Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) software


Optical mark recognition (OMR in short) is a process to identify and extract data from paper forms by analyzing marked fields such as checkboxes or "bubble" fields. Optical mark recognition dates back to the 1930s where it was first used for test scoring. The software and techniques used for data processing are much improved nowadays and the accuracy and error handling is much better.

The fields may be filled-in, ticked or marked-in to record an answer. Often optical mark recognition is used with other recognition technologies (OCR, ICR, HTR, and others) that allow recording and recognizing data in other formats such as text, handwritten text, machine-printed text, numbers.

Where is Optical Mark Recognition used?

Optical mark recognition is widely used in business, education, and research. The forms with optical mark recognition can be used for surveys, tests, quizzes, application forms, evaluations and many other types of forms. Take a look of sample forms generated with papersurvey.io software:

How to get started?

Are you looking for a quick and easy way to start a project with optical mark recognition? You may register on our platform and create your first form online right now.

Once you feel it is ready, just print it, ask your respondents to answer and upload the scanned sheets to our platform. The generated surveys are automatically optimized for reading the data and you do not need to worry whether your survey layout is suitable for machine recognition.

How easy it is to use it?

Setting up paper form with optical mark recognition is easy, fast and does not require. Using our online survey designer you may implement your survey design and get a printable PDF file that you can send to a printing department.

Once you have the forms printed and filled in, you may scan them via

Different Recognition modes

Using our paper survey software you are able to choose from two recognition modes:

  • Check or fill the box to respond
    • Using this recognition mode both filled-in and checked fields will be recognized as an answer
    • There is no way to unmark the answer if a person made a mistake, therefore, this mode is not suitable in exam conditions.
  • Check to respond, fill to unmark
    • The checked box will be recognized as an answer.
    • Filled in teh box will unmark the response, allowing you to choose a correct answer.

Handwritten text recognition

Additionally, you may add open response fields to your questionnaire. The handwritten text will be automatically read by our software (handwritten text recognition).

Other recognition types

Several other recognition methods include:

  • OCR (Optical character recognition)
    • Optical character recognition is used to recognize the machine-printed text. It will not read the handwritten text correctly.
    • This is best if you are inserting text before printing the forms.
    • Machine-printed text is much easier to read than OCR.
  • ICR (Intelligent character recognition)
    • This type of software allows reading handwritten characters. The software can only process one character at the time and requires training to match. ICR is most often used
  • HTR (Handwritten text recognition) / HWR (Handwriting recognition)
    • The technology to read handwritten responses. The software uses machine learning techniques to recognize the handwritten text. The software is usually trained on millions of labeled handwritten text samples.
    • As some handwriting is difficult to read, you will require to

You may choose to use any recognition technology above to read the answer. By default, handwritten text recognition is used to read the text responses.

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