Bits & Bytes
SCANNING A LOWER PRICE TAG ON OCR SOFTWARE
Optical character recognition (OCR) has been a boon for the Information Age. It allows computers to convert text on a printed page to an electronic form that can be manipulated by word processors and other programs. Still, OCR has not been widely used partly because, until recently, OCR software cost from $300 to $1,000 a copy, making it unattractive to the casual, low-volume user.
Xerox Imaging Systems, a unit of Xerox Corp., is out to change that. Its new TextBridge OCR software, designed for use with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software, is priced at just $99. Xerox Imaging says that the software can run on a standard Intel 386-based PC equipped with a scanner or a fax modem and can accurately recognize forms of text that often flummox other OCR systems. For instance, TextBridge can cope with a fax page's jagged characters, and it has special routines for recognizing such patterns as Social Security numbers and postal codes. The software is available now directly from Xerox Imaging in Peabody, Mass., but the company plans to sell it in stores and mail-order catalogs by yearend.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG