There are many OMR software programs on the market which in general will all do pretty much the same job of detecting and capturing the filled in bubble responses using a software based Optical Mark Recognition reader.
The differences are in the features that come with each OMR software program, such as OMR form design and the way the captured data is exported to external software.
An important feature of OMR software is automatic integration of the OMR sheet with the OMR software.
A robust OMR form processor is also an important feature which decreases the chance of processing errors.
Other errors are generally human caused, such as the scan quality of the OMR sheets and how the checkboxes have been filled in by the form respondents.
OMR Software Detection
The response marks are captured as value data, such as (A,B,C,D,E etc.) and stored within the OMR software with the option to export the raw data to a spreadsheet.
- Screenshot Image 1: OMR Software detects a checkbox or checkboxes containing a mark
- Screenshot Image 2: OMR Software detects a string of characters, such as ID numbers or addresses.
- Screenshot Image 3: OMR Software can be used to collect yes/no or true/false answers.
Create the OMR Template
Firstly an OMR Sheet Template is created to be compatible with the OMR software.
There are a couple of ways that OMR sheet templates can be created. In a word document which must be trained to be recognised by the software. With an OMR sheet editor which integrates the template immediately with the software.
Checkboxes are used to capture people’s response marks and barcodes are used for recognition by the software and to capture form page identifying information. An OMR template must contain a barcode on every page ***
Publish the OMR Template
The OMR template is published within the software, to save the template information and to compile the OMR sheets, ready to be printed. Each published omr sheet will have a unique barcode number. ***
Print and Distribute the OMR Sheets
Using a laser printer, print your OMR sheets from the Published OMR Template.
Printing with a lazer printer will produce clear images that won’t smudge.
Scanning the OMR sheets
When the OMR software sheets have been returned, they are scanned to produce clear images, using a document scanner* with an automatic paper feeder if you have hundreds of pages, or a flatbed or portable image scanner if you only have a few forms.
Because each page can be identified by the OMR software, using the barcode that was added to the template, there is no need to scan the sheets in any particular order.
Image: OMR sheets being scanned using a document scanner with automatic paper feeder, and being processed by OMR software on a laptop computer.
The scanned form files are uploaded into the OMR software which quickly processes each page, around 30 pages per minute, reducing delivery time of analysis data collected from people’s responses. The software stores the captured data, which can then be exported to an external spreadsheet or whichever data management software you have on your computer.
Mark Detection by OMR Software
Image: A section of a scanned omr sheet showing automatically detected values of the filled checkboxes (A,B,C,D) by OMR software
The scanned images of OMR sheets are uploaded into the OMR software processor, which recognizes and reads each page.
The large barcode on each page links the page with the template it belongs to and links the captured data with the respondent’s record in the data table.
Small automatically generated barcodes on the form are used by the software for locating the area where the checkbox areas are on the page.
The filled checkbox bubbles are detected using a process that compares the number of black pixels against the number of white pixels in each checkbox.
OMR Software Data Capture
The detected marks are converted into checkbox value data such as A, B, C or D and stored within the OMR software and can be viewed in the Captured Data interface of the OMR software.
Optical Mark Recognition captures barcode value information from printed barcodes or uniqe barcode labels, used for identifying each page.
The captured data is reconciled with the record it belongs to, taken from the data table.
The captured data is stored in the OMR software then exported to an excel spreadsheet or other external management software intalled on your computer.
This all takes place within a matter of seconds for each page.
About OMR Software
OMR software has a high rate of accuracy and can capture response data during processing of omr sheet images at around 30 pages per minute.
OMR software is used when paper forms are the most practical and cost effective way to collect information from people’s responses.
OMR sheets are often called bubble sheets because they contain circular or oval checkbox bubbles which are easy to fill in fully by people responding to the questions.
Respondents should be instructed to fully fill in checkboxes. A fully filled bubbles will turn out clearer on the scanned omr sheet images which makes it less likely that errors will occur with the detection of the filled checkboxes.
The checkboxes on OMR sheets are filled in with a dark pen or pencil in response to questions or statements.
OMR software is used for fast collection of checkbox response information from satisfaction surveys, evaluation surveys, tests, exams, assessments, checklists, quality assurance forms, ballot papers, order forms and any checkbox response paper forms that can be designed to collect data using OMR software.
OMR Software Requirements
- An OMR sheet template recognized by the Software you are using.
- A lazer printer, used to print the paper OMR sheets from the template.
- A recent model computer.
- A decent quality document image scanner for scanning the OMR sheets.
The fact that these are the only requirements you need to scan and capture hundreds of forms a day, makes OMR software very cost effective.