Debitoor Dictionary

Accounting terms explained in a simple way

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OCR system- What is an OCR system?

An OCR (Optical Character Recognition) system enables you to scan a text document into an electronic computer file that can then be edited on your computer or smartphone

Our mobile app makes it easy to scan expense receipts on the go and upload them automatically to your accounts with OCR. Try Debitoor free for 7 days.

Optical Character Recognition is the machine recognition of printed text characters. This means that by scanning a document, the device is able to essentially ‘read’ the content.

OCR systems are able to recognise numerous kinds of text fonts and printed characters from typewriters and computers. Some advanced OCR systems can even identify handwriting.

The text that the computer or smartphone then reads from the photographed paper can then be used to autofill a form, such as when you are registering an expense in online accounting and invoicing software.

How OCR works

Using recent technologies, OCR takes the data collected when you scan or photograph a text document (such as an invoice or a page of a book) and converts it into a bitmap (a type of picture of the text).

To do so, an OCR system compares the light and dark aspects of this bitmap to determine each alphanumeric character. As the OCR recognises each character, it then converts them into ASCII text (raw text that can be edited in a word processor).

This allows you to then edit, search or copy the text as quickly and easily as you would a document in Notepad or Word, for example.

Where OCR is used

OCR is a versatile technology that has been implemented in a wide range of uses from official documentation to just-for-fun games.

For example, today, mail centres often use OCR technology to manage and sort mail. This results in a faster sorting process and improved delivery times.

OCR is also popular for use in mobile apps, providing different functions - from receipt recording capabilities to handwriting analysis.

OCR and Debitoor

In Debitoor, OCR makes it easier to record expenses for your business. Have a PDF invoice from a supplier? Simply upload it in a new expense and Debitoor’s OCR will take care of filling out the date, amounts so all you need to do is choose a category and the supplier from the drop down menu.

In the Debitoor mobile app, it’s also that simple - just snap a photo of your receipt and the OCR will read the important details, automatically filling in the fields so that all it needs is a quick review.