What is Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR)

Dream Haddad
Post by Dream Haddad
March 23, 2022
What is Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR)

Consider this idea for a moment: data is king in your organisation. Data allows you to visualise relationships between what is happening in different locations, departments and systems. It also allows you to more efficiently determine the root of your problems. It’s through the accurate, efficient collection and analysis of data that you can begin to optimise the work you do and thrive.

What is ICR?

Intelligent character recognition (ICR) is an advanced optical character recognition (OCR). Put simply, it’s a system that allows handwritten characters to be recognised and converted by a computer into computer-readable  text. ICR services improve the performance of OCR technologies by translating diverse handwriting styles in order to extract data from both structured and unstructured texts. It enhances and upgrades its learning processes across artificial neural networks any time new data is being applied to ICR and adds characters to the recognition database with each new handwriting it processes, which improves the accuracy of capture over time.

ICR is useful for any company that deals with a wide variety of forms, letters and papers every day, such as financial, law or healthcare industries. For such companies, documentation is a convenient and simple tool for managing consumer records, thereby requiring 100% accuracy when it comes to data collection. ICR is a simple way to mitigate error while saving time and human resources.


ICR encompasses similar applications as you would usually come across in OCR programs - however, users of ICR can also search and categorise handwritten documents into machine-readable information.

If your company requires the review of vast volumes of handwritten documents, that include ordered and unstructured information, ICR is an excellent option to add to your data capturing process. It reduces the risk of human error and offers fairly high accuracy, thus increasing the efficiency of data capturing.

Benefits of ICR

  • Attention to detail
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Accuracy of information
  • Improvement in productivity
  • Elimination of manual processes

The proficiency offered by ICR technology today is way ahead of what existed more than a decade ago. ICR software like Acodis should be taken advantage of by organisations, especially as demands for better information governance grow. Otherwise, you might expose your company to more uncertainty and lose an opportunity to optimise efficiency in your organisation.

Maximise Big Data Insights

When companies strive to maximise on the "big data'' that they process, handwritten data plays a significant role. Look for the best combination of experience, skill, and vision for suppliers and collaborators to make the most out of handwriting recognition in your organisation.

Impact on Cost Structure

Outsource your ICR and you won't have to worry about:

  • Cost of the software
  • User and administrator training
  • IT infrastructure and maintenance costs
  • Time to install and configure the software
  • Redesigning forms for optimal recognition
  • Defining data exports for each form template
  • Labour required to verify the recognition results
  • Creating recognition templates for each data field on every type of form

Few things to consider

You deal a lot with handwritten forms in your organisation

Without ICR, all your forms would have to be processed by hand. This causes redundant work, as employees must key in all answers in order to make it compatible and searchable with a Document Management System. ICR does this automatically.

Your organisation deals with a wide range of vendors

More and more vendors are switching to online receipts and invoices, but not all of them are there yet. Every month, businesses working with a large number of suppliers often file their documentation and place it in a pile to manually enter when they get around to it. The problem: they just never get around to it! In the case of an audit, they may face accounting errors, duplicate payments and misplaced relevant documents.

You regularly use a scanner in your company

There are many convenient reasons to scan documents, but when they’re saved as a PDF or similar file, they’re generally not searchable. Getting the most out of Data Management Systems means having the ability to instantly search files to find keywords. With ICR or OCR online software, organisations can more easily find exactly what they’re looking for.

You are striving for digitisation.

Beyond saving paper, digitising paper documents benefits organisations. They are now able to catalogue, arrange, scan and freely move these documents. For certain organisations, this results in new levels of intelligence and adaptability.

You care about accessibility in your organisation

ICR offers assistive solutions to employees or customers with visual impairments. The data becomes accessible to the various software required.

You want to encourage remote working in your place of work

Since all paper-based documents can now be converted into digital, organisations no longer need to pay for storage for their file stack. All documents can be accessed, even remotely, to carry out the business of the organisation.

The bottom line

While ICR minimises error, the best way to validate results from an ICR system is through an editor, whose job it is to verify the original document or image with a digitised copy of the values. Artificial Intelligence supports this process through the self-learning system, which applies its learnings across the entire data set.  If 100% accuracy is your goal,  ICR can provide you with the benefit of search functions and access to all your original documents.

Data analytics provide the gateway to successful decision-making and valuable insight into whether your organisation is headed in the right direction. The right tools and technology can help you detect consumer patterns and illustrate the process underlying a product or service's popularity. If this is what you need then ICR will certainly benefit you and your organisation in the long run.

Compare ICR Software

The ICR software marketplace offers quite a few options, and it might be hard to compare the best ICR software suppliers. One of the best sources is to compare reviews from actual customers on sites such as G2.com

Best ICR Tool and Software

Before you select a provider, it is critical to understand your use case. Are you going to process thousands of documents per year? That's exactly when you want a powerful AI-based solution with a model that continuously improves the more data your process. If you are only processing a few documents, then you might be better off with a manual solution or a tool that extracts data by outsourcing it. 


Has been founded in 2016 with the mission to turn any document into valuable structured data. Today, Acodis has large enterprise customers in over 6 countries that process way over 12'000 documents per year. Compare Acodis and read what customers say

Video: Intelligent Character Recognition with Acodis


Rossum has the vision to create a world without manual data entry, improving the work-life of countless back-office workers (source). 


They state that they are a reliable and trustworthy partner supporting companies to realize the potential of artificial intelligence to automate their back office processes (source).


Is on a mission to connect human and artificial intelligence to solve tomorrow's automation challenges (source).


Is in the business of solving problems, and our ability to imagine the power of unstructured data has led them to build a platform that harnesses it to generate meaningful insights for enterprises (source).

Dream Haddad
Post by Dream Haddad
March 23, 2022
Product Marketing Specialist