OMR, or Optical Mark Recognition, is a technique of electronically recognizing marks in a form, usually made by a person who is filling up the form. It is especially useful in automatically processing survey forms of customer feedback forms in large quantities, and then storing the result either for later retrieval or for statistical analysis. Sometimes this technique is also used to grade objective type question papers where the student marks a particular answer out of several choices available. Government services or large scale competitive exam authorities use optical mark recognition techniques to declare their results quickly and with minimal errors.
Optical mark recognition devices work through two methods. They are either linked to a scanner which can light up the form paper and then measure the contrasting reflection in the marked area; or they use a form printed on a semi-transparent paper, which creates differences in light passing through predesigned areas to detect the presence of a mark. The corresponding optical mark recognition software allows you to design your own survey form or question paper in any word processing program such as word, and then print out the document on semi-transparent paper.
OMR, or optical mark recognition, allows you to analyze your forms or questionnaires electronically, thus saving your time and minimizing human error. At the same time, they are smaller in size than optical character recognition software because they do not need to have a full scale character recognition engine to work. They simply analyze variation in brightness of light at certain pre-specified places on the form to detect the presence of a mark. One disadvantage, however, is that is a mark is too light; the optical mark recognition device may not be able to read it.