The trick of the inverted text

by Ilya Evdokimov | Mar 12, 2010 | OCR

The search for greater accuracy when it comes to document automation, never stops. It’s true that with every new release, OCR technology has become so advanced that the jumps in accuracy are not what they were 10 years ago. Now, new versions of OCR engines contain enhancements for low quality documents and vertical document types but general OCR can’t get much better. Because of this, modern integrations need to find new tricks. This blog is full of them, but I’m about to explain just one more. OCRing inverted text.

OCRing inverted text is nothing new. Many document types have regions where white text is printed on a black background. The modern engines have an ability to read this text. Typically it’s not as accurate as black text on white background OCR, but it has its unique benefits. Especially with complex document types such as EOBs and drivers licenses.

There is a trick in using inverted text OCR to increase overall OCR accuracy. The method is to first OCR a document normally, then using imaging technology to invert the image. When you invert the image, the black text on white background switches to white text on a black background. Once the inversion is done, run OCR again. By comparing the two OCR results, you have essentially voted the same engine with little effort.

Large volume processing environments can deploy this trick without re-loading a new OCR engine, and applying different settings. It’s important to note that when using this technique, how you compare the two results is as important as the process itself. Typically you will assign more weight to the original version of the document then the inverted one. There you have it, one more tool in increasing the OCR accuracy of the engine you already use.

Chris Riley – Industry Expert