All data could be input to a computer using a keyboard, but this would often be a slow process, and mistakes would be made.
Sometimes speed and accuracy is required…
Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is a technology that allows details from bank cheques
Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) is a technology that allows the data from a multiple-choice type form to be read quickly and accurately into a computer.
Special OMR forms are used which have spaces that can be coloured in (usually using a pencil). These marks can then be detected by an OMR scanner.
Common uses of OMR are multiple-choice exam answer sheets and lottery number forms.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a software technology that can convert images of text into an actual text file that can then be edited (e.g. using word-processing software). The result is just as if the text had been typed in by hand.
OCR is typically used after a page of a book has been scanned. The scanned image of the page is then analysed by the OCR software which looks for recognisable letter shapes and generates a matching text file.
Advanced OCR software can recognise normal handwriting as well as printed text – this is usually called handwriting recognition.
Barcode Reader / Scanner
A barcode is simply a numeric code represented as a series of lines.
These lines can be read by a barcode reader/scanner.
The most common use of barcode readers is at Point-of-Sale (POS) in a shop. The code for each item to be purchased needs to be entered into the computer. Reading the barcode is far quicker and more accurate than typing in each code using a keypad.
Barcode can be found on many other items that have numeric codes which have to be read quickly and accurately – for example ID cards.