The Auto ID Book: Software


Bar Code Fonts
Most users are already familiar with True Type fonts. A few of the common ones are Times Roman, Courier, Arial, etc. Bar code fonts are now readily available with most of the common symbologies supported. These bar code fonts can be incorporated into nearly all Windows applications simply by changing the font selection.

With most bar code symbologies, a translation has to be performed by a software utility since there is not always a one-to-one correlation between a bar code symbology character and alphanumeric digit. Secondly, a bar code font utility isolates the user from having to know the technical specifications about a particular bar code (e.g. check digit calculation) and allows the user to be more productive. The specifications for each bar code symbology are available through several trade organizations, but are usually not needed for the typical end user. As an example, the Interleaved 2 of 5 symbology characters are in pairs (00,01,02,03, etc.). Simply changing the font, or "mapping" (00) into a single, bar code character is not possible without some type of translation. This is performed by a font utility. As another example, the Extended Code 39 symbology uses a "+" character before a capital letter ("+A") to represent a lower case letter ("a"). This character sequence is not intuitive without some prior knowledge of the Code 39 specification. A font utility also performs this operation automatically.

To display "1234" in a Code 39 bar code, "1234" was simply selected and changed to a Code 39 font:

Code 39 bar code font

Optical and Intelligent Character Recognition
OCR technology is predominantly used in payment processing applications found in most financial institutions, accounting departments, and at point of sale counters. These transaction readers scan relatively short character streams such as an account number at the bottom of a check. OCR is a proven and widely used technology but is slowly being replaced with new ICR applications.

Several hardware and software solutions exist for ICR applications that can convert either text or handwritten information. Handheld ICR readers can convert text into Windows based programs simply by striping a line of text. Several ICR applications can translate whole pages of text into computer-readable data. Some ICR applications even specialize in automatically scanning business cards into an easy-to-use address and phone database. The more advanced ICR applications store, manage, and find electronic information among directories or even whole volumes. Documents are scanned and easily accessed in this advanced document retrieval system.

OCR/ICR Software, IrisPen by L and H Software

Automated Fax Software
Software applications exists now to where forms that are faxed in can be transformed into computer-readable data. Automated fax software is a subset of OCR and ICR technology. Forms are generally created by the user using the manufacturer's software application and distributed to the customer. When the form is faxed in, it is recognized by the fax software and is typically exported directly into a specified data base. Optical Mark Recognition (fill in bubbles), Optical Character Recognition, handprint recognition, and image capture are usually supported in automated fax software applications.

Fax Software Teleform by Cardiff

In general, forms with no handprinting will recognize close to 100 percent of the time which is the typically configuration for most user's information gathering needs anyway. If handprinting is required, the lower recognition rate isn't likely to encumber the substantial savings in time and labor in any event.

Would you like to own a hard copy of this book? If so, please click here to request your free copy. Be sure to include your name, mailing address, and phone number to ensure prompt delivery.

Click here to return to the Table of Contents.

Glenn W. Lee