In a layman’s term OCR – Optical Character Recognition is application software converting pictures or handwritten documents into computer readable text format. Extracting the text from an image or a scanned document so that it can be edited, formatted, searched, indexed, automatically translated or converted to speech. Meanwhile, OCR can be used to convert books and documents into electronic format and to automate various business processes.
However, OCR software may not be possible to obtain 100% precise text conversion, the OCR application strives to give something that is close to the scanned document. Some of OCR Software also comes with spell checker to guess some unrecognized words. So, below is the list of Free OCR software that I gathered.
Free Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Software:
Microsoft OneNote utilizing high quality optical character recognition (OCR) engine that allows office user quickly extract text from any image file format. Meanwhile, you can choose to convert part of the scanned document into text rather than the entire document on Microsoft OneNote. If an image contains very small or concocting text, then Microsoft OneNote may not extract text properly.
Document Imaging is another great application from Microsoft that you can utilize to change scanned document to text. Nevertheless, it does lack in some ways as it can only work with scanned images saved in TIFF file format. But, this ought not to be a problem as you can use different imaging software to change other file formats to TIFF.
If you are having difficulties in using Microsoft OCR application to convert scanned handwritten documents to text, then you can give Simple OCR a try. However, there is a twist to using the OCR application. The free OCR version is only available for a period of 14 days when using handwriting recognition. On the other hand, converting printed documents to text does not have any kind of restriction.
Benefits of Simple OCR Software:
- Configure Simple OCR to read scanned documents straight from the scanner.
- OCR application provides users with some form of control when converting scanned images to text, i.e. you can choose to ignore some parts of the documents or select specific parts of the document to convert into text.
- Simple OCR offers you a chance to save the converted text into either .doc or .txt format.
Free OCR considers the best open source OCR engine 0ver the net. It utilizes Tesseract OCR engine, which the OCR engine was developed at HP Labs between 1985 and 1995 and currently with Google.
It has a simple Windows interface and able to extract text from most image file, multi-page TIFF files, PDF formats and also compatible with TWAIN devices like scanners.
Free OCR v3 requires Microsoft Net 2.0 framework and support Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7
Besides that, there are plenty of online OCR software that allows you to convert scanned PDF documents (including multipage files), faxes, photographs or digital camera captured images into editable and searchable electronic documents including Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Rtf, Html and Txt.
Web Based Optical Character Recognition – OCR Software List:
1. Free Online OCR – free service that allows you to easily convert scanned documents, faxes, screenshots and photos into editable and searchable text, such as DOC, TXT or PDF. The service is completely free and you don’t need to register or install anything on your computer. Just select an image file and click Convert. You can immediately download the resulting document. It supports PDF, GIF, BMP, JPEG, TIFF or PNG as input and Supports DOC, PDF, TXT or RTF as output
2. Free OCR – Online OCR (Optical Character Recognition) takes JPG, GIF, TIFF BMP or PDF to extract texts. However, the scanned images can’t be larger than 2MB, no wider or higher than 5000 pixels.
The best of Free OCR can handle images with multi-column text and also supports more languages: Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese.
3. Online OCR – Web OCR recognizing text and characters from PDF scanned documents, photographs and digital camera captured images. Free Online OCR service supports 32 recognition languages.
When looking for the best OCR application software to use, it is important to evaluate the needs for the software. This will enable you to get an application that is more versatile, i.e. it can work with all file types and convert images to text from both printed and handwritten documents.
Check out More details about OCR on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_character_recognition