Layout Analysis for Scanned PDF and Transformation to the Structured PDF Suitable for Vocalization and Navigation

Azaedeh Nazemi, Iain Murray, David A. McMeekin


Information can include text, pictures and signatures that can be scanned into a document format, such as the Portable Document Format (PDF), and easily emailed to recipients around the world. Upon the document’s arrival, the receiver can open and view it using a vast array of different PDF viewing applications such as Adobe Reader and Apple Preview. Hence, today the use of the PDF has become pervasive. Since the scanned PDF is an image format, it is inaccessible to assistive technologies such as a screen reader. Therefore, the retrieval of the information needs Optical Character Recognition (OCR). The OCR software scans the scanned PDF file and through text extraction generates an editable text formatted document. This text document can then be edited, formatted, searched and indexed as well as translated or converted to speech. A problem that the OCR software does not solve is the accurate regeneration of the full text layout. This paper presents a technology that addresses this issue by closely preserving the original textual layout of the scanned PDF using the open source document analysis and OCR system (OCRopus) based on geometric layout and positioning information.

The main issues considered in this research are the preservation of the correct reading order, and the representation of common logical structured elements such as section headings, line breaks, paragraphs, captions, and sidebars, foot-bars, running headers, embedded images, graphics, tables and mathematical expressions.

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Computer and Information Science   ISSN 1913-8989 (Print)   ISSN 1913-8997 (Online)
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