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Document Data Capture - Introduction
Document Data Capture - Introduction

Data is of paramount importance to businesses to function effectively and the use of it defines their success in this cut-throat competitive world. Any company dealing with data understands how laborious and time-consuming document data capture can be, and aspires to find suitable ways to resolve it. Modern technology seems to offer a viable solution to this problem and help businesses become more efficient and successful.

Table of Contents

What is Document Data Capture?

Documents can be structured or unstructured. While documents such as questionnaires, registration forms, claim forms, etc are structured, invoices, purchase orders, etc are considered semi-structured documents. Documents such as letters, contracts, emails, videos, images, etc are all termed unstructured documents.

What is Document Data Capture?
What is Document Data Capture?

Document data capture refers to the process of collecting relevant information from structured or unstructured documents and changing it into electronic data that can be used by machines to fulfill business needs.

With manual data capture consuming time, effort, and human resources, new-age technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have enabled businesses to use data capture solutions to tackle the problem.

Importance of Document Data Capture

The availability of physical data is a problem to many businesses especially when the data is complex and the volume is high. Apart from this, relevant data may have to be acquired from many different sources such as forms, receipts, emails, etc. This not only involves filing all paper documents but also involves segregating and classifying them for retrieval. Needless to say that human intervention can be error-prone and result in unforeseen delays.

Document data capture solutions can capture required data from many sources, format it, organize, and classify data to speed up content availability into integral business processes. By automating most manual data capture tasks, these solutions lower the margin of errors, reduce costs, and increase business efficiency.

Automated document data capture software makes information available to enable businesses to keep up with regulatory compliances, maintain information security, and also provide them with a competitive edge.

Achieve error-free AI-driven data capture from documents like invoices, receipts, driver's licenses, passports & more. Try Nanonets for free and automate document data capture.

Different Technologies Used for Document Data Capture

Various technologies are used to capture data from documents. The type of technology used is mostly based on the nature of the business. Some of the common technologies in use for data capture are:

OCR: Termed Optical Character Recognition (OCR), it is a popular technology used by many businesses. OCR uses a technique of document scanning data capture with pattern recognition at the crux of it. It can read any written text, whether typed or machine-printed from documents such as scanned forms, PDF files, emails, typed letters, or physical contracts. It is also capable of document imaging data capture that can turn any image into digitized data. OCR is widely used in healthcare, finance, and many other industries.

Document Data Capture Technologies
Document Data Capture Technologies

ICR: Intelligent Character Recognition technology is a superior form of OCR technology. It is the primary tool used to read handwritten documents such as letters, timesheets, registration forms, and more. The ICR technology is capable of recognizing varying handwritten fonts and styles that may be used by people. It is normally used in banks to capture and store customer information, and in organizations where physical timesheets are a common feature.

Document Data Capture - OCR & ICR
Document Data Capture - OCR & ICR

IDR: Intelligent Document Recognition is a broader and sophisticated technology. It is more sophisticated than OCR as it combines the power of AI and other technologies with OCR. It can capture small and specific data such as postal codes, tax amounts, date fields, etc. from both structured and unstructured documents. The biggest advantage of this technology is that it can diligently classify, extract, store, and retrieve data for instant availability. IDR is extensively used in insurance, mailrooms, finance, and legal sectors.

OMR: Known as Optical Mark Recognition (OMR), this is prevalently used in surveys, objective-type exams, questionnaires, assessments, or feedback forms. This technology works by recognizing colored black circles or checkmarks from such documents. It is very useful as it can save labor and time. OMR is used widely by educational institutions, companies engaged in market research, and hotels wanting to collect feedback from customers.

Barcodes: Often seen on most goods, the barcode technology, with simple black and white lines of varying length and spaces pack vast amounts of encoded information that need to be read by using a scanner. The advent of smartphones with inbuilt scanning tools has now made the technology easy and affordable without the need for a barcode scanner. Barcodes are plentifully used in most shopping outlets and on patient tags in healthcare. Enterprise content management systems (ECMs) facilitating document data capture through barcodes aid in easy information reading and processing. Automated document data capture software may use barcodes as identifiers to streamline the indexing process.

Document Data Capture - Barcodes
Document Data Capture - Barcodes

QR Codes: QR codes are a type of barcode but can contain more information compared to them. Numerous black squares and dots make up a QR code which can contain huge amounts of data for validation and retrieval. They are popularly used in many retail establishments and are a powerful tool used to pinpoint websites as part of marketing campaigns. QR codes can be used to capture data from documents securely. Automated systems search for QR codes in data and create a new document for that. With this document data capture can be carried out and sorted easily. PDF bookmarks can be created and documents can be identified using the right QR codes.

Magnetic Stripe/ Smart Cards: Magnetic stripe cards are used to capture, store, and retrieve electronic data from documents. They can capture specific, private, and secure information and are therefore commonly used in debit/ credit cards or access cards. Smart cards are more sophisticated and contain vast private information. They can be contactless and can retrieve personal data that may be used by shopping establishment cards, electronic passports, visa clearances, transport cards, and more.

Face Recognition: One of the advanced forms of document data capture, this technology securely captures a person’s photo that may be present in passports, ID cards, certificates, etc., and uses it for authorization. The technology uses image capture for getting required data and converts it into digital files for retrieval. It is mostly used at airports, banks, passport offices, and even on mobiles.

Document Data Capture - Face Recognition
Document Data Capture - Face Recognition

Achieve error-free AI-driven data capture from documents like invoices, receipts, driver's licenses, passports & more. Try Nanonets IDP for free and automate document data capture.

Steps in Document Data Capture

Most document data capture solutions follow a series of steps to ensure clear and complete availability of data to increase business efficiency. The steps involved are:

1. Importing documents: Documents first need to be imported into the document capture software. Most support PDF, XML, JPG files that can be imported for document processing.

2. Processing into a readable format: Once documents are imported, the document data capture software then scans and captures the required data. During this process, any grains or pixel disruption are taken care of to provide better image resolution to scanned documents.

3. Validating documents: Document capture solutions perform validation as the next step. They can check against set tolerances such as blurred or blank fields and route them for additional manual checking.

4. Classifying and indexing documents: The required documents must be sorted and indexed for easy extraction or retrieval. Document data capture software can classify documents by criteria such as document type and index documents accordingly. For example, purchase orders, invoices, good receipts, and so on can be set as document type and an index search of a particular supplier can help pull all related documents to that supplier.

5. Extraction and delivery of documents: Document data capture is not complete without extraction and delivery of required data. The system identifies metadata, which is useful for extracting documents from the database. Then, captured documents are moved into the repository and to designated locations for use.

Advantages of Document Data Capture

Document capture technologies help capture data from documents keeping them less prone to errors and reducing time and human efforts considerably. Very advanced ones facilitate the cognitive capture of data by mimicking human capabilities.

Following are some of the benefits of using document data capture:

  • Reduces unnecessary costs - By reducing manual labor effort and use of fewer paper, businesses can save on unnecessary expenditure. The use of automated solutions helps to lower operational overheads.
  • Time-saving - Document data capture software is a boon for companies as they provide big savings on a time-consuming process. Manual data capture can be laborious and time-consuming as well. Automation reduces the time taken to complete the entire process and helps save valuable time.
  • Improved accuracy - Advanced document data capture software use modern and accurate technologies that eliminate human error. Manual capture is error-prone as it is tedious and time-consuming. Automated capture solutions scan information, validate, and capture data with high accuracy, bringing about greater business efficiency.
  • Effortless document management - Automated data capture solutions can help capture limitless documents at remote or centralized locations without missing relevant information. This ensures documents are available at target systems quickly to boost business efficiency.
  • Reduces space issues - Physical documents require methodical filing and maintenance of all related documents for use. With automated solutions, the documents are all digitized and available in a central repository. Therefore it reduces the need for physical storage, and saves.
  • Wide document capability - Document data capture technologies such as OCR and ICR have inherent capability to work on all documents. They can scan, read, validate and capture data from different typefaces or handwritten documents. This gives businesses reliable data irrespective of the document type involved.
  • Increased efficiency - Since document data capture ensures clean and quick availability of data, it ensures improved efficiency and a smoother workflow process. Businesses can provide faster customer service that can result in good business growth and profitability.
  • Enhanced security - A centralized repository of captured documents not only makes it easy for sharing and retrieval but also ensures the safety of important documents. Businesses can rest assured that documents are secure from loss or damage. Also setting user permissions and restricted access prevents tampering or deletion of documents by unauthorized personnel.

Achieve error-free AI-driven data capture from documents like invoices, receipts, driver's licenses, passports & more. Try Nanonets for free and automate document data capture.

Digitized Document Data Capture with Nanonets

Nanonets is an excellent AI-based tool that offers easy and convenient document data capture. Its AI-powered intelligent document software recognizes and reads any kind of document, whether structured or unstructured. It possesses the capability to extract specific information, sorts it, and provide clear and useful data to help growing businesses achieve business efficiency.

Nanonets’ document understanding engine adapts easily to any document and facilitates manual checks where required to operate smarter and faster. The AI capability allows constant learning through which new documents are captured with high precision and accuracy, resulting in big savings in terms of time and human effort for organizations.

Explore Nanonets automated software for data capture and join numerous other companies who have benefitted from using Nanonets’ AI-powered solutions!


Document data capture is not new to businesses. But artificial intelligence and new technologies have transformed the way data capture is done, providing digitized access to documents. Businesses can use document data capture solutions to make documents secure and instantly accessible. These tools are game-changers and make data management error-free and easy for businesses today!