Question for the Buisness Employees who work with computers :)

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DeathStar1, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

    Dec 28, 2001
    Likes Received:

    we're discussing various ways to go paperless and streamline production. The folks at another board suggested we go with a cmopany to set up the document scanning process, and I think I've found one that's reliable, so that route is fixed, but now we've got another question...

    Apparently, we get documents each month that have to be typed in manually in order to be edited and then faxed. This is a 2 hour process depdning on the length of the document.

    I know there's a way to scan it in directly into Microsoft Word to be editble, wich I beleive is called OCR. But, is there any way to scan it in and go directly to Excel for it to be editble? The employees here find Excel a bit easier to setup than word. This way, they can save an hour or two, scan it in, type it up, and FAx it directly from their machine, without having to type it up, print, and then fax.

    Also, We're looking for something that can create a digital signature maker, sort of like what the UPS guy has when he gives you your packages. I know they have drawing tablets with digital pens, but I'm not sure about the signatures..

    Thanks for any help [​IMG]

  2. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

    Oct 6, 1998
    Likes Received:
    I'm certainly not an expert ... but I have worked often with the OCR capabilities of Adobe Acrobat. I strongly recommend anyone who routinely works with MS Word, Excel & Powerpoint and occasionally scanned docs to get the full version of Acrobat (as opposed to the free, downloadable version of Acrobat Reader, which is probably on 99.9% of all USA PC's)

    Optical Character Recognition (OCR) ... is a capability of Acrobat and a number of scanning / document processing software packages. Once you scan a doc (thus creating a digital image of said doc) you can run it through an OCR routine that attempts to convert the doc to a text file ... readable by MS Word and/or others. The better the resolution of the scan, the more accurate the OCR process will be. The minimum resolution for OCR in Acrobat is 300 dpi ... 600 is better. After processing OCR, typically there is a maunal process to "review capture suspects" (no, this doesn't mean foreign spies) It means words or text blocks that the OCR subroutine could not figure out and it needs a human to make the judgement call. at 300 dpi ... I often find 10-20 capture suspect that have to be fixed.

    After completing OCR (in Acrobat) & fixing capture suspects, you'll have a text-editable pdf file. This can then be converted to MS word or Excel, depending on the page layout, some times its better to go thru Word first.

    I'm sure there are more spohisticated ways to go from paper to Word/Excel in a single step ... but be prepared for errors and manual intervention. How much money do you have to spend?
  3. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

    Jan 27, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Most cheap scanners come with OCR software. The documents still need to be 'proofed' as the software isn't always 100% reliable, but it's sure quicker than typing everything in.

    I'm not sure on scanning directly to Microsoft, but you can definitely scan to plain text and copy and paste. I am not 100% positive, but I don't think OCR software will retain bold, italics, etc. (i.e. formatting).
  4. JoshGivens

    JoshGivens Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 5, 2004
    Likes Received:
    The newer HP scanners come with a software package, can't remember the name right now, but it will scan in to several different formats, i.e. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Adobe Acrobat, paint...

    So yes, it can be done.
  5. Mike Wilk

    Mike Wilk Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 12, 2003
    Likes Received:
    We recently upgraded to Office 2003 Professional and I discovered that Word CAN "acquire text" from an attached scanner and do OCR. As with all OCR, GIGO is the watch-word and you have to carefully review for misreads, but it does work.

    We also use Adobe Acrobat to create PDF versions from any app that has print capability. The Pro version also permits editing to add/replace/remove pages within a document. We send documents for bilateral signatures, scan the signed cover page and then replace the unsigned one with the signed one for electronic mailing and storage.

    HP makes a device that was called a Digital Sender 9100C. It is a scanner that can convert text to PDF or tiff and automatically send via email or fax especially when placed on a LAN. Obviously on a LAN it supports a "scan to desktop" function as well.

    Here's a link.

    HP Digital Sender 9100C


    PS - When I say GIGO I mean that the better the original document, the fewer mis-reads but all OCR I've ever used can be tripped up by letterhead icons/symbols and page headers and footers. Formula and equations can confuse the software as well.

    I also forgot to mention that the 9100C is designed to operate as a stand alone device, independent of a computer to drive it, but I believe it can be connected to a PC anyway.
  6. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

    Sep 30, 1997
    Likes Received:
    OCR works pretty well when set up correctly. If you're trying to go from printed documents, that is. And the Excel piece works fairly well, too.

    That being said, you can go different routes, and do not need the full version of Acrobat as there are other OCR methods. Word '03 will do it, and just about all scanners come with OCR software. Most are decent to good, some are horrible.

    It's also great if you have to scan in drawings, etc.

Share This Page