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I'm on a project that processes hundreds of forms. The forms have consistent formats but are filled out by hand by different people. I need a way to quickly process all of this data into electronic forms.

OCR recognition for typed documents seems mature but for handwriting is very lacking.

For this thought, let's consider a form with several fields structured like this:

Field1: Value1

For example:

Name: John

where Name is the field and John is the value.

Considering that forms are structured and typed, OCR should be able to recognize/interpret the fields. However, the values of the fields are handwritten and OCR will perform very poorly for them.

So, is there a way where the fields would be recognized on the image, and then an image chunk of the value would be returned?

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Are you looking for an OCR library to integrate into a program to get this info, or a standalone package that would do this for you? Either way, do you have a specific software destination the solution would need to work with? – Alan Shutko Oct 15 '12 at 21:43

You could try to use FineReader Engine. It could recognize not only typed documents (OCR Technology), but also handwriting (ICR Technology).
So you could recognize both fields and export data into electronic forms.

A work for ABBYY and if you'll need any additional information about our products I'll be happy to help you.

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