Optical Mark Recognition (OMR)

What is Optical Mark Recognition?

Optical Mark Recognition, in the form of Software on your pc or laptop, or as a scanner reader machine, is used for automatically detecting and recording people’s hand marked responses to Multiple Choice Questions, answered by filling in checkbox bubbles on a paper form.

The types of paper forms which are automatically marked with Optical Mark Recognition, are lickert scale surveys, conference evaluations, multiple choice question exams, tests and assessments, quality control checklists, patient assessments and healthcare surveys. These are all forms that use checkboxe bubbles to collect people’s responses to questions or statements.

The checkbox bubbles are shaded in by the form respondents with a dark pen or pencil.

Optical Mark Recognition

Image: How Optical Mark Recognition views the scanned OMR sheet.

Optical Mark Recognition automatically detects the checkboxes on a scanned image, and using algorithms that compare black and white pixels, determines if they are filled in.

OMR captures and stores the marked data as checkbox value data (such as A,B,C,D which is easily exported to a spreadsheet or other management software for futher analysis.

This is a very fast process, up to 30 sheets per minute, delivering immediate results for surveys, tests, assessments and checkbox questionaires.

Specially designed paper forms, called OMR sheets, which can be recognized by optical mark recognition are distributed to people and scanned to collect filled in checkbox response marks in answer to statements and closed end questions from single or multiple choice checkbox responses.

A scanned OMR sheet opened in Optical Mark Recognition Software showing the detected mark value data of filled checkboxes (A,B,C,D etc.) The form images and the captured checkbox values are stored in the software and easily transferred to a spreadsheet or other external management software.

Optical Mark Recognition Software

Optical Mark Recognition software, abbreviated to OMR software, is computer software that reads scanned OMR sheets, without the expense of buying an Optical Mark reader. Optical Mark Recognition software automates the omr form design with the data capture process. The software does this by having it’s own built in form designer for creating and printing omr sheets which are compatible with the software, so they will automatically integrate with the software’s optical mark recognition form processor.

Your existing computer, printer and scanner are used to automate the collection of answer responses from hundreds of checkbox surveys, exams, tests and assessments with Optical Mark Recognition software. OMR sheets used for filling in checkbox responses are scanned with a regular document image scanner and the scanned images are imported into the software which detects and captures the checkboxes which contain shading and converts them into readable computer data. Optical Mark Recognition Software is fast and accurate, processing scanned OMR sheets and transferring the captured data to a spreadsheet or other management software, at around 30 pages per minute , eliminating human error and saving countless hours of further manual data processing after checkbox response exams and surveys have been collected.

Captured Value Data on a spreadsheet

Image: Optical mark recognition software captures hand filled checkboxes as value data and easily exported to a spreadsheet or other management software on your computer.

Optical Mark Recognition software has many optional features which when implemented will capture data from barcodes and checkboxes on an omr sheet.

Variable Replacement which is similar to mail merge, for automatically adding records taken from a data table, such as names, when the omr sheets are printed.

Scores for the correct answers when certain checkboxes have been chosen in exams and tests, are calculated and stored in the software with the captured data. An answer key is set using a rule such as A:+1 which means when checkbox A is captured as a filled checkbox a score of 1 will be given.

A grid for collecting numbers such as STUDENT ID NUMBERS, can be created using a bank of checkboxes and the filled in number is captured with Optical Mark Recognition. The captured ID number is used to link the captured response data to a record in a data table therefore identifying who the form was filled in by. Grids like this can also be used for automatically collecting phone numbers or other such information without the need for manual data processing.

OMR ID grid

Education and Healthcare and Market Research organizations who, every day rely on fast checkbox response data collection from hundreds of paper multiple choice exam, assessment and survey sheets, are using Optical Mark Recognition software to print their own forms and quickly get the analysis data required from people’s responses to questions and statements.

Create your own custom omr sheets and use them for collecting analysis data from peoples checkbox responses for:

  • Market research surveys.
  • Conference Evaluation surveys
  • Aptitude Tests and Personality Assessments.
  • Government election ballot papers.
  • Qualtiy assurance checklists and Quality control sheets.
  • Inspection Sheet Checklists.
  • Score sheets.
  • Order forms
  • Cost effective data collection forms for program evaluation often used by Not for Profit Organizations.

DOWNLOAD A FREE TRIAL OF OPTICAL MARK RECOGNITION (OMR) SOFTWARE and use it to collect the multiple choice checkbox responses from your next response data collection assignment. Create and print compatible OMR sheets using the software’s OMR template editor and scan the completed omr sheets to quickly and automatically collect analysis data.

Optical Mark Reader

Optical Mark Readers are not image scanners, they are powerful machines that use OMR sheets printed on specialty paper for detecting checkbox response marks from bubble answer OMR sheets. Once very expensive machines, Optical Mark Readers have been used by large organizations for quickly processing lotto forms and betting forms until they eventually became affordable by universities and colleges for quickly processing the results from multiple choice exams, tests and assessments.

Optical Mark Reader

Optical Mark Readers use OMR sheets which are specially designed to fit as many checkboxes as possible on the page to make scanning more cost effective by collecting as many responses as possible from a single scanned page. The printed omr sheets also contain registration marks which are dark marks used by the machine to detect where the checkboxes appear on the form page. The bubble answer sheet, OMR forms used with Optical Mark Readers are printed on special paper which makes them quite expensive, so normally only contain the checkboxes on the page without the room for custom text. A separate question sheet is printed on paper to go with the OMR answer sheet.

For large organizations with tens of thousands of omr sheets to scan and process daily, an Optical Mark Reader is often the only type of Optical Mark Recognition solution that can handle such large scale projects which depend on a high accuracy rate. Large organizations such as universities usually have a special marking room with Optical Mark Readers, where all bubble answer sheets from exams are sent for marking, with the exam results being returned within a set time, usually a couple of weeks, which is a constant delay when regular testing is used as students are stimulated by fast results. Software based Optical mark recognition is much more cost effective to use, because the omr sheets are printed on plain paper and the sheets are scanned using a regular image scanner.

OMR sheet