Optical Character Recognition and OCR Fonts

Posted by Tom Graham on

Optical character recognition - OCR - is the mechanical or electronic conversion of scanned images of printed text into machine-encoded text. It is widely used as a form of data entry from original paper data source, whether documents, sales receipts, mail, or any number of printed records. It is a common method of digitizing printed texts so that they can be electronically searched and stored more compactly.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

  • Converts scanned images of printed text into machine-encoded text
  • Widely used as a form of data entry from original paper data source or printed records


Digital scanners cannot OCR a full page.

Digital scanners can read 6 to 60 point OCR typeface and support the following types of fonts only; other fonts are not supported:

OCR-A

OCR-A

OCR-B

OCR-B

MICR-E13B

MICR-E13B

US Currency Serial Number

US Currency Serial Number

OCR-A

In the early days of computer optical character recognition, there was a need for a font that could be recognized by the computers and humans. Uses simple, thick strokes to form recognizable characters. Commonly used in banking.

OCR-A Example

OCR-B

Created to get financial features used by banks. Includes all ASCII symbols, and other symbols included for the bank environment. Widely used for the human readable digits in UPC / EAN barcodes. Compared to OCR-A, easier for the human eye to read, looks less technical. Used in passports, books, etc.

OCR-B Example


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