An ordinary document scanner with a paper feed tray is used for scanning bubble sheets that will be processed with OMR software. OMR software can quickly detect the checkbox areas on bubble sheets and capture the filled in answers from scanned plain paper bubble sheets. The bubble sheets are scanned and the images are saved on the computer and then uploaded to the software. The OMR software instantly locates the filled checkboxes and converts the captured data into results and saves them to an excel spreadsheet. OMR software processes the bubble sheet images at a rate of a few seconds for each sheet, saving the countless hours of time usually spent waiting for the results from assessments, tests and exams. Immediate results is a huge time saving benefit when monitoring student progress throughout the school semester.

Scanners for Scanning Paper Bubble Sheets

A regular scanner is all that is needed for scanning bubble sheets when OMR software will be used to automate the gathering of people’s answers from bubble sheets. Any reliable document image scanner or flat bed image scanner can be used to produce clear scanned images from paper bubble sheet forms that can be recognized with OMR software.

Scanning Bubble Sheet

This is a document image scanner with an automatic paper feeding tray, an important scanning feature for quickly feeding large quantities of bubble sheets to the scanner.

Bubble Sheet Flat Bed Image Scanner

This is a Flatbed image scanner commonly only used when one page at a time needs to be scanned.

Flatbed Scanners and Document Scanners can make bubble sheet images, that are clear enough be detected and read automatically with OMR software.

  • OMR software reads and captures the filled in checkboxes detected on the scanned images of bubble sheets, scanned with any reliable flatbed or document scanner.
  • The bubble sheets must be scanned at a high enough resolution to produce sharp and clear bubble sheet images.
  • Remember you are scanning a bubble sheet which is a document not a photo.
  • The scanned images of bubble sheets saved on your computer, should be saved in a format compatible with the OMR software you are using. Most OMR softwares will accept tif, gif and pdf images.
  • Bubble Sheet images scanned at a lower resolution (around 200) will be processed faster in OMR software than a higher resolution scanned image, and will also take up less space when they are stored on your computer.

Choosing a Scanner

  • An automatic paper feeder makes it easier to handle the scanning of vast quantities of paper bubble sheets.
  • The Speed of scanning is measured in pages per minute - {consider how many pages you will be be scanning each day}
  • Some scanners have TWAIN support (Technology Without An Intelligent Name) - which communicates between the OMR software and the scanner to aquire bubble sheet images of a clarity and resolution required by the software. {OMR needs a clear crisp image for accuracy when detecting marked answer bubbles}
  • Check the format of Scanned Images which can be saved by the scanner. Scanners are all different and all types of OMR software will have a required format for the images files it can upload, such as TIF, GIF,PNG or PDF. (Some scanners may not save images in the required format or may be difficult to set up saving in the required format.)

OMR Software Overview:

OMR software detects, reads and scores the filled in answers on scanned bubble sheet images. The OMR software does this by determining what is a filled in checkbox, capturing the checkbox numbers which contain marks and automatically and converting the captured data into results which will be available almost immediately.

Detection of a marked checkbox bubble by OMR Software. Black and White pixels are counted by the software to determine a filled in checkbox.

Detected Bubble Sheet Checkbox
Below: OMR Detection of an ID number filled into a grid.
Detected ID Number on Bubble Sheet
The results collected and stored by the OMR software can then be exported to an excel spreadsheet or other external management software.

The OMR Conversion Process:

OMR technology has a consistently high rate of accuracy (around 99%), dependent on the quality and sharpness of the scanned images. Clear scanned images of the bubble sheets are very important to achieve this high accuracy. The software determines the presence or absence of marks made in the checkboxes, by measuring the amount of darkness in each box and can process thousands of forms per day. The speed and accuracy of the software depends on the scanner used and the images it produces. Sharp scanned images with the lowest possible resolution, will take up less space on a computer and process the bubble sheet images much faster than a high resolution bubble sheet image.

  • OMR software can mark hundreds of bubble sheet forms in minutes.
  • An OMR software bubble sheet template can be printed and re-used as many times as needed.
  • Easily change the template layout, question text or answers to make a new form, whenever you want.
  • Question banks can be placed randomly on forms to discourage cheating in the classroom.
  • A score for the correct question can be set, giving a form score with the raw data output.
  • The captured responses from your bubble sheets can be easily exported onto a spreadsheet.
  • OMR software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Every type of OMR software uses it’s own specially designed forms to locate where the checkboxes appear on the form and to identify who the form belongs often by using barcode identification or OCR.

Free Sample - View or download free printable bubble sheets that can be recognized and automatically processed with FormReturn OMR Software.

FormReturn OMR:  OMR Bubble-Sheet Software for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux - get a free 30 day trial


OMR software logo

Education Bubble Sheet Software -  Print and Scan Bubble sheet forms for fast, automatic Results from Tests and Surveys.

Bubble Sheet Software

FormReturn OMR Bubble Sheet Software - automatically reads the filled in answers on scanned bubble sheets and converts the detected marks into computer data. FormReturn is streamlined Optical Mark Recognition Software which fully integrates the designing of OMR forms with the OMR processor for capturing the maked in bubbles. FormReturn uses 4 working components to complete this process.

1. An OMR, bubble sheet form designer, to design and print your own OMR forms which will automatically integrate with the software.
2. A data base for storing respondent's records and to be used by the software for reconciling captured data with the respondent's name.
3. An OMR form processor which detects and automatically captures the hand filled responses made in checkboxes.
4. Storage of the Captured data with an export option to transfer the data to an external spreadsheet for managing reports or printing.

FormReturn OMR Software is priced to suit small businesses as well as larger organizations who rely on the automatic collection of data for every day operation. Many of FormReturn's users are University departments who want to do their own test, assessment or survey marking and processing as well as Medical Colleges and Medical Research companies; Hospitals for patient surveys; Community Colleges; Training Colleges and Public Schools.

FormReturn has a checkbox tool for easily and neatly designing bubble sheets, a barcode tool to easily add a Form ID Barcode which is used on each bubble sheet page to automate the regognition of each page by the software and to automate the process of linking multiple form pages with the stored captured responses data. The captured data from multiple page forms will be stored as one record and optionally with the form respondent's data table record. Forms can have identification components added so you know who each form belongs to, or they can be made
anonymous, but they will still all link to a data table you have created and selected from FormReturn's database called Source data. In the case of anonymous forms, such as in a survey, Source data may or may not
contain respondent's records but the captured data will link to a dummy record so it can be stored in the database.

This whole process eliminates time consuming data entry and the occurrence of inaccurate data entry when it come to the collection of hand marked data.