You’d be forgiven for scratching you’re head and quietly marvelling over how quickly receipt scanning software is advancing. The last few years alone has seen the technology improve comprehensively to the point that reliable data extraction and storage makes managing your finances a breeze.

Arguably, one of the more notable developments has been the introduction of zonal OCR receipt scanner capabilities. Occasionally referred to as Template OCR, zonal OCR allows users to extract specific text within the body of a receipt, invoice or other document, precisely pinpointing the data they need. This is especially useful for EDE (expense data extraction) as it saves massive amounts of time and eliminates human error. Tabscanner EDE technology is the world’s most accurate OCR API for scanning receipts.

What is Zonal Optical Character Recognition?

A good proportion of today’s document scanning solutions feature optical character recognition that can only convert the convert whole scanned images into searchable and editable PDF documents.

Now, this is fine, but what if you want to specifically highlight a specific aspect of the transaction and aren’t overly concerned with other elements? You need a document or receipt scanning API that’s capable of completing zonal OCR.

This is especially useful for businesses looking to manage employee company expenditure. The ability to convert an image to a PDF and then meticulously transfer line-by-line data to an Excel spreadsheet saves mountains of time and effort.

How Does Zonal OCR Work?

The key to understanding zonal OCR is in its name. Traditional OCR coverts scanned documents and receipts into easily accessible and manageable online documents. However, this type of document or receipt scanning API is limited. Why? It only scans the entire document.

Zonal OCR’s capabilities have evolved beyond this. Instead of only converting your scanned images into text, zonal OCR can be programmed to understand the structure and hierarchy of your document or receipt. By separating the document or receipt into zones, zonal OCR can clearly distinguish specific fields from one another.

Why Is This So Useful?

Let’s imagine that your business has hundreds of purchase transactions to process every week. What if you have an order receipt of 50, 100, or 200 individual transactions? How can you hone in on the most important line elements?

A zonal OCR receipt scanner can be programmed to identify one or more specific transactions by highlighting the most important data fields. Advanced systems can even extract the data to a tailored layout, making it as easy as pie to keep track of, and understand exactly where the bulk of your business expenditure is being spent.

All required fields (or extraction zones) can be highlighted prior to scanning any document or receipt. It has never been easier to keep track of and extract pertinent data.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

Despite the very useful nature of zonal OCR, the technology is not without its drawbacks. This should come as little surprise to any long-time advocate of receipt scanning API technology. But, it should also come as little shock that the kinks should be ironed out sooner rather than later.

One of the more notable drawbacks is that extracting data from semi-structured documents will still prove a mite more challenging than extracting data from a clearly defined document or receipt template.

At present, zonal OCR is not capable of efficiently extracting text from compound data fields, such as names and postal addresses on documents, nor can zonal OCR meticulously extract multiple repeating data fields, such as continuing product numbers that flow down a comprehensive receipt or invoice.

Another drawback is that a zonal OCR receipt scanner will struggle to extract data accurately that includes data fields with variable positions, such as invoice total amounts.

However, despite these drawbacks, the technology us consistently evolving, meaning that, sooner rather than later, these issues will, more than likely, be resolved making zonal OCR of documents and receipts easy and simple to accomplish.