Reformatting scanned documents is essential for improving the quality of the documents. For example, many times there are certain historical or age-old documents that may be in a very bad condition. When scanned, such documents need to be reformatted, though, as their original shape or layout is often lost in the transfer: the margins and tabs may be off; the images may scan poorly in cloudy grays, etc. Sometimes the format changes with certain alterations in the font size, color or borders.

There are four types of scanners used for scanning analog documents.
• Drum
• Flatbed
• Film
• Hand

These scanners work efficiently most of the times. However, there are chances that some information may be wrongly read by this equipment and technology. Especially, for scanning handwritten documents, this can lead to some major issues. Therefore, there is almost always a need for reformatting scanned documents.

For reformatting scanned documents, they have to be converted into editable files. This is done with the help of OCR technology; OCR stands for ‘optical character recognition’. It can be described as an electronic or mechanical translation of images of typewritten, printed, or handwritten text into a text, which can be edited by computer as well.

This technology, which helps in reformatting scanned documents, renders an accuracy of almost 99%. There are still some limitations for this technology regarding recognition of handwriting and cursive witting.

Research is constantly going on for improving this problem. However, OCR still manages to recognize most of the text correctly. Also remember that it cannot recognize other scripts or other languages that make use of the Latin script and those that have a vast number of different alphabets.

Several systems that can recognize hand printed text are available in the market. Among them are the personal digital assistants like the ones, which run Palm OS. The pioneer of this technology is Apple Newton. The algorithms that these devices feature provide some advantages like order, speed, and known direction of individual line segments at input.

Moreover, a user can be trained for using only letter shapes, which are quite specific. However, these methods cannot be used along with the software that is used for scanning paper documents. Therefore, there are certain limitations on accurately recognizing hand printed documents. At the most, accuracy rates of about 80% to 90% can be achieved through these devices.

Even such accuracy rates are enough, as one or two mistakes per page that these OCR devices make can be easily corrected by manually reformatting scanned documents. This can be done with the help of a PC, in same way that is used for editing digital documents. Therefore, this technology has become so popular and is being used for several purposes in business, or other activities.

There are several advantages of this technology, which provides the facility for reformatting scanned documents. Some of them are:

• The possibility to convert most of the paper documents in digital form.
• Digitized documents can be stored on disks or other digital storage devices that do not require much storage space.
• The retrieval of documents is easy.
• They can be easily transferred from one place to other.
• Converting analog text into digital form offers safer storage.

Thus, it is a very useful technology that has increased the usability of computer for different purposes. Moreover, it is cheaply available and therefore it has become popular.



ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit


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