Optical character recognition

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Optical character recognition (OCR) is the electronic translation of scanned images of printed text into editable text.

At Distributed Proofreaders, the abbreviation OCR is used in various contexts (and tenses/forms) to refer to:

  • OCR software - the software that performs optical character recognition,
  • the process of using optical character recognition software,
  • the person using optical character recognition software, and
  • OCR text - the editable text produced by optical character recognition software.


In the Proofing Interface, the image of the original printed page, which is often referred to as "the scan," appears above or to the left of the "OCR," which is shorthand for "the text file produced by OCR software." The OCR in this sense is what gets edited during proofing and formatting.

See also