In simple terms, these electronic machines examine a piece of paper bit by tiny bit and determine whether that bit contains a color or white space. In a matter of seconds, the machine feeds a composite digital picture of the page to the host computer that can be displayed and manipulated in helpful ways.

In the large print production process, using the raw picture file may be possible. The picture file can be enlarged and manipulated to create a picture file that resembles a larger font. However, many times such manipulation leads to spacing and layout problems that are irresolvable until the text is exported through OCR Software. At that point, it can be imported into one of many word processors or desktop publisher programs to create the desired end result.

In braille production, translation software is unable to use the original file; so all files must be exported through an OCR package.

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