IDRC - Celebrating 25 Years

1993 - 2018

Continuing Our Work During COVID-19

Read the letter regarding COVID-19 by IDRC Director, Jutta Treviranus.

Supports for complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

How do I make my web site accessible? How do I make my office documents accessible? How do I make information available in alternative formats? Businesses and organizations read our AODA Help.

RT @CoLabCoOp: What better way to spend your Thursday than with @Benetech @idrc_ocadu and us? Exploring how to shift power in tech through…
FluidProject RT @colinbdclark: Join us at the PPIG 2020 workshop hosted by @idrc_ocadu in Toronto to explore the margins of programming. Who has agency…

an image of computer with a scannerIndex

This list of products is for reference purposes only and does not reflect endorsement by the IDRC.


Optical character recognition (OCR) is the process of converting an image of text, such as a scanned paper document or electronic fax file, into computer-editable text. The text in an image is not editable: the letters are made of tiny dots (pixels) that together form a picture of text. During OCR, the software analyzes an image and converts the pictures of the characters to editable text based on the patterns of the pixels in the image. After OCR, you can export the converted text and use it with a variety of word-processing, page layout and spreadsheet applications. OCR also enables screen readers and refreshable braille displays to read the text contained in images.

Points to ponder - Questions to consider when shopping for an optical character recognition device

  • Is it compatible with your computer's platform?
  • Do you require screen reading capabilities in addition to the OCR?
  • Do you require a handheld pen scanner, as opposed to a flatbed scanner?
  • Do you require Braille output?


This list of products is for reference purposes only and does not reflect endorsement by the ATRC.

Traditional OCR equipment

Non-Roman Language OCR equipment

Commercial OCR equipment

Alternative Scanning Devices

  • Optical Braille Recognition (OBR) software enables the user to scan text and output (print) the text to braille - for windows based systems.
  • The C Pen from C Technologies is a handheld scanner pen that scans text line by line and has the ability to perform OCR functions - for windows based systems.
  • Reading Pen and Quicktionary which include text to speech speech engines, (QuickLink Pen Elite can scan English, German, Swedish, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French) and InfoScan which has a larger storage capacity, are handheld scanner pens available from Wizcom Technologies - for windows-based systems.


A series of tutorials is available for Kurzweil 3000.

eText Resources