Form completion requirements

Pens and ink

Forms are best completed neatly, in capital letters, using a black ball-point, gel or capillary pen (dark blue and violet are also acceptable). Soft-tip/felt-tip pens are not to be recommended as characters are likely to be very thick, causing recognition problems. Recognition is worst in the case of forms completed by pencil or using a light ink.

Letter size and style

For best recognition results, forms should be completed in block capital letters. The letters must fill out all character cells but must not overlap cell borders.

If character cells are visually marked on the forms (i.e. the following text marking types are used: letters in frames, letters in separate frames), the person filling out the form will be less likely to join the letters together.

The following text marking types present greater problems for recognition: text in a frame with a comb, letters on a comb. Here only the width of the character cell is predefined, while the absence of side borders makes joining letters together possible. In the case of the comb without a frame, the letters can be written either too small or too large.

If text in a frame or text over a line are used, there is no evident restriction on the width of the character cells. The letters may be joined together, which will have an adverse effect on recognition quality. In the case of text over a line there are no restrictions on character height. Therefore this marking type is not recommended for forms requiring a high degree of recognition accuracy.

Another important requirement is that the letters do not overlap the field borders. This is not so crucial for dropout or black and white raster forms, because field borders will disappear during scanning and despeckling. But if letters overlap field borders on black-and-white linear forms, this may result in a significant decrease in recognition quality.


To encourage correct completion, we recommend including a note on your form similar to the one below.

12/1/2020 7:03:59 AM

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