OCR – Optical Character Recognition
While all scanners can scan photos and drawings, many of them can scan your documents and convert the image into editable text (ie in Word). This is called OCR or Optical Character Recognition.
OCR is actually a function of the software that comes with the scanner, rather than the scanner itself. The software that comes with these scanners is usually “Lite” software – ie it is very basic in what it can do and
does not have all the bells and whistles (depending on the scanner you buy – most of the cheaper Canon
scanners in schools do not have OCR function). There is commercial software available that is fully functional, but it is very expensive (up around $700 a copy), however schools can get academic versions of some software for a much better price – for example the academic version of Omnipage (Omnipage 16) is about $170. This commercial software will work with almost any scanner.
If your text document to be scanned is just plain text, no columns or text boxes and is clear (not smudged or faded), the lite software is quite capable of converting this text into a Word document. However once scanned and converted, you will need to check the text for errors, as there are often letters that it cannot interpret correctly.
How to scan a text documents that you can edit.
Put the document into the scanner. Make sure it is the correct way around for that scanner. Press the scan button. Once the scanner warms up you will get a screen like this (this is for a HP G2410 scanner).
; Select Document (it is picture by default)
; Change “Scan to” to Microsoft Word
; Good idea to select the Show Preview box
; Click Scan
Once scanned a document will open with the scanned text. If the original is a very good copy using a common font (ie Times Roman), most of the text should be scanned correctly. If the copy is faint, or uses an unusual font, there may be a number of errors to fix.
If the document has a table or text boxes, there may be a lot of editing to do.
The picture on the left is a graphic (ie not editable text) to show what the original document looked like. The document on the right is what it looks like after a scan. As you can see, the text that was in tables in the original is now in a list and mixed up. It will take a little editing to fix but by creating a new table in the document and using drag and drop (ie highlight the words to be moved then drag them to the correct cell in the table), it would not take long to fix.
When you have finished editing don’t forget to give the file an appropriate name and save in the folder you want it in.
If you have Omnipage it will keep the tables and column formatting (see next page).
How to scan a picture.
A student may want a picture from a library book to include in their PowerPoint presentation or Word document.
Click Insert/Picture/From Scanner or Camera. Follow any instructions and the scanned picture will appear in the
document ready to be cropped or resized as necessary.
If you want to scan a picture to save as a picture file (ie jpg), follow the same procedure as for OCR but select Picture for “What are you scanning” and select “Save to file” as “Scan to”. Also select Show Preview. Press
Scan and you will get a new window asking where you want to save the file to. Give the file a name then select the browse button to find the location you want to save to (ie Eduweb/Pictures).
Press OK and a window will appear showing a preview of the picture. Move the handles to select the actual part you want scanned and press Accept
The scanning software will start up and you may be asked to select which piece of hardware you want to get the
picture from (it could be a scanner, camera or other device you may have attached to your computer).
This only works to import pictures – it does not do OCR that I am aware of (other brands of software may do
OCR using Omnipage
Place document to be scanned into the scanner.
Select Start/All Programs/Scansoft Omnipage 16/Omnipage 16
Make sure Document source is
set to “Scan Black and White”
unless these is colour you want
scanned, in which case select
Select “Formatted Text” for
documents that are all text
without columns and tables (can
Select “True Page” for
documents with columns and
Select “User Defined Folder” to
select where you want the
scanned document saved to.
In “User defined file name” type
a filename for the scan
Select “View Result” to see immediately the result of your scan
Click the “Get and Conv” button on the Top Left of the screen and the document will be scanned and the
scanned document will appear in word (ignore the document on the right of the Omnipage screen with all the
little boxes). The document has automatically been scanned and saved to the location you selected.
Go to http://www.valdosta.edu/access/documents/op16guide.pdf for a detailed (100 page tutorial)l on Omnipage 16