Optical Mark Recognition

What Does Optical Mark Recognition Mean?

Optical mark recognition (OMR) is an electronic method of gathering human-handled data by identifying certain markings on a document. Usually the optical mark recognition process is achieved with the aid of a scanner that checks the transmission or reflection of light through the paper; places having markings will reflect less light than the blank paper, resulting in less contrasting reflectivity.


Optical mark recognition is also known as optical mark reading or, more commonly, by the brand name Scantron.

Techopedia Explains Optical Mark Recognition

Optical mark recognition technology extracts useful data from marked fields such as fill-in fields and checkboxes very quickly and with great accuracy. The most common use of OMR is in offices, academics and research departments where large numbers of hand-filled documents must be processed such as surveys, questionnaires, exams, reply cards and ballots. OMR can handle hundreds of thousands of physical documents per hour, and its accuracy is up to 99%. A common example is the use of standardized forms in schools where students have to fill in a predefined mark on the sheet, serving as a mark for the optical mark recognition algorithm.


Related Terms

Latest Data Management Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…