OmniPage Pro: A Basic HelpsheetElectronic Text Center
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904
Note: This help sheet has been updated for use with OmniPage Pro version 12.
One brand of OCR software we use in the Electronic Text Center is OmniPage Pro. This software provides a wide range of options, including the ability to learn new characters, to scan only parts of documents ("Manual Zones"), to spell-check, to recognize most European character sets, and to save the resulting text in a variety of popular word-processing formats.
The OmniPage desktop
The OmniPage desktop consists of several toolbars and a viewing area divided into two windows:
- The left window, labeled the "Image Panel," is further subdivided into two parts. The first displays thumbnail images of each page scanned into a given file. Maneuver through the pages in your file by clicking on the appropriate thumbnail. The second part of this window displays an image of the page currently selected and any zones within it that have been defined.
- The right window, labeled the "Text Editor," displays the results of the OCR process as a word-processor document that may be manually corrected.
You can adjust the size and display of the viewing panels by selecting options from the View drop-down menu. Or, simply move the cursor over the grey divider bar between the "Image Panel" and "Text Editor"; the pointer will change to a double arrow. Click, hold, and drag to adjust the size of the windows.
Quick Help: Using OCR Wizard
For most OCR work, a few basic default OmniPage settings will produce satisfactory results. If the original document contains clear, readable text (such as a printed book or output from a laser printer), is arranged in a standard single or multi-column format, and features a typeface approximately 8 pt. or larger, use the completely automated process or OCR Wizard.
For a completely automated OCR experience select the first large process button, labeled "Start/Stop Automatic Processing." No further user input is required if this option is selected.
To be led through the OCR process with automated help, select the process button labeled "OCR Wizard"
OmniPage's OCR Wizard will take you through the scanning process step-by-step, prompting you to answer several questions about your document:
- What document do you want to process?
- Select "Paper document in my scanner"
- If your document is relatively clear, choose "Scan in Black-and-White.", If you suspect the OCR program will encounter more challenging text, though, choose "Scan in Grayscale" as this will preserve more textual information for OmniPage to draw upon.
- What does your original document look like?
- Select the appropriate option
- What languages does your document contain?
- Select the appropriate option
- Do you want to proofread finished text before exporting your document?
- Select "No" for most texts.
- Do you want to apply IntelliTrain?
- Select "Yes" for most texts.
- How do you want to export your document?
- Select "Save to Disk"
After choosing the appropriate settings, place the document face down on the glass of the flatbed scanner, aligned in the upper right corner.
- Click on "OK" to scan the image.
After OmniPage has scanned and recognized this page, it will ask
you to choose a filename and format for your document.
To scan more pages, repeat the above process.
- Be sure that you save your files ONLY in C:\data
- Select a file format, and name your file
- Select "Create One File for All Pages"
- Click "OK"
Using the Process Buttons (controlling OmniPage manually)
For more control over the OCR process, you can forego the OCR Wizard and conduct the OCR process manually, using the large process buttons.
There are three main steps in the OCR process: scanning, drawing zones, and character recognition.
Scanning: Under the second process button, select Scan B&W for simple OCR projects or Scan Grayscale if the document contains more challenging text. Place your text on the scanner bed, and click the button with the scanner icon labeled "Get Page(s)." The scanner will scan the page; a progress bar near the bottom of the screen indicates the progress. When the scan is complete, OmniPage will display a thumbnail image of the page in the leftmost panel and a larger page image in the center panel.
Drawing zones: In the center panel, draw a box (or multiple boxes) around those parts of the text that you wish to scan. The boxes, or "zones," will be numbered in the order in which you draw them, so draw your zones in the order in which you want text to appear. A zone can be resized by clicking and dragging in one of the four corners. If you want to get rid of a zone you've drawn, click once inside that zone and choose Clear from the Edit menu.
Character recognition: After you've drawn the zone(s), go to the third process button (the one with the eyeglasses icon) and select Automatic from the drop-down menu. Then click this button. OmniPage will attempt to recognize each letter of text (thus the term "optical character recognition") within the zones you drew in the previous step. A progress bar near the bottom of the screen indicates the progress. When the recognition process is complete, OmniPage will display the text in the right window. Text that OmniPage suspects might contain an error is displayed in green. Text that OmniPage knows is wrong is displayed in red.
You can edit the text in the right window at this stage, or you can save the text to a file and edit it later in a word processor.
Once you have begun scanning it's wise to save your work every ten
pages or so.
- Select "Save as" from the File menu. (Alternatively, go to the fourth, rightmost process button and select Save As File, and then click that button.)
- Be sure that you save only in C:\data.
- Select "Create one file for all pages", so that each time you save during scanning, OmniPage saves the complete file and not simply what you scanned since the last save, eliminating the need to juggle multiple files.
- Select a file type. You have the option of saving the file in a wide range of word-processing formats (WordPerfect, MS Word, etc.), as well as in ASCII. OmniPage will often "over-format" a text, that is, it will often attempt to create exactly the look of the printed page and as a consequence fill the output document with word processing codes (especially if you've selected "True Page--Retain all Page Formatting" in the OCR settings panel). Rich Text Format (RTF) seems to be a good format for saving your scanned text; it will maintain bold, italics, and some fonts, but is readable by all word processors.
- Click "OK"
Training OmniPage to Recognize Special Characters
A useful OmniPage feature is the ability to train the program to recognize special characters, such as ligatures or the Middle English thorn and yogh, that it would otherwise miss. This feature can be helpful in reducing the error rate even if your text does not contain special characters, since certain standard characters resemble each other, such as capital letter O and numeral zero, etc.
- The training feature can be automated by enabling IntelliTrain in the OCR wizard or from the "Select Process Settings" option in the Process menu at the top of the screen (see the explanation of OmniPage's settings below for more information). No further user input is needed once this option has been chosen.
- Alternately, the training process can be handled manually.
- First, scan the page by clicking the button labeled "Get Page(s)," and then draw the zones around those parts of the page you want to be recognized. Finally, initiate the OCR process by selecting the button labeled "Perform OCR."
- From the Tools menu, choose "Training Files...". If you have a preexisting training file choose it from the list that appears. Otherwise, make certain "none" is highlighted and press the "Set as Current" button if it is enabled. This will prepare OmniPage to create a new training file.
- Right-click on the mistranscribed characters in the "Text Editor" window. A dialogue box will appear with close-up images of the relevant character as well as a suggested transcription. Enter your preferred transcription in the data field entitled "Correct" and press the "Train" button to apply that change to the entire document. (Note: You can also specify a string of characters by highlighting them and right-clicking as described above: e.g., an HTML code, such as & for every ampersand.)
- When you are finished training, reselect the "Training Files..." option from the Tools menu and click "save."
- In all subsequent scanning, OmniPage will recognize text using this training file until you select either a new current training file or "none."
A More Detailed Explanation of OmniPage's Settings
For maximum control over the OCR process, you may adjust the process settings manually.
From the Process drop-down menu, choose "Select Process Settings". A dialogue box labeled "Options" will appear, containing seven panels:
- "Languages in document" allows one to identify each language found in the document to be scanned.
- "User Dictionary" allows one to access preexisting, custom dictionaries for spell-checking functions.
- "Professional Dictionaries" enables a set of technical dictionaries preloaded into the OmniPage software.
- "Reject Character" allows the user to define the character (by default a tilde) used by the OCR software when it cannot recognize the text.
- "Font Matching" allows the user to predetermine what fonts installed on his computer he would like to make available to the OCR software.
- "Page Description" has options for paper size (letter, legal, etc.) and orientation (portrait or landscape).
- "ADF" determines settings for an Automatic Document Feeder, if you are using one.
- "Flatbed" has an option to automate scanning by setting a constant interval between scans.
- Brightness and contrast within scans can also be modified from this panel.
- Direct OCR
- Direct OCR is a feature with which OCR capability can be imported into other applications, such as word processors. We recommend that you ignore this option. It does not apply to the use of the OmniPage application itself.
- Process contains menu options duplicated on the process buttons (the row of large buttons near the top of the window).
- The options under the heading, "When bringing in a new image," give users control over the order in which scanned items are arranged.
- Several other general options, mostly pertaining to automation and OCR defaults, are also available here.
- Proofing contains menu options to enable automatic proofreading and character training.
- Besides simply turning spell-check and training functions on and off, users can select a preexisting training file from this panel (See the description of OCR training above).
- Custom Layout includes options for dealing with tables and graphics.
- The options found here are slightly more detailed versions of those found beneath the OCR process button entitled "Perform OCR."
- Text Editor includes a handful of options for displaying the results of OCR processes such as whether lines will be wrapped.