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OCR Options

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OCR Options

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RelayFax is equipped with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology that can be used to route incoming faxes based upon their content rather than just the sender's fax ID or the port on which faxes arrive. RelayFax's OCR engine will scan the incoming fax and recognize any typewritten text that it contains. Using the OCR options and Inbound Fax Rules, you can configure RelayFax to route faxes automatically based on names and email addresses it finds, and you can search for specific text and then route faxes based upon the results of the search.

The OCR Options pane is used to configure the various options associated with RelayFax's OCR capabilities. You can specify the number of pages that will be read, the language that you want OCR to recognize, whether or not you want the OCR files to be saved and the format in which to save them, and whether or not RelayFax should automatically route the fax to your users when if finds one of their names in the fax.

Document recognition is not just limited to incoming faxes. You can also recognize a document manually by clicking "File»Recognize..." and then specifying both the file that you want to be recognized and the format in which you want it to be saved.

OCR is only effective for typewritten documents; it cannot recognize handwriting.

OCR engine status

RelayFax's OCR engine is supplied as a plug-in module. If you have not yet installed it then this section will contain a message informing you that it needs to be installed. It also contains a hyperlink to the RelayFax web site from which the module can be downloaded. If the OCR module is not installed then the controls below this section will be dimmed. They will not be accessible until it is installed.

OCR options

OCR all inbound faxes

Click this check box if you want to OCR scan all incoming faxes.

Include OCR text in email body

Click this check box if you want to include the resulting text of OCR scans in the body of email messages. This option is independent of the $ATTACHOCRFILE$ macro if you are using this option and that macro, the OCR files will still be attached to the email.

Restrict OCR recognition to the first [xx] faxed pages only

By default, only the first page of incoming faxes will be recognized. If you want RelayFax to recognize more than the first page then you can use this control to specify an alternate number. If you want all pages to be recognized then enter "0".

OCR recognizes documents written in...

There are several languages that the OCR engine is capable of recognizing. From the drop-down list box choose the language that you want it to look for when recognizing the documents.

Save OCR work files in this format...

By default, the results of the OCR process will be used for routing purposes and then deleted. However, RelayFax provides the option to save these files for your use. This is a highly useful feature because the files can be saved in the most commonly used document formats, including: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, WordPerfect, Adobe Acrobat, HTML, Lotus, plain text, text with line breaks, and others. If you want to save these files then click this checkbox and choose the desired format from the drop-down list box. Each file will be saved in RelayFax's \Faxfile\ subfolder along with the TIFF file with which it is associated. OCR files will be saved with the extension ".ocr" regardless of the format in which they were saved. Some software products may not support files without certain file extensions, so in some cases it may be necessary to rename the *.ocr file before it can be viewed by your product. When you have configured a rule to email an OCR document to someone, the file extension will be renamed to match the appropriate document format. Manually recognizing a document (File»Recognize...) will cause it to be saved with the chosen format's file extension as well.

OCR technology isn't perfect. Characters with similar shapes, unusual fonts, or fuzzy or unclear text may cause some mistakes in the documents resulting from the OCR process. However, in most cases only a moderate amount of editing will be required to correct these mistakes.

Automatically route faxes to known email addresses (known accounts)

Click this option if you want RelayFax to automatically route incoming faxes to your users when the OCR engine finds an account holder's real name in a document. For example, if Frank Thomas had a fax account on your RelayFax server, enabling this option would cause any fax containing "Frank Thomas" to be routed to him automatically without the need to create a specific fax rule to do so.

Automatically route faxes to unknown email addresses

When this switch is enabled, the OCR engine will scan the fax for the first email address that it contains and then automatically route the fax to that address, even if it is otherwise unknown to RelayFax (not a known account). RelayFax will use Regular Expression Matching to determine what portion of the recognized text constitutes an email address. The Regular Expression syntax that RelayFax uses to extract addresses is located in the RelayFax.ini file and appears as follows:

[OCR]

LinePattern=[Tt][Oo]?:[a-zA-Z0-9\.]+@[a-zA-Z0-9\.]+

EmailPattern=[a-zA-Z0-9\.]+@[a-zA-Z0-9\.]+

RelayFax first uses LinePattern= to extract the line that contains an email address.  Then the address is extracted from that line by using EmailPattern=, which almost assures a reliable result. If you need to adjust either of these values due to your particular situation, you can easily do so by editing their corresponding INI entries.

Enabling this feature will in effect cause RelayFax to become an open fax gateway for any user. That is, of course, the goal of this feature, but it may violate your local network policy.