How to Compare Document Scanning & Forms Processing Solutions
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Types of Scanning Software
Document scanning solutions fall in to one or more of
the following categories by function:
- Desktop Scanning -
Simple batch scanning of documents to network files or
document management system
- Enterprise Docment Capture -
High-volume, multi-user scanning of documents in large companies or service
- Forms Processing -
Handprint and machine print recognition software for forms, surveys, tests, etc.
- Flexible Forms & Invoice Processing - Dynamic OCR that locates data on
differently formatted documents like Invoices
These applications have many features in common, such as zone OCR, barcode
recognition and database integration. In many cases it may be more efficient to
use a less expensive batch scanning application to read simple forms or
invoices. Or you may have a complex backfile conversion task that could benefit
from the highly configurable recognition features in an invoice processing
application. For this reason we have included these solutions together in one
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Document Scanning Software Review
We've conducted an in-depth comparative evaluation of the top selling Desktop Batch Scanning applications. By running a standardized sample of documents with a selection of software and taking costs and set-up times into consideration, we have come up with an objective evaluation of the Desktop Scanning software listed above.
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Evaluating Your Needs
The key to efficient document scanning is using as many
automation features as possible to eliminate manual indexing while
making your documents fully searchable. The best way to do this is
with barcodes, since these can be recognized with a very high rate
of speed and accuracy and a very low possibility of errors.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) can be used to read indexes from
machine print on scanned images. It's not as fast and the
recognition rate is not as high as barcodes, but it can be used on
documents that were not designed with scanning in mind. Handprint Recognition (ICR)
should only be used when no other options are available, as this is the least
reliable and most labor-intensive method.
Efficient user interface design will also save you time in setting
up, training and supporting the application, while providing the
user with a more efficient interface for their daily work. For this
reason the user experience should be strongly considered along with
other features. Several applications are specialized for a single purpose,
such as survey and invoice processing.
You must also consider how long it will take scanning and indexing operators to
perform their tasks, and how much software and manpower will be necessary to
keep up with demand. You can contact our experts for
help with performance calculations.
While researching scanning solutions, you should get samples of all the documents
that need to be scanned and ask the folllowing questions:
- Who needs to view these documents once they are scanned?
- Is there an existing document management system, database or other custom
application that will be used?
- What information will they need to be able to locate the document?
- For forms, what information must be data entered from each document?
- Does this information appear on the document? Is it barcode, text, handprint or
- Can the document be modified to add this information? Via barcode? Text?
Handprint field? Check box?
- Does the information appear in the same location on each document?
- Is there a database available that already has some of the information you need?
- Are the people that need to use the scanning system located centrally or
- What is my estimated monthly or annual scanning volume?
By answering these questions about your documents you will have a much better
idea of which features will be most beneficial to your scanning project.
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Features Compared on This Chart
- Data Entry Automations
These features are designed to automate the process of labeling scanned
documents for proper filing, or to extract data from scanned forms and other
documents to automate manual data entry tasks.
Zone OCR - recognizes machine print text in pre-defined regions on
the image for automatic indexing
Dynamic OCR - locates recognizes data that appears in different
regions on the image for automatic data capture
OMR - recognizes check box values (Optical Mark Recognition)
Page OCR - recognizes all the text on the page to enable PDF
Image+Text and other searchable/editable formats
Barcode Recognition - recognizes the values of
barcodes printed on scanned pages for automatic indexing
Handprint ICR - recognizes constrained handprint in
pre-defined form fields (Intelligent Character Recognition)
Database Lookups - match scanned records with existing data
to populate document index data automatically
Indexing & QC - OCR/ICR validation, image quality control review &
rescan and image processing capabilities
- Price Range
Software Cost: Most of the pricing options depend
on the selected optional features and page count limitations, if any. The low
price estimate is based on the minimum set of options. The high estimate is
based on a configuration with all options that are available in a single
workstation configuration, excluding add-on items installed as separate
Setup Cost: Estimated cost to install,
configure and train users for a scanning system. Low estimate assumes one simple
form or document scanning workflow. High estimate assumes a single form with a
complex implementation involving many data elements, complex or multiple
layouts, custom data exports, etc.
$ - 500-2,500
$$ - 2,500-5,000
$$$ - 5,000-10,000
$$$$ - 10,000+
Pricing details and demo downloads are available when you create
a ScanStore User Account.
- License Type
Describes the licensing model for this application. These fall into the
Workstation/Seat License - A single computer is licensed to run
Concurrent User License - Allows a user to run the application
from any computer. Multiple users can share a single license, but only 1 user
can access the software at once for each concurrent license.
Page Limited License - License is limited to processing a certain
number of images per month or per year. When that limit is reached, the license
must be upgraded to continue processing.
Scanner Speed License - Unlimited scans are allowed, but license
only supports scanning speeds up to a certain limit.
Multi-User Configurations - Many applications allow the addition
of multiple workstations to distribute the processing workflow to multiple
users. Some also support remote scanning and indexing for off-site workers via
Virtually all batch scanning applications are limited to the Windows platform.
The developer specifications for many applications have not been updated to
indicate compatability with Windows Vista, 2008 or 7, so we have indicated the
compatibility of these based on our independent testing and experience.
Indicates how index data can be exported. Keywords can be
used to organize images into logical folders and filenames on
your network, or exported to delimited text files for import
into other software systems, or added directly to an ODBC or
- Scanner Support
Virtually all scanners support TWAIN drivers. ISIS drivers
come with most document scanners available. Kofax means native
support for Adrenaline image processing boards, which perform
real-time image enhancement on scanned images.
All systems support the importing of existing files from a shared folder, which
can be used to integrate with digital copiers, MFP devices or other scanning
- File Type Support
Lists type types of files the system can import, process and
export. PDF Image+Text refers to the capability in PDFs to
create a hidden text layer that is overlaid on the scanned
image, letting the viewer search, highlight and copy the OCR
text while viewing the image.
Please feel free to contact us for help
deciding which document scanning application is right for you!
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