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Printing specifications for Optical Character Recognition

2nd edition, August 1975

This standard contains the basic definitions, measurement requirements, specifications and recommendations for OCR paper and print. It applies to the Standards ECMA-8 (Nominal character dimensions of the numeric OCR-A font) and ECMA-11 (Alphanumeric character set OCR-B for optical recognition). Three major parameters of a printed document for OCR media are covered. These are:

i) The optical properties of the paper to be used.

ii) The optical and dimensional properties of the ink patterns forming OCR characters.

iii) The basic requirement related to the position of OCR characters on the paper.

The major factors of each of these areas pertinent to OCR are identified. Definitions of these items are given and bases for measurements are established.

Basic specifications applicable to all OCR materials are imposed and recommendations for the implementation of an OCR system are made. The positioning of OCR characters on documents is specified in the following ECMA Standards:

  • ECMA-18 – Printing line position on single line documents
  • ECMA-21 – Character positioning on OCR journal tape


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Technical CommitteeTC4 (this TC is no longer active)