To make your ICR and OCR as effective as possible when processing forms, it is important to format your documents in a clear way that helps the software perform better. Because the software needs to identify specific text fields, you need to know how to use lines and shading in a way that makes every group of characters distinct.
First of all, it is best to use a later printer to print out your forms, so that all of the lines are sharp and easy for the software to distinguish. This simple, basic precaution can eliminate a very basic level of background noise. Also, it is important to leave a blank, white band around any OCR or ICR zones, creating a clear separation between different parts of the document. This way, even is a person�s writing strays slightly outside the box, the machine should still be able to pick up on it because there are no other distractions. When processing multiple batches, make sure that the OCR and ICR zones are positioned in the exact same way every time, to minimize the need for manual adjustment of the program settings.
For ICR areas specifically, you should shade the areas that are expected to contain writing, helping to ensure that when the form is filled out, the writing is confined to the specified limits. The shading should be done in "no-repro" blue or green "drop-out" ink, making the shaded box invisible to the image camera. Instead of printing the boxes solid, print them at a 100 and 50 screen to keep even over-sensitive from picking up on the ink. Finally, always be sure to state clearly in the instructions the importance of staying within the designated text fields. This will save you the hassle of receiving forms that are too messy to be handled by machine.
While these tips may not guarantee a 100% accuracy rate for your character recognition tools, they will bring you as close as possible to that level of perfection.
Combining ICR and OCR
Structured Forms for OCR