Scanning your physical documents is a great way to back-up your files, decrease your need for storage, and enhance your home or business. However, if you are scanning your documents as an image, you may not be able to edit them…yet.
In order to gain full control of your documents, and convert your electronic files into an editable format, you need the proper tools. With the right software and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, you can transform your files into the editable documents you desire.
How to Edit Scanned Documents
Step 1: Scan Documents for Editing
Scanning your documents is the first step of the conversion process. Be sure that as you scan your documents, you are capturing a clear image – the quality of your scanned documents may impact the success of your conversions. Save your images as one of the major file types (JPG, PNG, TIFF, PDF, etc.) Depending on the size of your project, you might benefit from outsourcing your scanning needs to a document scanning company capable of imaging a large amount of files in a short amount of time.
Step 2: Optical Character Recognition
In order to “read” your scanned images, you will require the assistance of OCR technology. OCR programs will analyze your electronic documents, matching characters on the page to their corresponding values – reproducing any text in an editable format.
There are several OCR programs available, both paid and for free – so you should consider your particular needs. If you are looking for a one time fix, an open source software may be great. However, for those that are dealing with important documents and larger projects, you should invest in the proper tools – or a company who has. At NEdocs, we utilize Digitech’s PaperFlow – a scanning software with OCR capabilities. This allows us to work with any scanner to create crystal-clear images of your documents while transforming the text into retrievable data.
Once you have acquired an OCR program, proceed to step 3.
Step 3: Electronic Images & OCR
Now it is time to run your electronic documents through your new OCR program. Depending on the software you chose, this process will vary. In general, the program will ask you to specify which files should be converted and how they should be saved. Most programs will allow you to choose a file format – so be sure to choose the file type that will work with your preferred editor (MS Word, TXT, etc.)
Step 4: Remove Formatting Codes
OCR is far from perfect – and it may have added some formatting codes to your document during the conversion process. Your next step should be to remove the formatting codes from your new editable document. You may also avoid having to manually remove formatting codes by using a simple word processor that does not recognize the formatting (Notepad is a great example).
Now that your document has been scanned, processed with OCR, and cleaned of formatting code, you can edit your scanned document. Be sure that you quality check all work done by your OCR program. OCR is still an evolving technology and may produce some errors in formatting or spelling. Once you have quality checked your information – you can begin to make edits to your scanned document.
Learn more about New England Document Systems, our scanning services, and OCR technology today!