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OMR, OCR, ICR and imaging – the terminology explained

OMR, OCR, ICR and imaging are all terms used to describe scanning technology.  They refer to scanning techniques which provide different levels of sophistication to suit different data-capture requirements.

OMR - Optical Mark Recognition / Optical Mark Reader

OMR can mean either Optical Mark Recognition (the process) or Optical Mark Reader (the scanner).  An OMR scanner follows instructions which tell it where to find marks on a paper form and then how to process them.

OMR technology is capable of capturing structured data to a high degree of accuracy. The CD230 hand-fed Optical Mark Reader is dedicated to OMR, whereas the PhotoScribe® series of imaging mark readers use OMR technology and much more…

OCR - Optical Character Recognition

OCR or Optical Character Recognition allows the scanner to interpret printed text (such as the details at the bottom of a cheque) and returns the results to a computer.  The DRS PhotoScribe® series imaging mark readers support OCR.

ICR Intelligent Character Recognition

ICR or Intelligent Character Recognition takes this process a stage further. Hand written characters can also be successfully interpreted and captured. With ICR, intelligent rules and checks are applied to each character so that most of the data can be captured automatically. Only those characters which have not passed a ‘threshold of confidence’ will need to be checked by an operator.


DRS PhotoScribe® series scanners also support imaging: the ability to accurately scan and capture photographs and other graphical images, in real-time.   

Capable of processing high volumes of forms, the PhotoScribe® series imaging mark readers can apply multiple solutions to the same form – OMR for marking multiple choice questions, OCR for interpreting printed material, ICR to capture more complex information and imaging.

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