The I.R.I.S. Office Suite, an OCR package, is just another testament to the fact that optical character recognition is not an esoteric application. The ability to convert printed text to some word-processing document has become commonplace since scanners–and devices including multifunction peripherals (MFPs) that may also be used as scanners–have become so widely prevalent.
Most likely somewhere on the hard disk–or even in that pile of CD-ROMs that came with your scanner or MFP–you do have a copy of one of the most popular OCR packages, like TextBridge or OmniPage. I.R.I.S. Inc. is hoping that you’ll forgo by using these packages in support of its newest launch of I.R.I.S. Office Suite. The suite contains Readiris, the latest versions of I.R.I.S.’s OCR software for use with flatbed or sheet-fed scanners. Additionally, I.R.I.S. is sweetening the pie by including one of its new USB-interfaced IRISPen II pen scanners inside the box.
Installing the software and USB IRISPen II scanner takes only a few minutes; we were operational without the problems. Paper manuals are provided for the Readiris and Cardiris applications, and documentation for the IRISPen II is available online.
I.R.I.S. emphasizes that its Readiris OCR can accurately discern blue-colored text on the yellow background, a task challenging for most OCR packages. To examine this capability, we printed two test documents with identical text on a 1,200-dpi color laser printer. One document was made up of black text on white paper as well as the other had blue text on yellow paper. Both documents were scanned utilizing a Visioneer OneTouch flatbed scanner as well as the IRISPen II.
Readiris’s accuracy for both test documents was excellent, especially when scanned on the flatbed. Out of 2,535 characters on the page, there were only six recognition errors on the blue/yellow document and merely three recognition errors on the black/white document. These outcome was as precise just like any to have an OCR package we’ve seen. Accuracy on business card printing using Cardiris was a bit more variable and depended upon the layout in the card. Fancy and different cards tended to need a good amount of editing, though more-or-less standard card layouts were read with a high level of accuracy. Both Readiris Pro 6 and Cardiris 1.50 are available as separate products in addition to being packaged with Office Suite. The Readiris engine can recognize an unbelievable 56 languages, although you don’t need to install OCR support for many of these.
Utilizing the IRISPen II proved a bit more troublesome. As with most hand scanners, scanning straight across a line of text takes plenty of practice along with a steady hand. We got fairly proficient at it after about 20 or half an hour, but for the time being, accuracy suffered. With an upgrade through the Standard version from the software, offered with the workplace Suite, to the optional nnhwfn version, the IRISPen II may also read bar codes and offer text-to-speech capabilities, enabling you to proofread by listening for errors as you drag the pen across text. The true benefit from the IRISPen II is that you can easily enter figures from the document in to a spreadsheet.
The conclusion in determining the general worth of the I.R.I.S. Office Suite is whether or not you require the IRISPen II scanner. Cordless pen scanners require documents to become stored in memory but offer the cabability to operate untethered in a library or someplace else where you possibly will not want to take or utilize a PC or even a laptop. When you can do minus the mobility provided by standalone pen scanners, you should think about the IRISPen II and that i.R.I.S. Office Suite.