Scanning documents used to only be for archiving. Today the advances in capture software have enabled businesses to extract key pieces of information from within the document in a highly automated fashion. Today the various Capture Software solutions rely on several techniques to locate, validate and accurately extract information from your documents. Here are some of the ways in which this can be accomplished (hover over term to view description):
This method relies on coordinates on a page and is dependent upon the information being located in the same place on the documents. This method is typically used with static forms.
(Match & Merge)
This feature uses a key piece of data either automatically captured or manually entered into a field to perform a query on a database and pull back more information about a document.
This method uses tools such as regular expressions and Anchor Attach Points to locate information anywhere it may reside within the documents. This method is great for semi structured and unstructured documents.
These are sequences of characters that define a search pattern. This method can be used to find values such as, but not limited to, Social Security Numbers where the data pattern may be 9 numeric digits or 11 characters defined as XXX-XX-XXXX.
Point & Click
A feature of many capture software solutions where the user can use the mouse to hover over a value and click to populate a field with the OCR read value.
Barcodes can be a valuable tool during the capture process. The values extracted from the barcodes can serve many purposes such as identifying the type of document, carrying several values relevant to the document or it can contain one value that is used to perform a database lookup (a.k.a. Match and Merge). Barcodes can even be used for automatic document separation. Link to youtube video demonstrating AD Separation.
This feature enables the software to read check boxes or radio buttons to see if they have been marked. Each check box or button has a value associated with it and the software will assign that value of the region that is checked or filled in to the field it is associated with.
While these methods and features are powerful on their own, the real value is in utilizing these methods together along with other features to create business rules to extract and validate information from the documents. Once this information has been captured and extracted, it can be used to populate databases, initiate a workflow, or simply structure the output in a consistent and usable format.