Recovering an old Christmas card list

Over time, we can easily lose the files that hold valuable personal data. Recently, one of our customers had lost their data file with all their addresses in. What they did have was an old printout of their Christmas list with many scribbles, annotations and crossings-out.

The good news, is that a technology called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is designed to analyse scanned documents or photos and restore them to their structured form accurately.

Unsurprisingly, all OCR software and services have different strengths and weaknesses. Right now, the best app to use to scan documents into Microsoft Excel format is… the Excel app on either Android or iPhone. Oddly, the Windows version of the app doesn’t have the same capability.

We photographed and processed several pages of addresses, and now it’s a simple process of typing up the handwritten changes. Christmas came early in July for this happy customer.

If you’re interested in more detail, this is an excellent article on the subject.

Stuart

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