9 Discreet Disadvantages of Optical Character Recognition

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak
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Optical character recognition (OCR) is a process of converting images of typed, handwritten, or printed text into machine-encoded text. OCR is widely used to convert books and documents into electronic format, to digitize printed documents, to recognize text from images, and to make text searchable and machine-readable. However, the disadvantages of optical character recognition are many.

Some disadvantages of optical character recognition include the fact that quality is not always ideal, that it may be time consuming and expensive, that it can provide erroneous results, that it is mistake prone, and that it occasionally requires proofreading.

It can be difficult to choose the right OCR software for your needs. There are many factors to consider but the best OCR software is one that fits your needs and budget and has a good user interface with a lot of features.

optical character recognition disadvantages

Disadvantages of Optical Character Recognition

No OCR components are perfect, and low-quality documents can cause enough mistakes to necessitate extensive and time-consuming proofreading.

Here are the top 9 disadvantages of optical character recognition.

1- Quality is not always high

Among the top disadvantages of optical character recognition is the quality of the OCRed documents.

The quality of OCR depends on the quality of input image that is provided to it. This means that if there are any imperfections in an image, OCR will have a harder time extracting text from it.

OCR errors can be even more difficult to fix since they often require the user to correct the OCR errors before re-processing with OCR again.

2- Time consuming and expensive

Another disadvantage of OCR is that it can be slow. This is because OCR technology has to analyze each image and convert it into text, which can take some time. For example, OCR might take several seconds to convert a single page of text. This can be a problem if you need to convert a large document into text.

Additionally, optical character recognition can be expensive, and it may not be available for all document types.

3- Sometimes inaccurate

One of the main disadvantages of optical character recognition is that it can be inaccurate. This is because OCR technology is not 100% accurate, and it can sometimes make mistakes when converting images to text. For example, OCR might mistake a lowercase “l” for a “1”, or a “b” for an “8”. This can cause problems if the text is used for critical purposes, such as in a legal document.

You may need to proofread the text after OCR to ensure accuracy

4- Losing documents formatting

One of the main disadvantages of optical character recognition is that sometimes the formatting of the output documents are lost during the process. This can result in text that is difficult to read or difficult to understand.

OCR can be susceptible to changes in fonts and formatting

5- Error prone

One of the main disadvantages of optical character recognition is that it can introduce errors that can mislead the value of the document.

OCR can introduce errors, such as incorrectly recognizing a character as a word or line break. A character recognition error is when an OCR engine, in converting text to text, incorrectly recognizes a character as another one. For example, the OCR could recognize “N” and change it to “E.” This is common in texts with non-English characters.

6- Lack of information on some characters

One of the problems associated with optical character recognition is a lack of information on some characters, such as punctuation. There are many punctuation marks that cannot be read by OCR software because they are too small or non-contiguous, or because they’re upside down and backwards.

Punctuation errors can also occur if the user enters the wrong punctuation mark.

7- Inability to recognize some languages

OCR may not be able to recognize text correctly if the text is in a language for which it does not have an OCR Language Pack. OCR Language Packs are an optional component that you can add to your OCR installation.

You need to make sure that your language is supported by the OCR engine that you are using in order to increase the accuracy of the output.

8- May not recognize right to left languages

One of the disadvantages of optical character recognition is that it may not recognize properly right to left languages. The OCR function does not recognize the following languages: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Hebrew.

9- Inaccuracy with damaged texts

OCR may not be able to recognize text that is printed in a font that is different from the default font for the language. It also may not be able to recognize text that is in a background that is darker than the text or a background that has repetitive patterns.

Conclusion: Why OCR is Important?

Despite these disadvantages, optical character recognition provides a wide array of advantages that businesses may take use of.

I strongly recommend reading the below article

9 Top Advantages of Optical Character Recognition (theecmconsultant.com)

OCR is important because it allows us to digitize our documents and make them searchable. It also helps in the creation of PDFs, so that we can share them easily.

For example, if you have scanned a document from your old hardcopy and want to convert it into a digital document, you will need an OCR software.

The implications of OCR are much more than just digitizing documents. It not only helps in the creation of PDFs but also helps in digitizing books, magazines and newspapers which can be used for research purposes or simply as a source of information.

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