These days, it is not uncommon for a computer user to have a scanner attached to his or her PC. A scanner is a handy device because it allows you to take pages from a book, magazine, or article and transform them into an electronic document. These electronic documents can then be stored for later viewing, added to a presentation, or simply emailed to a friend.
The one problem with a scanner is that, by default, it turns everything it sees into a picture. This is obviously not a problem if you are scanning photographs or cartoons, but what if you are scanning text?
Since your computer views this text as one big picture, you are unable to modify it in any way (change the font, size, or layout). The solution to this dilemma is through the use of a specialty program which opens the picture, deciphers the text within it, and outputs this information into a text file (generally a pdf or Microsoft Word file). These types of programs are generally said to be able to provide Optical Character Recognition or OCR.