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Can you use a scanner to produce a Word document?

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Quick Answer

You can use a scanner to generate digital images of physical paper documents, and these images can be processed by optical character recognition software to produce Microsoft Word documents. Optical character recognition packages, such as the Microsoft Office Document Imaging tool, transform scanned images into Word documents.

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Full Answer

To produce a Microsoft Word document, a scanner must first create a digital image of a scanned paper document. The resulting image is then fed into an optical character recognizer that identifies the characters in the scanned image, producing text that is then inserted into a Word document.

There are many optical character recognition packages available. Printer vendors sometimes include them with printers; for example, HP includes Readiris Pro OCR with some of its scanners. As of 2015, Web-based tools such as OnlineOCR.net have also become popular.

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