Do you need to scan a variety of documents from various sources? Do the originals contain some color, a little color or a lot of color affecting the form elements? Do you wonder what settings will produce the best quality? Or what is the best choice for scanning documents into your workflow?
These questions are asked every day by those responsible for scanning documents through their capture solution into a business process workflow or stored into a document management system. However, scanning settings are typically not viewed as an important part of the workflow since consultants and analyst focus on document categorization (IDR), capture settings, field location, whether to use ICR or OCR configurations, data validation, big data analysis and the end results.
So what about the scanning settings? By default, if it’s a basic paper document, most users simply click black-and-white and never give it a second thought. But with today’s fast computers with lots of storage, full color should be considered and here are 7 reasons why:
1. Color provides much higher quality rasterization for view ability in a document management system. After a document is stored for archival or future review, color enhances the user’s ability to review details and provides a rich experience as close to the original paper as possible
2. Color takes advantage of drop out features for capture recognition processes giving the OCR and/or ICR engine less data to deal with and better results. While the original color scan can be retained for archival purposes, the capture and recognition engine can take advantage of dropped color for better results
3. Kofax VRS is your best friend. Most if not all scanners have access to VRS as a built in feature, or possible add on, that can greatly enhance the scanners abilities. VRS provides extreme flexibility with regards to document cleanup and color is the key to getting the most from VRS
4. Conversion to binarization is greatly enhanced when the scanned document originates as color. Most capture solutions that perform OCR or ICR recognition convert images to binarization if the presented image is anything else. Color is much higher quality bringing richer capabilities during the binarization process versus original scans performed in two color tones from inception
5. Scanning in color has much greater degree of detail capture than simple black and white. Even gray scale has higher tonal values captured during scanning than black and white
6. Color settings will typically pick up much greater subtleties during the scanning process than black and white, such as full details on serif fonts, lines, shaded areas and especially hand printed data that may have been written by a colored pen (like red, blue, pink or a color that may not get picked up through black and white only). Even if the scanning process will not support an OCR or ICR recognition process from inception, having as much data as possible for future OCR/ICR processing will yield better results for when/if an OCR/ICR recognition engine is introduced
7. Scanners are optimized to capture the highest quality image possible, usually with a focus towards color. Black and white or gray scale is considered a lower quality adjunct and the binarization at the scanner is typically very generic versus what a capture solution can provide
When determining scanner settings for document capture, consider selecting color over black and white as it provides a richer, more vibrate and accurate set of documents for any workflow that may be introduced during capture or for future use
As the “paperless” office slowly becomes a reality, digital documents that retain their original color scheme, design and format provides many benefits over lower quality black and white images.