What is OCR?

What is OCR?

We bang on about Optical Character Recognition (OCR) all the time, but have you ever stopped to wonder what the process actually entails? 

We’re here to satisfy your curiosity. 

In short, OCR is a technology that enables data extraction from images or documents. Essentially the process involves converting printed or handwritten text into machine-encoded text so that it can be easily understood and processed by computers.

OCR systems typically work in several steps. First, the image is scanned using a camera, and then the OCR software analyses the image and identifies individual or groups of characters. 

To recognise the characters, OCR algorithms compare the shapes and patterns found in the image against a pre-trained database of known characters. The database holds a multitude of variations of each character to enable it to recognise the same words in different fonts, styles, and sizes.  

Once the characters are identified, they are converted into machine-readable text, such as ASCII or Unicode, so they can be processed or stored digitally. The final output can be used in a wide variety of ways depending on the particular software, from language translation to data extraction. Advancements in OCR are happening all the time, making it increasingly accurate as time goes on.  

At Zahara, OCR is utilised every time you take a picture of a receipt or a supplier emails in an invoice. Instead of you reading the documents and then typing them up, the OCR reads them for you and inputs all the data for you. If you have experience of keying in large batches of invoices, you’ll understand how much of an asset OCR is!  

If you’re still curious and want to see the process in action, feel free to get in touch with one of our experts by booking a demo or take a look for yourself by taking a free trial.  


Streamlining Accounts Payable Approval Workflows: A Beginner’s Guide


Will Accounts Payable Automation Steal My Job?

  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
    Take control and book in with one of our AP Specialists today.