Intelligent character recognition (ICR) is the computer translation of manually entered text characters into machine-readable characters. In practice, characters are entered in a rough printed form from an I/O device, and the image of the captured data entry is then analyzed and translated into the machine-readable characters. ICR is similar to optical character recognition ( OCR ) and is sometime used in combination with OCR in form processing.
Before ICR and OCR technology, form processing was performed by data entry operators who read and then manually keyed in data from paper forms into electronic forms on a computer, which were of the same format as the paper forms. Data taken from paper forms included typewritten or computer-generated font s, handwritten characters, check boxes and bubbles, bar code s, and signatures. Today, form processing consists of scanner s, OCR and ICR technology, and forms processing software that automates this process and takes a fraction of the time with approximately 98% accuracy, the same achieved by data entry operators.