The present invention relates to an automated data entry and display system. In this system a hand held photoelectric wand scans a document bearing alpha-numeric characters and reads these characters by generating electrical signals which correspond to the optical characteristics of the scanned information; the generated electrical signals are then input to a character recognition device where they are compared with stored reference characters and recognized; signals corresponding to the scanned alpha-numeric characters together with associated signals indicating acceptability or non-acceptability of each scanned character may then be transmitted to a display device where the acceptable and/or unacceptable scanned characters and designated diagnostic legends are displayed. In the system the electrical signals generated by the wand as a result of the scanning and reading of a given character are electrically identical to the electrical signals generated by a standard keyboard terminal when entering the given character. Thus, the wand is interchangeable in the system as an input device with a standard keyboard terminal and both types of input devices may simultaneously be utilized in the system. The system is capable of effecting automatically the reading, recognizing, displaying and entering for processing, characters of a variety of alpha-numeric fonts.