Difference Between Optical Character Recognition (OCR) And Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) With Examples

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What Is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?

The main purpose of optical character recognition is to quickly and automatically recognize and convert images of machine-printed or typed text into actual electronic data that users can organize, search and modify. In general, an OCR engine analyzes the pixel data of scanned images and searches for patterns resembling letters, numbers and other symbols to create a digitized record of characters. While the exact mechanics of this process can be complicated, OCR engines ultimately enable users to easily and effectively perform a wide array of functions such as information entry, processing, categorization, retrieval and analysis.

What You Need To Know Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

  • OCR allows a machine to automatically recognize characters using an optical mechanism.
  • OCR systems are made up of a combination of hardware and software that is used to convert physical documents into machine-readable texts. Hardware such as an optical scanner or specialized circuit board is used to copy or read while software typically handles the advanced processing.
  • Most OCR systems recognize numbers only and very few of them can understand the full alphanumeric range.
  • OCR supports a wide variety of inks.
  • OCR is used almost everywhere that requires text or image processing e.g schools, government institutions and businesses.
  • OCR  uses artificial intelligence.
  • OCR deals with more complicated text and symbols.
  • OCR supports a variety of shapes of fonts.
  • In OCR, scanned data is used for editing or printing.
  • Any standard form or document with repetitive variable data is easily read using OCR technology.

Applications of OCR

OCR has a wide application including:

  • Electronically depositing checks without the need for a bank teller.
  • Translating words within an image into specified language.
  • Recognizing text, such as license plates, within a camera or software.
  • Placing important, signed legal documents into an electronic database.
  • Archiving historic information such as newspapers, magazines or phonebooks, into searchable formats.
  • Automating data entry, extraction processing.
  • Indexing print materials for search engines.
  • Scanning printed documents into versions that can be edited with word processors, like Microsoft word or Google Docs.

Magnetic Ink Character Reader/Recognition (MICR)

Magnetic Ink Character Reader/Recognition (MICR) is a character recognition system that uses special ink and characters. When a document that contains this ink requires to be read, it passes through a machine, which magnetizes the ink and then translates the magnetic information into characters.

MICR technology is widely used in banks. Numbers and characters found on the bottom of the checks (usually containing the check number, sort number and account number) are printed using Magnetic Ink. To print Magnetic Ink, you require a laser printer that accepts MICR toner.

What You Need To Know About Magnetic Ink Character Reader (MICR)

  • MICR checks are printed using a special ink. It is this ink that allows the information written on the check to be authenticated through machines.
  • MICR is often used particularly in banks to prevent frauds through use of counterfeit checks and demand drafts. Also, some airlines use MICR to validate flight tickets.
  • MICR characters are printed with a magnetic toner or ink made of iron oxide only.
  • MICR provides a secure, high-speed method of scanning and processing information.
  • MICR is more accurate than OCR because it uses a standard font and magnetic ink.
  • MICR typeface is limited to only 14 characters including 0-9 and four special symbols that indicate Transit, Amount, on/us and dash.
  • Due to the fact that MICR is limited only to 14 characters, not possible to print an entire check using this special magnetic ink.
  • MICR support only pre-defined fonts like E-138 and CMC-7.
  • In MICR, scanned data is used for processing the cheques.

Also Read: Difference Between Holography And Photography

Main Difference In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON OCR MICR
Scanning OCR can scan any kind of printed text. MICR  scan specific formats present in a cheque.
Type of Ink OCR supports a wide variety of inks.   MICR characters are printed with a magnetic toner or ink made of iron oxide only.  
Font OCR supports a variety of shapes of fonts.   MICR support only pre-defined fonts like E-138 and CMC-7.  
A.I (Artificial Intelligence) OCR  uses artificial intelligence   Does not use artificial intelligence.
Scanned Data In OCR, scanned data is used for editing or printing.   In MICR, scanned data is used for processing the cheques.  
Application Translating words within an image into specified language.   Recognizing text, such as license plates, within a camera or software. MICR is often used particularly in banks to prevent frauds through use of counterfeit checks and demand drafts. Also, some airlines use MICR to validate flight tickets.  

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