Believe it or not, some people still print documents on physical pieces of paper. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software takes those printed documents and converts them right back into machine-readable text. We’ve found some of the best free OCR toolsFree vs. Paid OCR Software: Microsoft OneNote and Nuance OmniPage ComparedFree vs. Paid OCR Software: Microsoft OneNote and Nuance OmniPage ComparedOCR scanner software lets you convert text in images or PDFs into editable text documents. Is a free OCR tool like OneNote good enough? Let's find out!Read More and compared them for you here.
No OCR program is perfect, so you’ll have to check the results and fix a few problems. Still, it’s a lot faster than typing the entire document back into the computer. Each of these free OCR software tools has its own strengths. All of them will get the job done.
Seeking for an OCR solution for your office? Check our software review list for the best OCR Software to choose the right one for you. Read this 2015 review about the best free OCR software. See what our top pick is. You will also find many more freeware reviews in countless categories. FreeOCR is an optical character recognition scanner program that will read an otherwise un-editable document and churn out copyable text you can manipulate.
To compare these tools, I took a screenshot of MakeUseOf’s Privacy page and saved it as a JPG file.
Then, I used that JPG to test out the following OCR services.
However, you could also scan a printed document if that’s what you want to edit.
If you go that route, it’ll work best if the page features common fonts, such as Times New Roman or Arial. Also, make sure the image is right side up before scanning it. Aim for scanned material with a file size of less than 2 MB, too.
Now, let’s dig in!
Google Drive & Google Docs
Google Drive has integrated OCR support. It depends on the same OCR engine that Google uses to scan books and understand text in PDF files.
To get started, save the picture you want to send through the OCR to your computer.
Free Ocr Software
Next, open the Google Drive website and upload your file into the application.
Pro tip: If you’re a Gmail user, you can also attach the scanned document to an email. The attachment features a button that lets you transfer the file to Google Drive without leaving your inbox.
After putting the file in Google Drive, locate it and right click. Then select Open With and choose Google Docs.
Your scanned image then appears as a new, editable text document in Google Docs! Google will keep your original image at the top of the document, and automatically create editable text using OCR below it.
The combination of Google Drive and Google Docs did a pretty good job here. It struggled to understand the web addresses, but that was the case with all the tested tools.
Many free online OCR tools4 Free Online OCR Tools Put to the Ultimate Test4 Free Online OCR Tools Put to the Ultimate TestWith advances in OCR technology, converting text and Images from your scanned PDF document into the editable text formats is easier. We tested a few free online OCR tools so you won't have to.Read More, like Free OCR, limit your uploads. Google Docs is advantageous because it doesn’t have page upload limits.
Microsoft Document Imaging
Microsoft also offers support for OCR, but only for Windows users. Do you use a version of Microsoft Word from 2010 or older? It already has Microsoft Document Imaging.
Otherwise, you need to install SharePoint Designer 2007.
Okay, now before we get too far into this, it’s important to note that you’ll need to have Microsoft Word in order for this OCR method to truly work.
Microsoft Word is not a free program, I know. However, because this OCR method is SO effective, and because access to Word is so easy (go to any library or college campus) I’m making the executive decision to include this in our free OCR tools list anyway.
Install SharePoint by going to this URL. When you click Download, you’ll be presented with some options. Click the SharepointDesigner.exe field and hit Download.
After accepting the software license, choose the Customize option.
Look for the Installation Options tab in the top left of the box on your screen (this should be the default tab the program takes you to). Notice the drop-down menus to the left of many of the options.
Find the drop-down menus for Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer, Microsoft Office Shared Features, and Office Tools. Select the Not Available option for all of them. It includes a red X, making it easy to spot.
Expand the section for Office Tools, then locate the Microsoft Office Document Imaging option. Pick the Run All From My Computer option. Be careful not to select the similarly worded Run From My Computer entry on the drop-down instead.
Finally, click the Install Now button. It’s in the bottom right of the dialog box you’ve worked with throughout this installation. (Note: This installation may take a few minutes.)
You’re now ready to use the MODI feature!
The next step is to scan your document or save your image from the web. Then, convert it to a TIFF file.
Microsoft Paint is one example of a free TIFF conversion option. Just open your file in Paint and click Save As. Select Other formats.
Select the TIFF format from the drop-down menu and save the image.
Ocr Software Review 2016
Then, launch MODI on your computer.
Just search your computer for Microsoft Office Document Imaging and open the program.
After that, click File, then Open and find your image document.
Then, click the OCR button on the menu bar.
Once the program finishes the OCR, click the Tools menu and select Send Text to Word.
The program will automatically open a new Word document and paste your OCR text into it.
The result gives you editable text within a program you know well.
Having to download the supplementary software first might feel a bit intimidating. However, the process itself isn’t hard and Microsoft does a better job than Google Drive at recognizing text. For instance, this program had no problem picking up on the website URL for MakeUseOf.com, and it didn’t smush any words together.
One major downside, though is that MODI is not available for Mac computers. If you have a Mac, check out these alternatives.
Download: MDI to TIFF File Converter and SharePoint Designer 2007 (Free for Windows)
Maybe you’re only getting started with OCR tools and want an extremely straightforward, non-platform-specific option (just like the best online word processorsThe 8 Best Free Online Word ProcessorsThe 8 Best Free Online Word ProcessorsOnline word processors come in all shapes and sizes. Use these select picks to choose the writing tool that's right for you.Read More). A website called OnlineOCR.net meets those needs.
It supports over 40 languages, which is good news if your document contains one other than English.
Look for the blue Select File button on the left side of your screen. Because you can upload files as large as 15 MB, this service works well for graphic-heavy materials.
After that, use the drop-down list and select your desired output language. Look to the right of that menu and notice there are three choices of file formats. You can select Microsoft Word (which is the route I took), Microsoft Excel, or Plain Text.
Ocr Software Reviews 2017
The Excel option may be useful when working with a scanned price sheet that includes graphics. It’s also potentially helpful with any other source material that with numbers. OnlineOCR supports documents with tables and columns as well.
After tweaking the options, click the Convert button. Then, download the output file the tool spits out and, voila! Editable text at your fingertips.
This free tool didn’t work as well as the other two here, but since you can use OnlineOCR without registering it’s super convenient and easy. Plus, it did do a half-decent job recognizing the text from my image. It’s a smart choice if you want to try a tool without making commitments or providing information.
Also, this free option allows for converting up to 15 documents per hour. Download anime monogatari season 1 sub indo mp4. That benefit makes it appropriate for medium-volume OCR tasks.
Each of these programs has its strengths.
- Google Docs can OCR documents without downloading anything to your computer, but you do have to sign up for a free account.
- Microsoft Office Document Imaging is easy enough to use and extremely accurate, but it takes a little bit to install the necessary software.
- OnlineOCR.net is a simple-to-use browser-based tool that doesn’t require registration and supports multiple languages.
With any tool, once you’re done with the OCR processHow to Extract Text From Images (OCR)How to Extract Text From Images (OCR)The best way to extract text from an image is to use optical character recognition (OCR). We show you seven free OCR tools for the job.Read More, you may want to spell-check your documentHow to Spell and Grammar Check in Microsoft WordHow to Spell and Grammar Check in Microsoft WordYou can customize Microsoft Word's built-in spelling and grammar checking tools to meet your needs. You can even use AutoCorrect to speed up your typing.Read More. That’s especially true if you’re just starting out with a tool and don’t know if it’s accurate.
And, depending on your use, you may not even have to OCR documents at all. You can convert a paper book to an ebook without OCRing it, for example.
Which OCR software works best for you? Do you have a different favorite OCR program that we didn’t mention here? Leave a comment and let us know.
Did you know that you could also turn handwriting into text using OCRHow to Convert an Image With Handwriting to Text Using OCRHow to Convert an Image With Handwriting to Text Using OCRTo convert an image of handwritten text into digital text that you can edit and search, you need an OCR (optical character recognition) tool. Try one of these OCR tools to digitize handwriting.Read More? Mac users can use the Image Capture app4 Practical Ways to Use Your Mac's Image Capture App4 Practical Ways to Use Your Mac's Image Capture AppYour Mac's Image Capture app is a quiet but useful tool. Here are some practical uses for Image Capture you must check out.Read More to work with OCR.
Image Credit: nikolay100/Depositphotos
Originally written by Chris Hoffman in March 2012.Streaming bakugan battle brawlers sub indo full episode.
Explore more about: Digital Document, OCR, Scanner.
All interesting. I wonder if I need to go to OCR.
When I want text I simply open my pdf document, do ctrl-a, ctrl-c, then ctrl-v into my LibreOffice Writer document. A few format fixes, and I'm good to go.. not even any need to spell-check, since it was copy/paste.
This whole article
is OUTdated and useless.
Plus, (see other comments below),
the 'OnlineOCR.net' contains spyware!.
Shame on you to publish this crap..
This is very educational! Thank you! I have a low quality scanned PDF files and unfortunately, the free online converters did not work. I came across this software called PDF2XL Enterprise by Cogniview. I tried to convert few of my documents and I’m satisfied with the result. The software has advanced OCR settings you can adjust like tweaking and force dpi which totally improved the character recognition. I would definitely recommend PDF2XL Enterprise to anyone.
it works only when the text of the image is in normal font that is 'times new roman' but fails with other fonts.
is there any software that recognises all the types of fonts
Thank you Chris Hoffman for your helpful article.
FreeOCR looks just what I'm looking for. Unfortunate to read your note that it has been reported to contain malware. Could you tell us if it is still the case? I see your article was written in 2012. Perhaps the note was a later update? Or could you share how I can find out for myself whether it is still contains malware? Thank you.
My alternative would be to work with Tesseract, but that looks more complicated to install and I read that it is not the most user friendly.
I am trying to get the ability to edit PDF documents and convert PDF to Excel or word. I work in a medical office and every site or option I find ends up being blocked by the administrator. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Tx Michelle
To Open PDF's in DOCS, see my first post.
Drive instructions are beyond outdated. Here is how it is done these days.
To open PDF in Drive:
-----Select Settings (gear icon far right-top),
-------Select Settings again,
---------Click 'Convert uploaded files to Gooogle Docs format'.
Now only imported files will open. PDF's that were already in Drive will need to be 'Uploaded' from the Drive folder to the Drive folder. Basically, any files already there need to be selected and 'Downloaded'
This goes for all Office files as well as PDF's.
Should say, To open PDF in 'DOCS'.
You can visit inFORM decision to find which is the best for you. My company also choose this web. That is so fancy!
The free OCR tools you suggest are great for me. I heard of them before, but I did not use it. I am using Yunmai Document Recognition, a document reader developed by Yunmai Technology. It enables scanned documents and images to be transformed into searchable and editable document formats. It is able to extract the text from an image of a document, and then save it as text file. This software is a demo of Yunmai Document Recognition OCR SDK.
I use GTText also. It is quite accurate. You just contr+V any image, select region and its copied. Pretty awesome.
Thanks you for sharing a great online tool in this post. Free tools have their own features, but that are negative points too. Free online converter store your PDF file on their sever (your pdf file could be have some personal information).
Personally I would like to share a tool here i.e. 'PDFWARE Image to PDF Converter'. This software has many options to add Images in a PDF document. It convert all types of Images into pdf document. I will recommend it to other user.
Could you tell me the name of the best freeware for printing searchable PDFs?
Tesseract via sourceforge.net for the win.
Thanks for the 'Google Doc'-tip. It took me a lot of time to find the best solution. Google Docs keeps the formatting of the document, which saves me a lot of time. Thanks!
Hey bro - as a reviewer you should take the time to review the product EULA and data / security policies.
These are at least as important as the features offered.
I did not appreciate the spyware packaged with your recommendation (FreeOCR), or the agreement that would allow collection and use of personal data.
You should have mentioned these negatives. No prize for this review.
GT Text is also very good.
It supports Chinese (just downloading the language in preferences)
Japanese and a myriad of languages
[Broken Link Removed]
I like to professionally use OCR (50 pages/day), but i don't like to spend thousands of dollars; what is a good program to buy? Is Omnipage the best option?
I need a program to scan & read handwritten and digital text, convert it to pdf, searchable and networkable.
Not sure whether Google Docs ever had this same limitation, but Google Drive (which it appears Google plans to eventually replace Google Docs with) limits its OCR'ing of any PDF you upload to just the first ten pages. The 2 MB file size limit also still applies, but this ten-page limit is even more restrictive.
However it's good they still don't restrict the number of documents you upload. As a result, you can still OCR an arbitrarily large number of pages for free on Google Drive -- ten pages at a time.
Hi Chris Hoffman,
I like Cuneiform OpenOCR,
but Cuneiform OpenOCR is not support to do OCR on PDF files
do you know how to make coneiform openocr to do ocr on pdf files?
The OCR tools seems to be great.
I use ocr a lot and have tried almost every free option out there. For straight forward text they handle just fine, but send through complex layouts and expect to spend hours editing. Recently I forked out for the premium Omnipage, and although I am now broke, I have to admit that the program makes everything else look inefficient. Simple pages are ocr-ed in seconds and are perfect. Complex layouts take a little longer because you need to define graphic, text and table areas, but the results are near perfect. I am not saying that the options mentioned here can't do the job, but if you have big projects in need of ocr, or ocr documents regularly, then save the headache and pay for the master!
Does OmniPage read handwritten text?
Does OminPage read handwritten text?
What? No OneNote? It OCRs all pasted pictures by default, so you can easily find them. I don't use Evernote but expect it to be similar.
I use ABBYY Finereader Sprint free version - works fine for home/personal use.
Hi! I also use Sprint but, probably, for big projects with a lot of formatting and complex layout I need a full product that will save the original structure and convert pdf. Not sure what product to buy, do you know if I can upgrade from Sprint (and if it is cheaper) to complete version of finereader ?
Google Docs while not having a page limit does have:
Sorry, this file is too big. We can only convert files up to 2 MB in size.
Does it support chinese ?
Free open-source OCR software for the Windows Store. The application includes support for reading and OCR'ing PDF files. Why use (a9t9) Free OCR for Windows Store? 1. The application is simple to install/uninstall, and very easy to use 2. Free to use 3. 100% adware and spyware free 4. Very good OCR recognition 5. You can improve and customize it - it is open source The (a9t9) Free OCR Software converts scans or (smartphone) images of text documents into editable files by using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies. It uses state-of-the-art modern OCR software. The recognition quality is comparable to commercial OCR software. Supported OCR languages: - Chinese OCR (Simplified and traditional characters) - Czech OCR - Danish OCR - Dutch OCR - English OCR - Finnish OCR - French OCR - German OCR - Greek OCR - Hungarian OCR - Italian OCR - Japanese OCR - Korean OCR - Norwegian OCR - Polish OCR - Portuguese OCR - Russian OCR - Spanish OCR - Swedish OCR - Turkish OCR For best OCR results, be sure to select the right OCR language for your document. Please do not feed hand-written documents to this converter. This OCR app, like any currently available OCR software, can only process printed documents.