Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is the electronic conversion of scanned and photographed images of typewritten or printed text into computer readable text.  For example, if you scan a tax return into your computer, the return is first just an image.  Once you apply OCR on that image it will convert as much of the text as possible into text that is readable in Adobe Acrobat.  This will allow you to perform different functions to the text.


Benefits of OCR

  • Some programs (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Various Tax Software) will automatically apply OCR to a document converted to PDF. You will know a text has OCR applied because you will be able to select it

  • Because the text already has OCR applied you will be able to perform different Acrobat functions directly to it
  • Highlighter Tool

  • Strike Through Tool

  • Search Feature‐ finds words embedded in file


Applying OCR to a document whose text is not readable.

  • Launching OCR
  • To apply OCR to a document you must first select the OCR icon from the Tic, Tie & Calculate (TTC) toolbar

  • You can choose to run OCR on “All Pages”, the “Current Page” or you can select specific page numbers to apply it to

  • Running OCR should happen fairly quickly.  Once successfully applied you will be able to perform the Adobe functions described above in “Benefits of OCR”

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