PDF is fast becoming the most popular and integral document format for working professionals. PDF is a truly multipurpose format, which makes it usable in a host of different fields and applications. However, working with PDFs can also be problematic at times. By default, PDFs are seldom editable, except by the author. Most users do not have access to tools that would make a PDF editable. Alongside this, a common problem that nearly everybody would have faced when working with PDFs is the issue of embedded fonts. The text in a PDF might often not be selectable. At other times, the PDF might never have been text in the first place and might be the photo of a physical page converted to a PDF.
So, how does one tackle these issues?
Optical Character Recognition
OCR technology helps scan a document, regardless of whether it is made of text or images, for signs of text. It uses pattern recognition algorithms to recognize whether any part of a document might be an alphabet, number, or character. Once this recognition has been made, the OCR extractor converts this image into text on the document itself or extracts this text from the document to a separate environment. An OCR extractor is an essential piece of technology in multiple domains and applications.
Why use an OCR extractor?
In the absence of OCR extractors, all extraction of data from scanned documents has to be done manually. If your data is available in PDF format, you would need to replicate the same data on an excel sheet before you can analyze it. As you can imagine, this manual data entry is immensely time-consuming and prone to all kinds of manual errors. Often senior management would not have time for manual data processing, so they would have to hire someone to do it or outsource the whole process. On top of that, data cannot be tracked in real-time.
The OCR extractor is a one-stop solution to all these issues. A well trained OCR extractor can extract all the required data in a matter of seconds, with minimal error.
Challenges in extracting data from PDF documents
Even if you have an OCR extractor, often they come with a few limitations. Here are just some of the challenges with OCR extractor you might encounter:-
1. The document was never text
If the document that your OCR extractor is scanning was initially made as a text document, the OCR extractor will likely have an easy task on its hands since the characters will be legible. However, if the document was never text and is an image converted to a PDF, most OCR applications would find it difficult to extract data.
2. The document contains tables
If you are extracting data from a PDF, not all OCR extractors will do a great job. Intuitively, OCR extractors have a tendency to treat horizontally aligned text as a line. As a result, it can have significant difficulties in recognizing tables, which are blocks of individual pieces of text. This can be made even more difficult if the document contains nested tables - a table within a table.
At Docsumo, we’ve designed a special free tool just to overcome this limitation. With Docsumo’s free table extractor tool, you can extract tables from any scanned and non-scanned PDF document along with images. Go ahead and see for yourself.
3. Image clarity
The clarity of the image is also a major factor in the performance of the OCR extractor. Only an OCR extractor that has been well trained on a host of different types of images will be able to extract text from images taken in different types of lighting.
Businesses as well as individual users require an OCR extractor that overcomes these problems and helps them extract data faster and with better accuracy. Docsumo’s Free OCR scanner is a free and well trained tool to extract data from any document. Try it today and see for yourself!
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