Form Design Scanner Pros and Cons

What are the software and hardware differences between OMR and desktop scanners?


  • An OMR form can have the bubbles very close together, making it possible to collect more data in the same space.
  • On an OMR form, the bubbles need to be completely filled in on these forms.
  • An OMR form requires Timing Marks on it (small rectangular marks on one side of the page).
  • Scanning copies of OMR forms is not acceptable. They have to be originals.
  • OMR readers cannot deal with inexact tolerances, so printing of forms must be very precise. Readers require that forms be printed exactly based on the absolute edge of the paper.
  • OMR readers can perform mark discrimination, thereby being able to determine erasures from darker marks
  • OMR ink read scanner can read pencil or ink. An OMR pencil read scanner can only read pencil marks.
  • Can obtain a higher speed of scanning
  • Can be left unattended
  • Can have a separate hopper for rejected forms to automatically be sent and dealt with later.
  • Can capture much more data on an OMR form reducing paper costs.
  • Cannot be used to scan non-OMR documents; it does not recognize hand- or machine-printed characters (ICR or OCR technology)



  • A desktop/image form needs to have more “white space” around the bubbles.
  • On a desktop form, ? or < are more acceptable.
  • Copies of desktop forms are acceptable.
  • Desktop scanners do not require forms be printed so exactly.
  • A desktop scanner can read pencil and ink.
  • A desktop scanner cannot perform mark discrimination. Multiple marks in an area, when not allowed, will be flagged as potential problems.

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