion and routing so it doesn’t slow network performance.

Can we export text for reuse?

Yes. After a scanned document is turned into a searchable text file, you can reuse the text by copying it to other file formats, such as Word or Excel.

Is the OCR module an optional feature with GFI FaxMaker?

Yes. The OCR module is an optional feature, but it provides added functionality that more than pays for itself. It is proven technology that enhances productivity, reduces the physical storage space associated with paper storage and minimizes the risks associated with retyping or reformatting information.

Can we test the OCR module?

Yes. There are detailed instructions in the Administration & Configuration Manual.

How do we install the OCR module?

The OCR module is already active in the evaluation version of GFI FaxMaker so there is no need to install.