Recommendations for a hand-held OCR scanner?
February 8, 2005 8:23 AM   Subscribe

I need a simple hand held scanner that will scan text and allow the scanned text to be converted to something that can be imported into Excel or a database as text. Any suggestions?

Cost is no real problem. What's more important is that it be hand held and whatever gets scanned can be manipulated as text. I am trying to create a database of competitor information that I can scan out of brochures rather than hiring a temp or someone to hand type all of this stuff.
posted by spicynuts to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I know that a pen-style scanner exists. A quick google search turns up a couple of options, including some that you can get via Amazon. All you needed was the correct search term! Hope this helps...
posted by mireille at 8:34 AM on February 8, 2005

Here's another option. It's not a qualified suggestion, as I've never used a handheld scanner. From a few OCR projects I worked on, I remember that the OCR software was the number one priority for quality ouput; with handheld scanners, I'm guessing a few other variables come into play.
posted by bachelor#3 at 9:16 AM on February 8, 2005

You could check eBay for Hp's CapShare 920; though discountinued, it can run under XP without any problems.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:18 AM on February 8, 2005

I've done my share of OCR-vs-hand-entry wrangling.

Hand-entry won, hands down.

Have you done due diligence on data entry? Gotten bids or rates? Compared to OCR hassle (your time, hassle, fiddlery, review of scanned data) it's NOT expensive.

Elance and have scads of cheap data-entry folks, especially the overseas ones.

If you've seriously evaluated data-entry, and you're instead attempting the OCR route, try Omnipage Pro Office: it has a feature where it tries to understand the structure of a page (including tabular data vs text). Maybe it'll work for you.
posted by Moistener at 4:09 PM on February 8, 2005

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