ICR vs. OCR: Why it matters.

Learn the difference between ICR vs. OCR and how they “read” scanned texts.

There are a few ways to get text from a physical piece of paper into your computer, but the only way you can transform printed text into computer-editable text is with ICR or OCR software.

What is OCR?

OCR stands for optical character recognition. It’s a type of software that scans images of text — like the kind found in printed sheets, books, and magazines, to name a few — and translates them into machine-encoded text that you can edit in your favorite word processor.

You can find OCR software in just about anything that scans documents, including device-based scanners like Adobe Acrobat online services and the Adobe Scan mobile app.

What is ICR?

ICR stands for intelligent character recognition. Technically, ICR is a type of OCR, but it’s slightly more specific.

Instead of transforming just typewritten letters, ICR software can translate different fonts and even handwritten text. That’s where we get the “intelligent” part. It’s smart enough to understand how to read differently printed letters and over time, can even learn to improve accuracy. Basically, it’s just a smarter OCR.

Which option is best: ICR vs. OCR?

When it comes to ICR vs. OCR, it’s relatively easy to determine which is best. Overall, ICR software will have wider applications compared to OCR programs. You can use it to translate more documents into editable files.

The only factor that may impact your decision is cost. Typically, ICR software is more expensive than OCR. So if you don’t need to translate handwritten texts, then perhaps an OCR is a better use of your funds. Either way, ICR and OCR software make it easy to transform printed text into digital text. You can’t go wrong with either.

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