How Zonal OCR Differs from OCR in a Document Management Context

Document management cannot be potentiated without OCR and Zonal OCR. That’s why we’ll spend this article explaining how to get the most out of your Zonal OCR solution.

But before you understand Zonal OCR, you have to understand OCR (optical character recognition) at a basic level.

If Optical Character Recognition is applied to a PDF document, then the characters in that document are searchable.

For instance, if someone were to search for the term document management in a document within the solution, they’d be able to see every place where the term document management emerges.

It’s basically the same as a Ctrl F key function on a webpage.

Except, with full text search in OCR, if one searches for a document containing the term document management, then clicks on one of the results from the query, it will automatically show you where the term document management pops up in the selected document.

The Two-step Process Behind Document Management OCR

1) eFileCabinet will find all the files that contain the words via full text search. If this didn’t happen, the document would just pop up without highlighting the characters. eFileCabinet’s document management solution does this with Foxit Phantom, but if a user uses Adobe PDF standard, that will also work.

The reason a searcher can tell a document has gone through the OCR process when outside of eFileCabinet is to go to the View tab within Foxit Phantom, and go to the text viewer, where a user can see that the layer of text that went through the OCR process is present.

2) Secondly, the solution will be able to find the words contained in the files themselves.

A Step up from OCR: Zonal OCR

Zonal OCR is a way by which users identify the fields from which they’d like to pull information from. Take a set of boxes on a 1040 accounting document for instance.

So, what will uniquely identify the 1040 as a document is the text contained in fields from which an eFileCabinet user would like to pull information.

So, when you create a profile in eFileCabinet called document management, for instance, and the profile fields you’ve created in the file are the information you want to pull off a 1040. So, with Zonal OCR, that will automatically happen.

The Benefits of Zonal OCR in a Document Management Solution

1) No more manual data entry

This is redundancy at its worst. It wastes time, and the sooner you automate it, the better off your company will be.

So many businesses waste so much time manually entering all their data in to electronic systems lacking core document management bandwidth. With Zonal OCR, all users must do is prespecify which fields are important to them, then scan a documents into the scanner and upload it to zonal OCR system. Once the PDF is scanned, all the information is automatically brought into the document profile fields of eFileCabinet.

2) Automatically create drawers and folder structures

If the drawer does not already exist in eFileCabinet’s document management solution, Zonal OCR will recognize this and automatically create the drawer and or folder structure for the new client or storage structure, while scraping the metadata from the document including the document itself.

3) Automatically store files

This is yet another huge time saver that Zonal OCR offers. Most people who begin using eFileCabinet’s document management solution are most surprised by how much time this saves. And, once they’ve mastered the new technology, they finally realize just how inefficient their old processes were.

4) Automatically captures metadata and profile information

Anything that can be achieved automatically and for a low cost should be implemented, no matter what type of business or industry an employee belongs to.

5) Fewer typos and less human error

if you are using a manual filing system, instead of an electronic filing system, and a client of yours comes in with a w-2, then even if you scan it into a system and turn it into digital format, you’ll have to enter information manually into the document itself. If you’re accounting practice is growing quickly, this will soak up even more time.

Boiling it Down to Zonal OCR Features

Here are the need-to-knows about what eFileCabinet offers with Zonal OCR in the context of its document management bandwidth.

The Greater the Number of Forms You Commonly Use, the More Useful Zonal OCR Will Be

As outlined above, it’s the repetitive process given to some documents that make it worth our time to automate form field and data entry in them with zone OCR tools.

If you’re a client services business only managing one document per document category, and with hundreds of document management categories, Zonal OCR will not have as profound of an impact on your productivity and process automation as organizations with thousands of one or two different kinds of documents.

The latter of these two cases is where the bulk of the workflow automation will come from, and will therefore not render the same positives for each business.

The forms may increase over time, too depending on industry: business applications, rental and lease forms, mortgage forms, HIPAA documents, bills of sale for vehicles, insurance forms, legal forms, medical prescription templates, and more.

Understanding Form Field Utility and Templates

There are myriad different kinds of forms, so how does Zonal OCR learn how to manage all of them? The key is repetition.

As a form of machine learning, Zonal OCR can handle this as long as templates pick up when Zonal OCR is laying down as specified by the system administrators and users of eFileCabinet.

Given the vast amount and diversity of documents in any given solution, Zonal OCR leaves off where templates pick up. In any given template and in all templates, the fields will be common for forms on documents.

For instance, a pharmacy technician has a DEA# (which identifies the medical professional who is filling out the document) and can apply this DEA# to templates in the eFileCabinet document management solution, including other prespecified fields, such as date prescribed, date of birth, patient name, patient address and more.

Pharmacy technicians can also use prescription profiles to discern which fields are important in documents with similar structures.

Although the search functionality in eFileCabinet is powerful, system administrators should choose relevant metadata for templates with care, as it’ll help people more easily remember which terms are relevant for document indexing and retrieval.

Ways to Add Forms via eFileCabinet Zonal OCR

There are multiple ways to leverage Zonal OCR in a document management solution. eFileCabinet has four, if you prefer one way over another.

  • Add files button
  • eFileCabinet Zonal OCR printer
  • Scan and send to Zonal OCR
  • Watched folder: Anything you store in a given folder on your desktop will automatically be uploaded to a prespecified place within eFileCabinet. All users must do is select which folders they want to include as Watched Folders


Form Field Confidence Levels

There are two relevant components to form identification confidence in the Zonal OCR add-on.

Form Identification Confidence

This sub-component of Zonal OCR demonstrates that the technology is intelligent enough to recognize one form over another, even if fields are overlapping.

No matter how many forms a worker puts into Zonal OCR, the software will be able to distinguish certain categories of documents from others.

Fields OCR Confidence

This is a measure of whether the software can distinguish one document field or set of document fields from similar fields in another document. For example, a 1040 accounting document vs. a w-2.

With the new Zonal OCR update to eFileCabinet’s document management suite, barcode OCR can now be identified in form fields and digested, increasing the level of fields OCR confidence users can specify in searches.

Without fields OCR confidence, search within a document management solution becomes cumbrous and difficult to streamline.