We’ve all been presented with important printed documents with no soft copies provided. For whatever reason, we may have to edit the document, save it in a certain file type, etc. When this happens, we usually dread the inevitable task that we must undertake: Manually copy and type the entire printed document into a Word file. That absolutely sucks. Contract OCR can do that job for you in just a few seconds. Read on below to find out how.
What is Contract OCR?
Contract optical character recognition or contract OCR is a feature in ContractAwesome that is powered by artificial intelligence. OCR technology allows a computer, or any device with a camera, to “read” and identify words in the same way humans do.
Sure, you can digitize a printed document by taking a picture of it. This is fine, especially for record-keeping purposes. However, when the situation calls for editing certain clauses in printed documents, you’re going to need to do more than just taking a picture. Contract OCR converts images and scanned documents into editable files automatically. You might think this technology is costly to use. With ContractAwesome, the feature is free.
How Does Contract OCR Work?
OCR, in general, is powered by artificial intelligence. Good optical character recognition technology is “taught” how to recognize shapes and associate these shapes with letters. This is how you can feed it pictures of words, in different fonts and sizes, and it can produce editable documents. Typically, the more exposure to different kinds of lettering OCR is exposed to, the better it becomes at recognition.
Why Use Contract OCR?
When it comes to organizing and managing large quantities of contracts while minimizing errors, computers are typically more effective and efficient than humans. When it comes to manually copy a printed document and typing the contents into a document, errors can be made. This is especially true because the task is so rudimentary and repetitive that our brains tend to go on autopilot and we tend to skip over critical errors. Thus, contract OCR provides a couple of advantages: speed and accuracy.
In terms of speed, optical character recognition is second to none. If you choose the traditional path of reading hard copies of documents and manually typing them into a new file on your laptop, this can take hours. The time spent increases exponentially as the length of the document increases. And we all know how long contracts can become. This doesn’t even account for the time needed for proofreading and editing any errors that occurred during the typing process. With contract OCR, converting a page into editable text takes just a few seconds.
In terms of accuracy, optical character recognition algorithms are becoming more and more efficient everyday. And by that I mean, reading all sorts of handwriting and languages. When it comes to contracts, every word matters. Even the smallest of mistakes can cause huge problems down the line, especially in highly sensitive contracts. An incorrect renewal date can leave your business with huge repercussions. Perhaps you forgot to type down a certain clause, thus causing you to fail to comply with it. This can cost your business vast amounts of time and money. In the case of contracts, attention to detail is key. What if the contract is still being drafted and is handwritten? Maybe the person who wrote it was in a rush. How will you understand his handwriting? You can’t just take your best guess. Luckily, ContractAwesome’s OCR feature is well-equipped to handle all sorts of fonts, increasing your accuracy on many fronts.
Practical Uses of Contract OCR
I’ve mentioned how optical character recognition as part of contract management software can increase your team’s working speed and accuracy tremendously. Now, let’s talk a bit about contract OCR in more practical terms.
Contract OCR makes documents searchable. When you scan a document or take a picture of it and want to find a specific word, you’ll have to read through the document and find the word manually. This can be a huge hindrance when trying to find important points within contracts. Contract OCR solves this problem easily. Once you convert the printed document into an editable file through ContractAwesome’s optical character recognition feature, the file behaves as any other text file does. You can use the search function to look for specific words or phrases.
Aside from turning the original document into an editable digital file, optical character recognition can also scan through important points and pull them from the document and report the data back to you. For example, you have a few printed contracts on hand. You want to digitize them and also find out which contract has the closest expiration date. Contract OCR software can recognize important data in documents, such as dates, and present this to you in an easy-to-read manner.
Of course, it goes without saying that OCR can make printed text editable. We’ve mentioned this several times throughout the list, but I believe it deserves its own section. When transferring or sharing data, copy and paste tools are essential. If a document is in an image format, you’re basically barred access to copying and pasting. This can be a hassle especially if you need to copy over certain points from the document to, say, an email you’re drafting.
Once you convert the document to text through ContractAwesome’s OCR feature, data can be copied and pasted as easily as any other string of text on the internet. Copying the information directly rather than typing it manually can help eliminate inputting errors caused by typos and other human errors. Contract OCR truly is a time saver.