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Forms Processing

Forms processing is a process by which one can capture information entered into data fields and convert it into an electronic format. This can be done manually or automatically, but the general process is that hard copy data is filled out by humans and then "captured" from their respective fields and entered into a database or other electronic format.

Manual data entry -

This method of data processing involves human operators keying in data found on the form. The manual process of data entry has many disadvantages in speed, accuracy and cost. Based on average professional typist speeds of 50 to 80 wpm,[1] one could generously estimate about two hundred pages per hour for forms with fifteen one-word fields (not counting the time for reading and sorting pages). In contrast, modern commercial scanners can scan and digitize up to 200 pages per minute.[2] The second major disadvantage to manual data entry is the likelihood of typographical errors. When factoring in the cost of labor and working space, manual data entry is a very inefficient process.

Automated forms processing -

This method can automate data processing by using pre-defined templates and configurations. A template in this case, would be a map of the document, detailing where the data fields are located within the form or document. As compared to the manual data entry process, automatic form input systems are more preferable, since they help reduce the problems faced during manual data processing.

Automatic form input systems use different types of recognition methods such as optical character recognition (OCR) for machine print, optical mark reading (OMR) for check/mark sense boxes, bar code recognition (BCR) for barcodes, and intelligent character recognition (ICR) for hand print.