For character recognition machines in which the design of the logic is time consuming and expensive, a method for evaluating the character recognition scanner prior to designing the recognition logic is desirable. A method for evaluating a character recognition scanner by evaluating the patterns it produces is described. The method, for a given set of parameters, assigns to each pattern a figure of merit that measures the difficulty of recognizing the pattern. A number of experiments show that the evaluation method produced results comparable to results produced by a recognition logic designed by engineers. On a sample of 81,200 patterns, the evaluation method showed in this experiment that 0.20% of the patterns would be difficult to recognize, while for the same patterns, logic designed by engineers failed to recognize or misrecognized 0.24% of the patterns. © 1983.