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HOW TO: Scan a Document using OCR

OCR or Optical Character Recognition allows you to transfer printed text to a computer without needing to type it in manually by converting the images of characters into text files. Most scanners come with some type of OCR software. This software isn’t completely accurate, so it is important to look for errors in the conversion process. This guide will provide the basic steps involved in using OCR software to capture printed documents. It may not match your hardware or software exactly and you should refer to the documentation that came with your device for specific information.
  1. Turn on your scanner. Ensure that Windows has properly recognized it and it is ready for use.
  2. Start your OCR software.
  3. Lay the document you want to convert on the scanner. Align the document correctly. If it’s upside down, it may make it difficult for the OCR software to recognize the characters. Most flatbed scanners have an arrow or some other type of mark to indicate which side is up.
  4. Verify that your software is able to see the document and that the correct language is selected.
  5. Choose a destination for the scanned text. You may want to use a basic word processor like WordPad for basic editing. If you need more advance options, consider something more powerful like Microsoft Word.
  6. Click the Preview button in the software. This gives you an idea of what area of the document will be captured and how it may look in your editor.
  7. If you do not want the entire document, adjust the scanning area to cover only the text you would like to capture. This is normally accomplished by dragging handles of a frame around the area.
  8. Make any other adjustments your software permits. In some cases, you can select just text, or if the page contains images, text and images. Adjustments to the darkness and sharpness of the capture may also be available.
  9. Click the scan button. Depending on the size of the area to be scanned and other options selected, it may take up to a minute to complete the scan.
  10. Save the file. Choose a name and location on your computer to store the file.
  11. If you have more than one document or section of a document to scan, repeat steps 5 through 10 as many times as necessary.