Though useful for processing all kinds of documents, ICR is an especially important tool when handling forms. Most forms contain bounded fields in which people are expected to write, as well as other areas that can be ignored when the information is being extracted. The ICR process is simplified by identifying text fields within a form and allowing the software to ignore marks outside of those fields. When the information is processed, data from each field can be entered into a corresponding part of a spreadsheet.
Data fields that use ICR is often combined with different types of OCR technology to create a comprehensive forms processing solution. For example, any given form may have information filled out by computer, text filled out by hand, fields with numerical information, check boxes, and barcodes. This complex combination of response formats makes it necessary to separate the form into separate fields, from which information can then be extracted. Thus, one program can use OCR to recognize typed text, ICR to recognize the handwritten elements, check box recognition, and barcode recognition to scan the barcode. If there is text outside the fields where it is expected to be found, it is not processed by the software. Also, it is important to leave space between separate fields to ensure that the machine does not carry information from one field into another.
One common example of the use of data fields with ICR is in the case of bank checks, which contain distinct spaces for different types of information, such as name, date, and amount. While the automated processing of printed checks has been perfected more than the processing of handwritten checks, ICR has made it possible to handle handwritten checks by machine, with only occasional need for human verification.
Data field-based ICR technology is not used for freeform text, but is extremely effective in handling standardized forms, which often come in large batches and are tedious to enter by hand into an electronic database. It has become one of the most developed, widely used forms of ICR.
Data Field Handwritten Text
ICR Data Field Recognition