Robobraille: OCR In A Pinch

I don’t know why I’ve never written about this service, but better late than never.

More often than I’d like, I get a document that’s either unreadable because it’s a scanned image, semi-readable or readable if you have a million years and infinite patience. Usually, if I can put it through OCR, it can fix things up ok…but sometimes I don’t have access to OCR and still need the document. What to do then?

Well, thankfully there’s something out there called RoboBraille. Basically, you give it a document, tell it which format you would like, tell it where you want it sent, wait a couple minutes, and hey! A document!

What impressed me most about this is if it can, it will preserve the formatting of the original document. I don’t know how it does this in the case of some documents that seem to have been made out of partial images, but it does, in fact it did it yesterday. I had an invoice from Flight Centre that was an untagged PDF, that said something to the effect of graphic page 1
graphic page 2
graphic page 3
graphic page 4
etc. followed by some partial sentences that I couldn’t make sense of. But what I got back was a word document with beautifully formatted tables, and seemed perfectly complete…and I got it far quicker than I’d get it if a human was manually repairing it. I was impressed.

I know it hasn’t been perfect. I’ve sent grocery flyers and restaurant menus to it, and gotten back some incomprehensible gobbledygook, but at least it’s something else we can try.

Of course, you’re sending a document over the internet, so if you’re worried about prying eyes, keep that in mind.

But I definitely thought it was good to know about.

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