ICR Reader: An Innovative Approach to Extract Data From Handwritten Documents


Methods for integrating new technologies into the current business environment advance along with technology. Digital technologies are being used by businesses more and more to automate operations and streamline procedures like purchasing. Character recognition or ICR is one of the technologies that is heavily used in automation and digitalization. Businesses need software that can read the text or numeric data on the receipts in order to automate invoice processing.

At first, image capture technology was restricted only to taking pictures of documents. After that, improvements in character recognition and image indexing were made by scanning data from a document. Instead of just producing a still image, optical character recognition produces a document that is editable and searchable. OCR made the document digitization and processing of digital papers significantly easier. But, the ability to read handwritten documents was not very good. To solve this issue, an intelligent character recognition or ICR reader can be used.

What is ICR Reader?

The ICR reader is a state-of-the-art scanner that pulls handwritten text out of images. It is an enhanced version of OCR technology that employs various methods of machine learning and artificial intelligence. By identifying different fonts and writing styles, it can intelligently interpret data in written documents, whether they are digital or printed.

An ICR reader is used to scan paper documents, extract the information, and digitally store the data in a database program.  The data is utilized for analytical insights and integrated into organizational procedures. Businesses use ICR solutions to organize unstructured data and eliminate paper-based processes.

OCR vs. ICR Reader

For a number of reasons, some organizations prefer ICR recognition to OCR. The most effective strategy combines both, with the following significant variations:

  1. Instead of relying on AI or neural networks like the ICR reader does, the OCR system extracts data using templates.
  2. OCR methods use a specific format for data entry, whereas ICR software learns to recognize a variety of formats
  3. OCR is perfect for businesses with a small selection of document formats. The ICR scanner is flexible and ready to handle the frequently changing nature of invoices.
  4. ICR reader is fully automated, whereas the OCR software requires staff to operate
  5. OCR-based systems need human intervention, whereas ICR only notifies users when it is necessary
  6. Users find it difficult to search through documents created by OCR files in business databases because they only produce PDFs of documents once. Scanner ICR saves read information, making it easy to retrieve data.

How an ICR Recognition System Works

Businesses can extract documents using the ICR reader. The working of this system is explained below:

  1. Uploaded documents are received by the ICR scanner
  2. Trained APIs read the details of images and also scan them. The program utilizes an existing database to automatically translate any handwritten text and fonts
  3. To verify the user’s identity, the ICR reader asks to upload handwritten signatures
  4. Key-value pairs are used to organize the data that is automatically extracted from documents
  5. The documents are edited and spell-checked, and then the ICR recognition looks for any anomalies before sending them to the client for review.
  6. If not, data from the fields have already been automatically inserted into the systems for payable accounts to keep the record.

Benefits of ICR Reader

The ICR reader uses ML and AI algorithms to extract data from handwritten documents in a self-learning manner. Every time it encounters a new handwriting style or font, it adapts, grows, and gets better at converting the data into digital databases. The ICR recognition system benefits firms in the following ways:

  1. The ICR reader is scalable and works best for organizing electronic record archives. Additionally, it can be utilized to manage documents.
  2. Scanner ICR is being used by businesses with a variety of documents, including transcription services.
  3. While removing the need for manual data entry, ICR services offer robust data verification. This facility can help employees work more effectively and productively.
  4. Intelligent character recognition online solutions help companies safely protect data from unauthorized access while allowing data uploading to cloud storage.


ICR is an improved version of OCR technology. The key difference is that ICR can identify human handwriting, whereas OCR performs best on computer-generated documents. Depending on how readable the handwriting is, the accuracy still varies.  Intelligent character recognition technology is improving in accuracy and precision due to ongoing technological developments. The AI and ML algorithms used in the ICR reader are constantly changing to accommodate different handwriting types. More data from users will allow ICR models to update and operate more effectively.

ICR methods continuously pick up new writing styles from reading the handwritten fonts, enhancing their ability to predict them and automatically update their database. Before entering data, it is essential to manually review fields because incorrectly written fields can occasionally be challenging for ICR models to understand.

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