At first glance, the differences between OCR, or optical character recognition, and ICR, intelligent character recognition, may seem complicated to understand or irrelevant to your business. But the reality is that it’s relatively easy to understand the basics of both, and any company that currently uses document management software (DMS) coupled with a scanner, or that intends to use one, will find the differences relevant. Let’s cover the basics of both OCR and ICR, the differences between them, and the relevance of those differences.
Defining OCR and ICR
While OCR and ICR sound similar, in reality there are major differences between the 2 software systems. OCR software translates scanned images of text, whether printed or typewritten, and turns these scans into machine-encoded text. OCR is generally used to translate books and other long documents into electronic files. It can also be used as a record-keeping system by businesses or used to publish text on a website.
ICR technically qualifies as an OCR but it’s more specific. An ICR is a system that learns different fonts and styles of handwriting. With an ICR, a computer can study handwriting and can learn to recognize it to improve accuracy and recognition. Essentially, it is a smarter application of OCR that is more involved and more detailed.
The Main Difference Between OCR and ICR
While ICR is a subset of OCR software, the main difference is that OCR is generally not set up to recognize handwriting. It’s generally used to take paper documents that have been typed and turned into text so it can be searched and categorized. OCR text can also be copied and pasted. On the other hand, ICR focuses specifically on handwriting or printed materials that use more complicated fonts than OCRs can handle.