OCR software makes it possible to digitize valuable information stored in paper documents and images. That way, they can be edited, shared and stored electronically.
You can even convert a scanned image into an editable document that you can use as a template for future documents.
But before you start scanning your files, you’ll need to choose OCR software that suits your needs.
In this article, we’ll offer 11 recommendations for the best OCR software on the market.
Best OCR Software
What Are OCR Software
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. It is a technology that converts images into text. You can use it to convert your scanned documents into editable text files on your computer.
OCR software can be used for various purposes such as creating digital signatures, registering a copyright, scanning into PDF or XPS files, etc.
OCR is an expensive process and requires special software to accomplish this.
Some OCR tools may be better suited for you than others, depending on your requirements and budget.
OCR Software – Introduction
The most common use for OCR software is to digitize books, magazines and other printed material. The information can then be indexed and searched for things like data mining.
If you’ve ever used a search engine that lets you search for text inside a PDF file, then you have already used OCR software.
OCR software is also commonly used by law enforcement agencies to digitize raw CCTV footage so that it can be analyzed by their software systems.
OCR software works by breaking down a scanned image into pixels.
Each pixel has some brightness and color value associated with it. The software then tries to determine what character the pixels represent based on these values and reconstructs the text from the image.
This is particularly challenging when dealing with handwritten documents as opposed to printed documents as there are no defined edges to the characters.
The second challenge is dealing with noise – uneven lighting and background noise in the image can make it difficult for the OCR software to recognize characters correctly.
What is the Best OCR Software?
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software allows you to scan documents and convert text into a word processing document.
OCR is a common way to digitize printed texts so that they can be electronically searched, stored more compactly, displayed on-line, and used in machine processes such as machine translation, text-to-speech, key data, and text mining.
To make sure you get the most useful and productive OCR Software for your business, you need to compare different products on the market.
Choose the application that best answers your most crucial issues, not the software with the highest number of features.
Our team put a lot of effort to review all the popular OCR Software products out there, but these three deserved our special attention: Readiris Pro, Free OCR to Word and ABBYY Screenshot Reader.
Nanonets is a deep-learning platform that enables you to build and deploy computer vision models. It helps businesses automate their processes by helping them identify information from images and videos.
One of the most common applications of Nanonets is to help identify people in images, especially in eCommerce. The retail industry is also using Nanonets to automate inventory tracking.
If you are a retailer with a medium-sized store, Nanonets can help you keep track of the number of people entering your store during business hours.
You can set up your own custom computer vision model that will watch your surveillance feeds and keep count of how many people are in your store at all times.
Nanonets makes it easy to build and deploy computer vision models. It provides an end-to-end solution to train, host, and deploy custom deep learning models without having to deal with all the infrastructure setup.
Here are some of the great things that you can do with Nanonets:
- Train your ML models on the cloud, eliminating the need for processing power, data storage and other hassles of running a deep learning pipeline on-premise.
- Gain insights into how your model is performing using confusion matrix, ROC curves and class-wise performance metrics like Precision and Recall.
- Manage your model deployment configurations from one single place.
- Deploy your ML models to the cloud in either of the two modes: Synchronous mode and Asynchronous mode.
Nanonets is the only tool that allows you to train your model without writing a single line of code.
Nanonets provides easy to use APIs for shipping and object detection. It takes care of the burden of creating bounding boxes for you. All you need to do is upload labeled images.
You can retrain your models as often as you want to with our APIs. There is no limit whatsoever. We provide a free plan so you can try out our product.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a complete solution for working with PDF documents. It can be used to create, convert, edit and protect PDF files.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is an important tool for working with PDFs from official Adobe software.
PDF is the abbreviation for Portable Document Format, which was developed by Adobe Systems to provide a universal file format that preserves the appearance of the document regardless of the platform or device on which it is viewed.
The main advantage of this format is that it allows you to save all the details of the original document.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC has a number of new features, including tools for creating PDF portfolios, sending large files via e-mail and protecting documents with passwords.
The application includes tools for converting Web pages into PDF files in one click. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC also allows you to fill out forms, add comments, and add stamps and signatures to documents. A new feature has been added.
Document Cloud Services is a new feature that allows you to work with PDF documents anywhere – on your desktop computer or mobile device.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC has an efficient new interface and some major improvements in OCR and text-editing, and Adobe’s Document Cloud service also includes built-in PDF signing and routing.
The application is widely regarded as the standard in its field – and for good reason. It allows you to edit documents virtually, convert them into other formats, share them with collaborators, and keep track of comments from multiple reviewers.
1.Create PDFs from any file.
2. Edit scanned documents.
3. Export PDFs to Word or Excel.
4. Convert web pages to interactive PDFs.
5. Add multimedia to your PDF files.
OmniPage Ultimate by Kofax is a standalone application for Windows that enables you to process scanned pages and image files and convert them into editable formats.
This tool is able to convert documents from over 120 different languages. With OmniPage Ultimate by Kofax, you can also transform your scanned pages into key-editable PDFs and into Word files with one click.
The software also allows you to convert speech recordings into text.
You can use this tool to convert documents from over 120 languages. The application enables you to recognize text that is printed within pictures captured with your mobile device or digital camera.
The picture will be converted into an editable document file in one of the available output formats.
OmniPage Ultimate 18 by Kofax is an all-in-one OCR and PDF software application. This ultimate version of OmniPage is easy to use, which makes it easy to transform paper, image files and PDF files into documents you can edit in your favourite PC applications.
With OmniPage Ultimate you can create PDF files that can be searched, shared, navigated and archived. Process files from a scanned image, existing PDF or camera photo andcontrol the security of your output file for private information.
- Save time with automatic document conversion and layout retention.
- Work more productively with PDF documents.
- Benefit from the most accurate document conversions available.
- Recreate the format and layout of your original document without retyping.
- Enjoy support for a wide range of languages, including English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
FineReader PDF 15 is a complete PDF solution that lets you work with PDFs more efficiently.It offers powerful OCR technology, which recognizes and converts text from images and paper documents into editable formats.
FineReader PDF 15 is an all-in-one tool for editing, converting, and creating PDFs. You can use it to modify a document’s layout or format, convert it to another file type, or create a new PDF from scratch.
FineReader PDF 15 also lets you extract data from tables in scanned or digital documents. You can copy data automatically within the program or export it to Excel, CSV or XML files. Its batch-processing feature lets you convert large volumes of files at once.
Convert paper documents with ease – FineReader PDF 15 recognizes over 200 languages in any combination plus covers 190 countries’ legislation styles. Edit, annotate and protect your PDFs – FineReader is all you need for working with your document in one place.
- Advanced image pre-processing. Get crisp, clear scans – every time.
- Unparalleled recognition accuracy and conversion capabilities.
- Automate your workflows and save even more time.
- PDF editing made easy.
- Make quick edits to PDFs, including text and graphics, right in the program.
- One-click document comparison. Compare documents, analyze changes and redact sensitive information in a single click
1. It’s extremely accurate
As the original pioneer of AI-based OCR technology, ABBYY has been innovating for over 25 years and has won multiple awards for its text recognition engines.
Every new release is tested against the previous one to ensure the accuracy is at least 95%.
2. It’s fast
Using multi-core CPUs, FineReader can read up to 400 pages per minute and convert scans in literally seconds.
If you’re just converting a few pages, it will be done in a blink of an eye.
3. It has a very simple user interface
You can edit your PDFs right inside the program, even if you’ve never edited a PDF before. It supports over 200 languages.
FineReader supports all major European languages, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian (including Cyrillic).
4. FineReader doesn’t require any additional software to get started
So you can use it straight out of the box and install any updates, as they become available through automatic update checks or from the ABBYY website.
Readiris 16 for Windows is an optical character recognition (OCR) software package that converts an image, a PDF file, or a scanned document into a fully editable text document.
The program retains the original document’s format and layout, including columns, tables, bullets, italics and graphics.
Readiris 16 can recognize text in more than 130 languages.
The program guides you through the process of scanning a document or opening one that is already on your computer.
After scanning and recognizing what’s on the page, you can choose from several output options:
- Export it as a PDF file with or without editable text;
- convert it to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other popular formats;
- or export it as an HTML file for posting on the Web.
You can also save the image as JPG or PNG files.
Readiris 16’s accuracy was excellent in our tests. We tested it with printed documents and hand-written notes and were impressed with its accuracy for both plain text and formatted documents.
SimpleOCR is a popular freeware OCR program. SimpleOCR claims to have a 100% accuracy rate on text when using the default settings.
While that may not always be true for documents you convert, the software does typically do an excellent job of recognizing text in scanned documents and PDF files.
If you need to convert a lot of scanned documents into editable text, SimpleOCR can save you countless hours of retyping and reformatting.
There are two versions available: one that’s free for personal use, and a paid version with additional features like saving in Word formats and spellchecking.
SimpleOCR is the popular freeware OCR software with hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. SimpleOCR is also a royalty-free OCR SDK for developers to use in their custom applications.
If you have a scanner and want to avoid retyping your documents, SimpleOCR is the fast, free way to do it. The SimpleOCR freeware is 100% free and not limited in any way.
Here’s a list of some SimpleOCR features:
- Scans images and saves them in text format.
- Recognizes fax images.
- Recognizes multipage TIFF images.
- Recognizes multi-column text in newspapers, magazines, and other documents.
- Import image formats such as JPEG, GIF, TIFF, and BMP
- Export as plain text or UNICODE text files.
- Supports English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese languages (and more).
- Recognizes English and French text. supports most scanners and cameras.
- Designed for easy recognition of hand-printed material.
- Supports multi-page documents.
- Supports page layout analysis, which is useful for processing faxes and scanned documents.
Tesseract is a free open-source OCR software. This software is mainly used to recognize text in languages other than English. It supports more than 100 languages.
The following are the chief features of Tesseract:
- Highly accurate.
- Supports ASCII/UTF-8 and Unicode.
- Tesseract has the ability to extract text from images that are rotated at an angle.
- It can work with multi-column documents.
Microsoft OneNote is a powerful note-taking application that gives you the ability to capture, store and share notes across all of your devices. Microsoft Office users will find that it integrates well with other Office applications.
OneNote supports drag-and-drop functionality, so you can easily move images, text boxes and other objects around your notes. The beauty of OneNote is that it doesn’t limit you to one way of taking notes.
You can type them out or handwrite them using a stylus. You can even record audio notes.
The app is available on all major platforms, including Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. OneNote notebooks are stored in the cloud with Microsoft OneDrive, which means you can access them from any device linked to your Microsoft account.
This also makes it easy for teams to collaborate on projects by sharing a notebook and working together in real-time.
OneNote has a lot of features that make it useful for both home and business users.
Create collaborative notebooks for teams or groups Record audio notes Embed files into notes.
OneNote can also be used to organize your life and keep track of important deadlines. For example, you can create custom notebooks and pages to serve as a digital recipe box, project planner or school notebook.
OneNote lets you clip all or part of a webpage into a page with one click. You can then add comments, expand the information with new text and images, or share it with others.
Microsoft OneNote is free, and you can use it on Macs and PCs.It’s a great solution for collaborating with other people or working on projects remotely.
Microsoft OneNote is free, and you can use it on Macs and PCs. It works with just about any operating system. You can even access it from your phone. OneNote is backed by Microsoft’s cloud service, Office 365.
It’s a great solution for collaborating with other people or working on projects remotely. OneNote has a powerful search feature that works like Google search. You don’t have to remember which notebook a note is in to find it.
OneNote has the ability to embed files, videos, and audio files inside your notes. You can even embed entire web pages inside a note.
If you use Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint, you can embed an Office document inside OneNote and make changes to it from within your note rather than opening the document in its own window every time you want to make changes.
Amazon Textract is a service that automatically extracts text and data from scanned documents. It goes beyond simple optical character recognition (OCR) to also identify the contents of fields in forms and information stored in tables.
Amazon Textract detects and analyzes text in multiple languages. It also returns the coordinates of each word and table, bounding boxes, lines, form data, key-value pairs, selection elements and relationships between detected items.
All this information allows you to build applications that can search through documents and extract key pieces of information.
You can use Amazon Textract to automate tedious data entry for credit card applications, tax documents, medical forms, business invoices, insurance claims forms and other document types.
Here is a list of Amazon Textract Features:
Document Text Detection
Analyze an input document for text and structured data. The API returns information about the detected document text, including the words that make up the document, their locations and the relationships between them.
Form Data Extraction
Identify and extract fields from documents such as invoices and forms through Optical Character Recognition (OCR). The API returns information about each field, including its type, location and value.
Handwritten Text Detection
Detect text in handwritten documents through Optical Character Recognition (OCR). The API returns information about each word in the document, including its location on the page.
Amazon Textract doesn’t require any machine learning experience. The Textract API works entirely automatically, so all you need to do is send it files and get back the processed content.
There’s no need to train the software or fine-tune the results. Amazon Textract can be used with a variety of document types. While it’s particularly good at extracting data from tables, you can use it on forms, labels, receipts, and more.
You’ll get precise results no matter what type of document you use. Amazon Textract works with multiple languages and scripts.
Most OCR tools work only with Latin characters and English words, but Amazon Textract supports over 100 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic to name just a few examples.
10. Google Docs
Google Docs is a free online application that allows users to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
Google Docs is available as a web application supported on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari web browsers.
It is also available as a mobile app for Android and iOS.
You can create and edit documents with collaborators in real-time using the Google Docs website or mobile app. Changes are automatically saved as you type.
With Google Docs you create and edit text documents, tables, images, and drawings in your web browser. You can also import existing files from your computer into Google Docs.
You can share your documents with others so they can view, edit or leave comments on your documents.
You can also see who else is viewing or editing a document in real-time and chat with other viewers or editors while you work.
Google Docs can be accessed from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.
- Easy to create and edit documents on the go.
- Allows multiple users to edit the same document from anywhere in the world real-time.
- Provides hundreds of free templates for use.
- Has various add-ons that can be used to automate certain tasks and add features.
Rossum is an artificial intelligence (AI) service provider for data entry automation and intelligent document processing.
Rossum’s AI allows businesses to automate data extraction from invoices, receipts, purchase orders and other documents.
It can also be integrated with cloud services like Box, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive.
Automating document processing with artificial intelligence enables companies to lower operational costs and speed the time-to-value of documents received from customers or partners.
Rossum offers a web interface for checking the quality of extracted data, bulk uploading documents using the ZIP uploader, and a REST API for integration.
- Effortless setup
- Connect to your existing systems and start processing documents in minutes.
- Increase productivity
- Smart data extraction technology makes it easy for anyone to extract data.
- Easy collaboration
- Verified data is automatically shared with other systems.
What Features Do You Need in OCR Software?
Finding the right OCR software for your needs can be a daunting task because there are so many options available. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
OCR software is designed to save time and money by eliminating manual data entry and document management tasks. Within every organization, there are dozens of ways that OCR software can help you manage documents more efficiently.
The key is knowing which features to look for. Here’s an overview of the most useful capabilities in OCR software:
Automatic Document Separation
Document separation is the first step in accurate OCR processing.
It’s important that your OCR software has this capability, so you can separate different types of documents like invoices, checks, and remittance documents without having to perform manual sorting.
Look for an OCR program that preserves the formatting of your original document after it has been digitized, including tables, columns, and other special formatting.
Look for a program with an accuracy rate of 99% or higher so you don’t have to spend time correcting mistakes made by the OCR program.
OCR Software – Frequently Asked Questions
What is OCR software?
OCR software stands for Optical Character Recognition Software. It converts images of typed, handwritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. This allows you to search, edit and share the file.
Which file formats does OCR software support?
OCR software can convert scanned images of a variety of formats including jpg, png, gif, bmp and tiff into text files such as docx, odt and pdf. A good OCR program will also allow you to convert documents in other formats such as .xlsx and .txt.
What are the benefits of OCR software?
It makes it easy to search through and edit large amounts of information. It makes it possible to create searchable PDFs that have selectable text.
You don’t have to type out all this information manually in order to use it.
Can I use OCR software to scan books?
Yes! OCR software can convert an image of a book page into an editable Word Document or PDF file.
Best OCR Software – Wrapping Up
We’ve now reached the end of our list of the best OCR software. So which one makes the most sense to you? Here’s a quick recap of each option and its key strengths.
Best Overall OCR Software: ABBYY FineReader
FineReader is perfect if you need to scan a batch of documents and convert them to editable text files or PDFs.
It also has some of the best built-in editing tools, letting you tweak your files before saving them.
Best for Optical Character Recognition Without Limits: Readiris 17
Readiris 17 lets you convert as many pages as you want for free, which isn’t something every OCR application can claim.
However, it does have a few limitations compared to other options like ABBYY FineReader.
Best Free OCR Software: Google Drive
The fact that Google Drive is cloud-based means that it’s accessible from any device with an internet connection and all your uploaded documents will be stored online, as well as on your computer.
Best Open Source OCR Software: Tesseract
Tesseract is our favorite open-source OCR software because it’s faster than any other we tried.