Robert Frost wrote, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." If you were the traveler, you might want to fly a drone to see where they go. Hope this article would be the drone to you, helping to have a view on how OCR API's differ from OCR applications.


OCR API (Application Programming Interface) is a computer interface for an OCR service. It provides core functions with a simple interface for software, not directly for human. A typical form of OCR API is a library for a programming language, and another is a web service that communicates with http. These usually understand computer languages and request data in pre-defined format.

Google Cloud Vision API and Amazon Textract are good examples of OCR API. Each of these Web API take the form of a web service and provides a software library that wraps around the web service.


  • Read documents at a fairly high accuracy and reply the OCR results in a raw format, usually in a JSON or XML format.


  • No function to configure OCR templates, which customize data labels and help increase accuracy.
  • Need to code for implementation to business processes.


OCR App is a comprehensive service, based on graphical user interfaces. One may be a set of web pages on a browser, like Gmail, or a local application that requires installation, like Microsoft Access.

GenialAI OCR is one of handy web OCR Apps. You can customize templates, upload documents, and review, revise and download OCR results on your browser.

Acrobat Pro DC is the most popular local OCR App. With few clicks, it makes a PDF with OCR'ed text embedded.


  • Read documents at a high accuracy and reply the OCR results in a user-friendly format without software development.
  • GenialAI OCR can customize OCR template to read many pages in a same format: Acrobat Pro DC has no function like this.


  • Less flexibility in connecting to other applications than OCR API.


OCR API is better if you want to incorporate OCR functions into your software that you already developed or will develop.

Otherwise, OCR App is preferable especially if you do not want to code software or have a lot of PDF pages in a same format.

GenialAI OCR has functions to manage template, and its AI automatically applies an appropriate template to each page. If you are interested, please request the demo. You will get the link to the demo video right away.