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A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR

Updated May 16, 2023
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OCR - Optical character recognition allows the detection of text within digital files. The scanned paper documents are always saved as image files by the computer. The data in these image files cannot be searched, edited, or saved in text format using a normal text editor or even using a word processing application. OCR processing helps convert these images to machine-readable text for further processing by its users.

In this modern era, the documents shared over the internet are in digital format and mostly in the form of PDFs or images. There are a bunch of online resources available which convert the image to text. However, most businesses require this functionality in their software applications. Keeping this in mind, there are many libraries that provide OCR solutions to be embedded in software applications.

In this article, we are going to compare two of the most popular OCR technologies for C#:

  • IronOCR
  • Iris OCR Software

Introduction

IronOCR

IronOCR for .NET is a C# library to scan, search and read images & PDFs. It takes an image or PDF file as input and uses the latest Tesseract 5 custom build .NET OCR engine to output text, structured data, or searchable PDF documents. Its Tesseract is available in 125+ languages along with cross-platform support in .NET Core, Standard, from 2.0 up to 7.

IronOCR is a user-friendly API that allows C# developers to convert Images to Text automatically, simply by using the IronTesseract class. It prioritizes speed, accuracy, and ease of use. It also aids Computer vision API to find text with a trained set of models.

Another powerful feature of IronOCR is that it can scan barcodes & QR codes from all image files and read their text. Other important features of IronOCR are listed below.

Features

  • International Languages: 125+ and custom Languages support with High and Fast Quality performance
  • Text and Barcode Reading: Read Text & Numbers from Multiple Languages at Once
  • Specialist Documents: Specifically read text from Receipts, Checks, Invoices
  • Read from Many Formats: Images (PNG, JPG, GIF, TIFF, BMP), System.Drawing Objects, Streams, and PDF documents (optimized target DPI)
  • Filters: Filter Wizard, Image Correction, Fix Image Orientation, Fix Image Colors
  • Simple Data Output: .NET Text Strings, Barcode, and QR Data, Images

Iris OCR Software

Iris OCR SDK is a modular software toolkit that enables your applications to convert image text into editable files and provide other text recognition services. It is the fastest professional OCR with high performance and accuracy. With Iris recognition technology, you get the most advanced techniques for optical character recognition which includes state-of-the-art scanning, AI-based document classification, data integrity, and data extraction.

Iris OCR is a feature-rich SDK that also provides powerful image-cleaning tools for image enhancement. It can be easily integrated with C++, C#, J#, and VB.NET software applications. IrisOCR provides long-term support and is designed to be used cross-platform. It also supports OEM and SaaS applications. Iris OCR helps businesses with a global solution with flexible prices.

Features

  • Input Formats: Image (JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF), PDF (image, text)
  • Pre-processing: Image Enhancement, Forms Cleanup, Perspective Correction, Quality Assessment
  • Text Recognition: Recognize text in 137+ different languages (European, Asian, Middle East, Form Specific)
  • Barcode Recognition: 1D and 2D Barcodes recognition (PDF417, QR code, Code 39, UPC, etc.)
  • Output Format: Office (DOCX, XLSX, PPT, RTF), PDF (Image or searchable PDF), Image formats (JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF), HTML, XML, TXT

Installation

Creating Visual Studio Project

In this tutorial, we are going to use Visual Studio 2022 latest version. So, I assume you have already downloaded and installed it for C#. If not, you can download it from the Visual Studio website.

Now, we need to create a console project to get started with both libraries. Follow the steps to create a project:

  • Open your Visual Studio 2022.
  • Click on Create a New Project.

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 1

  • Select C# Console Application from the given options and click Next

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 2

  • Configure your new project with a name and location. E.g. "OCRProject".

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 3

  • For additional information, select .NET 6.0 Framework as it is the most stable version.

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 4

  • Now, click Create and the project will be created in your specified location.

Installing IronOCR

There are multiple ways to install the IronOCR library.

1. Using Visual Studio NuGet Package Manager

NuGet is the package manager for downloading and installing dependencies in your project. Its packages contain compiled code (DLL) and the manifest file. Access it using the following method:

  • Click on the tools tab
  • Extend the NuGet Package Manager option
  • Click Manage NuGet Packages for Solutions

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 5

  • or, right-click Solution Explorer
  • Click Manage NuGet Packages

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 6

Now, the NuGet Package Manager window will open. Browse for IronOCR and click Install.

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 7

2. Download From NuGet Website

It can be downloaded directly from the NuGet official website.

  1. Click on the link: "".
  2. Click the download package option on the right-hand side of the page.
  3. Open the downloaded package and it will start installing.
  4. Finally, reload the solution, and it's done.

3. Download Using the IronOCR Web Page

Simply visit the Iron Software website and navigate to the IronOCR for the .NET webpage. Scroll to the bottom and click Download DLL or Download Windows installer.

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 8

A zip file is downloaded. Extract your project file or run the Windows installer. Follow the steps below to add it to your project.

  1. Right-click the dependencies of the project in Visual Studio from the solution explorer.
  2. Then, select the option Add Project Reference.
  3. Browse the downloaded DLL file location.
  4. Finally, click on OK to add a project reference.

4. Using Command Prompt in Visual Studio

  1. Navigate to the Tools tab in Visual Studio.
  2. Extend the NuGet Package Manager option.
  3. Select Package Manager Console and type the following command:

    Install-Package IronOcr

This will automatically download and install IronOCR in your project.

5. Adding Necessary IronOCR Namespaces

There is only one Namespace required and needs to be added on top of the source code file where we need to access its functions.

using IronOcr;
using IronOcr;
Imports IronOcr
VB   C#

Now, we are ready to use IronOCR in our project.

Installing Iris OCR

There are many ways to use Iris OCR. If you are looking for a small business or office solution, you can use the OCR app. The software can be downloaded from this link.

If you are finding mid-large business solutions, then you need to contact the Iris team to get a quote according to your needs. The SDKs and other documentation are only available for the registered customers. To use the SDK in a development environment, you need to request access using this form.

Here we are going to use Iris 17 OCR Software for comparison purposes. It provides all the functionalities at a base level and can be used in comparison to IronOCR. The following steps will help to download and install Iris OCR software:

  1. Once the software is downloaded, double-click to open the setup wizard.

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 9

  2. Click Next and choose the installation mode.
  3. Next, select the languages from which you want to read text from

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 10

  4. Click next and install Iris OCR

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 11

  5. Now the software will start installing. After installation click finish and open Iris OCR Software.

    A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 12

Everything done! Now let's move on to the comparison itself.

Comparison

1. Images to Text

Reading data from images is quite a tedious task. Images resolution and quality play an important role while extracting content. Both libraries provide optical character recognition functionality to extract text from images.

1.1. Using IronOCR

IronOCR makes it very easy for developers to read the contents of an image file with its powerful IronTessaract class. Here we will use a PNG image to read text from an image file and the code is as follows:


    var OCR = new IronTesseract();
    using (var Input = new OcrInput()){
        Input.AddImage("test-files/employmentapp.png");
        var Result = OCR.Read(Input);
        Console.WriteLine(Result.Text);
    }

    var OCR = new IronTesseract();
    using (var Input = new OcrInput()){
        Input.AddImage("test-files/employmentapp.png");
        var Result = OCR.Read(Input);
        Console.WriteLine(Result.Text);
    }
Dim OCR = New IronTesseract()
	Using Input = New OcrInput()
		Input.AddImage("test-files/employmentapp.png")
		Dim Result = OCR.Read(Input)
		Console.WriteLine(Result.Text)
	End Using
VB   C#
INPUT IMAGE

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 13

OUTPUT

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 14 - Image Output

The output of IronOCR matches the original image given to it. The code is clean and easy to understand without any technicalities.

1.2. Using Iris OCR

Iris OCR software allows all your paper documents to be scanned and used for text recognition. Text extraction is very simple using Iris OCR technology. Select an image file from the "From File" in the Home menu tab. The same image is used to test and compare the outputs of the two software.

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 15

You can apply image correction to the uploaded image. In the output file tab, you can choose any format as your output. It provides multiple output formats like Word, Excel, PDF, text files, etc. Simply save the file in any format and open it for viewing the extracted text.

OUTPUT

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 16

You can see that there is a clear difference in the output of the two software. IronOCR extracted the exact text from the image along with the formatting. Whereas, Iris OCR preserved the formatting but the full name and phone number are messed up.

2. Barcode and QR code to Text

2.1. USING IronOCR

IronOCR provides a unique and useful feature while reading images i.e. it can read barcodes and QR codes. It can detect barcodes and display their value with ease.

To do so, set the read barcode configuration to true and then iterate through each of the barcodes in the OCR results. The code for reading barcodes is given below:


    var OCR = new IronTesseract();
    OCR.Configuration.ReadBarCodes = true;
    using (var input = new OcrInput()){   
        input.AddImage("test-files/Barcode.png");   
        var Result = OCR.Read(input);   
        foreach (var Barcode in Result.Barcodes){
                Console.WriteLine(Barcode.Value);
        }
    }

    var OCR = new IronTesseract();
    OCR.Configuration.ReadBarCodes = true;
    using (var input = new OcrInput()){   
        input.AddImage("test-files/Barcode.png");   
        var Result = OCR.Read(input);   
        foreach (var Barcode in Result.Barcodes){
                Console.WriteLine(Barcode.Value);
        }
    }
Dim OCR = New IronTesseract()
	OCR.Configuration.ReadBarCodes = True
	Using input = New OcrInput()
		input.AddImage("test-files/Barcode.png")
		Dim Result = OCR.Read(input)
		For Each Barcode In Result.Barcodes
				Console.WriteLine(Barcode.Value)
		Next Barcode
	End Using
VB   C#
INPUT IMAGE

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 17

OUTPUT

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 18

All three barcodes in the input image are read successfully, and their hidden text is displayed.

2.2. USING IRIS OCR

Iris OCR also provides the facility to extract the barcode data from images or PDF files. However, for barcodes, we have to manually select the barcode area to be detected. Move to the zones tab and select the barcode to get recognized.

Right-click the selected region and copy it as data, then save it in a word processing file to view the data.

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 19

In this case, Iris OCR software is not able to detect the hidden text behind the barcodes given in the picture.

3. PDF to Text

3.1. Using IronOCR

Reading PDF files is as easy as reading images file in IronOCR. You only need to change the AddImage method to AddPDF in the image reading code. The code goes as follows:


    var OCR = new IronTesseract();
    using (var Input = new OcrInput()){
        Input.AddPdf("test-files/example.pdf");
        var Result = OCR.Read(Input);
        Console.WriteLine(Result.Text);
    }

    var OCR = new IronTesseract();
    using (var Input = new OcrInput()){
        Input.AddPdf("test-files/example.pdf");
        var Result = OCR.Read(Input);
        Console.WriteLine(Result.Text);
    }
Dim OCR = New IronTesseract()
	Using Input = New OcrInput()
		Input.AddPdf("test-files/example.pdf")
		Dim Result = OCR.Read(Input)
		Console.WriteLine(Result.Text)
	End Using
VB   C#
OUTPUT

The extracted text is in the same formatting as the PDF file.

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 20

3.2. USING IRIS OCR

Reading PDF files is also very easy using Iris software. It supports all digital formats and PDF is one of them. You can also make searchable formats using Iris OCR software. PDF is a paper document and every page is treated as a separate image file. Open paper documents using From File option. Select the page range which you want to extract text from and save it in any editable format of your choice from the given options.

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 21

OUTPUT

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 22

Licensing

IronOCR is free for development purposes, but it needs to be licensed for commercial use. It also provides a free trial to test all its potential for your needs. The lite package starts from $599 with a 30-day money-back guarantee. IronOCR provides 1 year of product support and updates for free and then $399 a year after. All licenses are perpetual, meaning only one-time purchases and no hidden charges. You can also choose royalty-free redistribution coverage for SaaS and OEM products for just a $1999 single-time purchase. For more info on license packages and pricing plans please visit here.

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 23

Iris is an OCR solution with 10 days free version available as a trial. It pro-version starts from $99 and cooperate version starts from $199. To use its SDK in production mode we need to get a quote from their sales representative. If you want to license it for C# or any other language development then get a quote from here. More information and comparison between the pro and cooperate versions can be checked here.

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 24

Conclusion

A Comparison Between OCR Software By Iris & IronOCR: Figure 25

IronOCR provides C# developers with the most advanced Tesseract API we know of, on any platform. IronOCR can be deployed on Windows, Linux, Mac, Azure, AWS, and Lambda, and supports .NET Framework projects as well as .NET Standard and .NET Core. We can also read barcodes in OCR scans, and even export our OCR as HTML and searchable PDFs.

Iris OCR software is built with AI capabilities and is compatible with Windows and Mac. Its SDK is available for multiple programming languages. Iris Pro comes with the capabilities of the Iris OCR SDK for Windows and Mac as a GUI application. You can read text from images, and PDFs and output them in other formats. You can also customize all your paper documents using Iris software with just a few clicks.

IronOCR licenses are developer-based, which means you should always purchase a license based on the number of developers who will use the product. Iris OCR development licenses are not published on the Iris website. You have to request a quote for licensing information. Moreover, the IronOCR license is a one-time purchase, and it can be used for a lifetime.

Overall, both the software provides almost all OCR functionality with AI technology but IronOCR has a slight advantage over Iris OCR. In terms of speed, accuracy, and overall performance, IronOCR is better in a production environment. It just uses a few lines of code to make a high-level text recognition application. The API documentation is also available 24/7 which makes developers love this library and make it the first choice in OCR solutions. You can test its full functionality with a free trial.

Now, you can buy 5 iron products at the price of 2. For more information visit this link.

Download IronOCR from here and give it a try.

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