All data could be input to a computer using a keyboard, but this would often be a slow process, and mistakes would be made.

Sometimes speed and accuracy is required...

MICR Reader

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is a technology that allows details from bank cheques to be read into a computer quickly and accurately.

The cheque number and bank account number are printed at the bottom of each bank cheque in special magnetic ink using a special font. These numbers can be detected by an MICR reader.

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OMR Scanner

Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) is a technology that allows the data from a multiple-choice type form to be read quickly and accurately into a computer.

Special OMR forms are used which have spaces that can be coloured in (usually using a pencil). These marks can then be detected by an OMR scanner.

Common uses of OMR are multiple-choice exam answer sheets and lottery number forms.
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OCR Scanner

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a software technology that can convert images of text into an actual text file that can then be edited (e.g. using word-processing software). The result is just as if the text had been typed in by hand.

OCR is typically used after a page of a book has been scanned. The scanned image of the page is then analysed by the OCR software which looks for recognisable letter shapes and generates a matching text file.

Advanced OCR software can recognise normal handwriting as well as printed text - this is usually called handwriting recognition.
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Barcode Reader / Scanner

A barcode is simply a numeric code represented as a series of lines.

These lines can be read by a barcode reader/scanner.

The most common use of barcode readers is at Point-of-Sale (POS) in a shop. The code for each item to be purchased needs to be entered into the computer. Reading the barcode is far quicker and more accurate than typing in each code using a keypad.

Barcode can be found on many other items that have numeric codes which have to be read quickly and accurately - for example ID cards.
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