How to scan receipts with receipt OCR.

A person at a desk using OCR receipt scanner.

Store and organize your receipts in seconds. Learn how optical character recognition (OCR) scanning can turn paper receipts into PDF documents.

You should always store the receipts for your important purchases. You may need them for tax audits or if you have to prove you have an active warranty on a product. But there’s a big problem with most receipts — they can fade quickly and become completely unreadable.

Luckily, there’s a solution called receipt OCR. The acronym stands for optical character recognition. Read on to learn how an OCR-capable scanner can make storing your receipts a breeze.

Two methods of receipt OCR.

When it comes to scanning receipts with receipt OCR, there are various methods available to handle this task efficiently. Here are two examples:

  1. One possible approach involves using your smartphone as an OCR receipt scanner, utilizing the camera functionality and OCR capabilities of modern mobile devices. This method allows you to capture an image of the receipt using your phone’s camera and then use OCR technology to extract text and relevant information from the image.
  2. Another option is to employ a dedicated OCR receipt scanner, which is a specialized device designed specifically for scanning and extracting data from receipts. These devices offer enhanced scanning capabilities, making the process of digitizing receipts quick and accurate.

1. Use your phone an an OCR receipt scanner.

If this all sounds good to you, you might be wondering how you can start using OCR to scan receipts. The first option is to buy a scanner with OCR features. But these devices can be expensive and take up a lot of desk space.

It can be easier — not to mention cheaper — to turn your smartphone into an OCR receipt scanner with a free scanner app for mobile. All you have to do is point your phone camera at a receipt or any other document and wait a few seconds for the app to scan the document.

After scanning your receipts, save them as PDFs and upload them to your preferred online file storage platform. This allows you to easily view, share, and even copy text from the receipt files.

2. Use OCR receipt scanner and software with a computer.

Another option is using an OCR receipt scanner. These machines are specialized to do the scanning for you. However, the specialized hardware can be expensive to acquire and maintain. Dedicated receipt scanners may also lack the portability and convenience offered by using your phone’s OCR apps. They require a stationary setup, forcing you to bring the receipts to the scanner or carry the scanner with you, while smartphones with OCR apps provide a cost-effective and widely accessible solution.

Using dedicated OCR receipt scanning software along with the physical scanner offers some advantages worth considering. These software solutions often provide advanced features and robust capabilities that can be beneficial for specific business needs or high-volume scanning requirements. They offer advanced data extraction and processing options, which can result in greater accuracy and efficiency when handling large quantities of receipts. These features may be particularly useful for businesses that require extensive data analysis, automation, or integration with other systems.

However, it’s important to weigh these advantages against the drawbacks of using dedicated OCR receipt scanning software. One of the main drawbacks is the cost associated with such software and specialized receipt scanners.

In the end, no matter which option you choose, the benefits of using an OCR receipt scanner extend to individuals and organizations alike, empowering them with greater efficiency, convenience, and control over their financial documentation.

How does an OCR receipt scanner work?

This technology will get text from image files to turn printed documents and other papers into machine-readable PDF files.

If you’re already scanning your receipts, you may have noticed that you can’t copy text from documents captured with a regular scanner. OCR for receipt recognition resolves this issue.

OCR technology identifies the letters on a printed document and recreates them as digital text. This allows you to copy and paste text and search for certain words or phrases. In short, it makes processing your receipts and finding information on them much faster.

Benefits of using an OCR receipt scanner.

Using an OCR receipt scanner offers numerous benefits, making it an invaluable tool for various individuals and organizations. Families looking to digitize their receipts can benefit greatly from an OCR scanner. By converting physical receipts into digital formats, they can organize and store their financial records, facilitating budgeting, expense tracking, and tax preparation.

Businesses and organizations can also leverage OCR receipt scanning to their advantage. By scanning receipts, they can efficiently organize, share, and search for specific information, enabling seamless expense management, enhanced record-keeping, and simplified auditing processes. Additionally, businesses can analyze the scanned data to gain valuable insights into their spending patterns, identify cost-saving opportunities, and streamline their financial operations.

Learn more about how you can use Adobe Acrobat to create searchable PDFs, reorder pages, merge PDFs, and convert various file types to PDFs that you can reference and share — anytime, anywhere.