The first question that springs to mind when terms like OCR come around is “What is an OCR?” In order to answer that firstly we need to know what it stands for. OCR stands for optical character recognition. It’s a modern service that is provided with the help of software. OCR software can identify and pick up text from images or non-editable files such as PDF files. Please read on to see which is the Best OCR Software.
OCR technology can be pretty useful if you are looking to turn old documents into a word document or even a whole book into an editable form. There are various categories of such OCR utilities available over the web and they vary from each other on the basis of features, quality and price. Free OCR to Word enables you to extract text from an image in which the quality of the text is not good or the text is exceptionally small. This can help you in converting old transcripts into word documents.
- Best Free OCR Software
- Best Value OCR Software
- Best Online OCR Tools
- Step-by-Step How to OCR
|Price||Input Formats||Ease of Use||Accuracy||Speed||Security||Usability||Help & Support||Text Editing||Scanner Associated||Word Output|
|Free OCR to Word||Free||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)|
|FreeOCR||Free||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)||(4 / 5)|
|Boxoft Free OCR||Free||(2.5 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(2 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)|
|Microsoft OneNote||Free||(3.5 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)|
|ABBYY FineReader||$169.99+||(5 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)|
|Evernote||$69.99+/Y||(4 / 5)||(3.5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(3.5 / 5)||(5 / 5)|
|Readiris Pro||$99+||(5 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)||(3.5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)|
|Adobe Acrobat Pro||$12.99-14.99+/M||(5 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)||(3.5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)|
|OmniPage||$59.99+||(5 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(4.5 / 5)||(5 / 5)|
|Google Drive||Free||(3.5 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(3.5 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(5 / 5)||(3.5 / 5)||(3.5 / 5)|
|Online OCR||Free||(3 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(3 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(4 / 5)||(2 / 5)|
Best OCR Software 2018 – Top Free, Value & Online Picks
Free OCR to Word is the best free OCR software that scores exceptionally well when it comes to accuracy. According to experts it is accurate up to 98%. Its ability to accept any format gives you a wide room to use a huge range of formats as a source while playing your role in any diverse work environment. The interface is simple but effective. Free OCR to Word is totally free without any hidden charges or prompts for luring the users to install a paid version. It offers a lot of value considering its cost. It’s far better and reliable than any other online service once you get used to it.
There are no ads or other such nonsense to bother you while using it which makes the user experience delightful and enjoyable.
For a simpler OCR software option, you should look no further than FreeOCR. This free OCR tool, like all the others on the list, is very easy to use. It is capable of obtaining scanned documents and allows you to upload images that have text as well. FreeOCE can even handle extractions from multi-page, heavily formatted documents. Like with other programs, you can choose to extract all found text, or select specific portions to focus on. For simple jobs, FreeOCR is a great application and will help you to extract text from different files with ease.
- Limited features
- Only available for Windows
Boxoft Free OCR is a free-ware based application that easily extracts text from various file formats, including TIF, GIF, JPG, PCX, BMP, ICO, PNG, WMF, EMF, TGA, and even RAW image formats. The program is incredibly easy to use and install, and allows users to edit scanned images for better extraction results. The program also recognizes a number of different languages like English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, and Portuguese to name a few. Boxoft Free OCR is another good option for those looking for a simpler extraction tool, without having to pay a hefty fee.
- Accepts multiple file formats
- Recognizes multiple languages
- Windows only
- Has not been updated in recent years
OneNote is another popular note-taking application that is popular with students and professionals alike. One of the great features that the program offers is OCR capabilities, which allows for basic text extraction. Like most of the applications on this list, performing a text extraction on an image is extremely straightforward. One just has to add a picture to a file and select the “Copy Text from Picture” option, and then paste it wherever you want.
- Limited tool options
- Does not do complex layouts
In terms of best value OCR softwares, ABBYY FineReader may just be one of the best ones you can possibly find. With ABBYY, extracting text from scanned files and images could not be any simpler, even with all the features it has to offer. This application can extract the text from some of the most popular image formats, like PNG, JPG, BMP, and TIFF and can also extra text from file formats like PDFs and DJVU files. All you have to do is upload a high-resolution image or file for the program to analyze, and then select which portions of extractable text you want saved. Extraction is flawless through ABBYY’s program, even with more complex files. To get the best OCR software on the market, you want to go with the ABBYY FineReader.
|Price||$169.99+(free trial available)|
- Offers a number of tools for uploading
- Can save in different file formats
- Some advanced options are not very clearly defined
Since it was first created, Evernote has become one of the most popular note-taking applications around. But, as the years have gone, they have added newer & more advanced tools for users to use. One such tool is their OCR tool that allows for image-recognition. The Evernote OCR tool can take PNG, JPG, and GIF images files and find the text within to make it searchable. Whatever extractable text the program finds will remain hidden, however, until that specific note is exported as a ENEX file. This feature can work with typed and handwritten text, although they need to be in a specific orientation in order for it to work.
|Price||Free or $69.99+/year|
- Recognizes 28 typed languages and 11 handwritten
- Free users can still use it
- Free OCR conversions can take a lot of time
- Cannot create text version of images
- Not as many features as full OCR software
Readiris Pro is another full-featured, professional-grade OCR software that is not only extremely powerful, but also very easy-to-use. It is extremely similar to the ABBYY FineReader program in terms of the different file formats that it supports for extraction. Additionally, Readiris also does not have a problem with processing images that may be a lower resolution. Additionally, you can save extracted files in different formats and even different services, like DropBox, OneDrive, GoogleDrive, and many more. When it comes down to it, Readiris is an equally powerful OCR software when compared to the ABBYY FineReader, at a more affordable price.
|Price|| $99+(10-day free trial)
- Allows for different file formats
- Not as expensive as others
- Can scan barcodes
- Struggles with extracting complex document layouts
Although Adobe Acrobat is not an OCR software it, like Evernote, is capable of finding text within a scanned documents and creating searchable, editable PDF documents. With Acrobat, you can automatically convert any scanned documents quickly and accurately, saving you from having to type things word-by-word. Additionally, you can generate custom fonts that will match the font found in the original document, so it will look the same. Acrobat will also allow you to copy and paste documents into other applications or save it as a searchable smart PDF.
7-day free trial
- Copies fonts from original document
- Automatic Conversion
- Standard only for Windows
- Not as feature-rich as other programs
Finally, there is OmniPage, a powerful, full-featured OCR software on the same level as ABBYY FineReader. OmniPage has two versions, which both are capable of extracting text from various versions of PDF files, as well as different image formats. Additionally,
OmniPage is easy for anyone to use, and can handle more complex document layouts, such as tables, columns, lists, and even graphics. Additionally, there are image editing tools that allow for you to edit an image for clarity, to ensure optimal extraction.
- Can handle complex layouts
- Supports 120 languages
- Windows only
- Other versions are expensive
Another free, online extraction tool can be found in Google’s Drive application. While most people simply use Google Drive to upload and store documents and files, it also offers some basic OCR capabilities as well. With Google Drive, all you have to do to extract text from a PDF or image is upload it to the Drive, and then open it in Google Docs. This is another simple and free option that does not require anything more than a Google account to use.
- Not many features
Another free OCR option is Online OCR, a web-based OCR service which allows you to convert scanned documents and textual images into modifiable digital files. Online OCR is incredibly easy to use; you just need to upload the file you are converting, choose the input language, and the output format, and convert it. Input options for Online OCR include PDF, JPG, BMP, TIFF, and GIF files, while output options are DOCX, XLSX, and TXT. For small file and image conversions, Online OCR is a great option that will get the job done quickly and easily.
- Recognizes a number of languages
- Lacks editing tools
- Limited output options
- 5MB file limit
- Need an account to use additional features
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best OCR Software
The main things to look for while choosing OCR software are as under
- It should be easy to use for everyone, no matter pro or first timer.
- Competitive OCR software should be able to recognize text from any image no matter what the format because in effect there are only a few formats. It should also be able to handle PDF files.
- Good OCR software must be able to recognize and extract software no matter if the image quality is low or the text is too small.
- It should be focused on a better user experience rather than just being functional.
Best Free OCR Software Pros
- Free OCR to Word’s highly accurate and offers up to 98% accuracy rating.
- It’s offline software which means it doesn’t require an internet connection for conversion and extraction.
- Its interface is really simple which makes working with Free OCR to Word a breeze.
- It’s greatly higher in accuracy as compared to an online OCR service.
- It works well with all the formats you might come across. To name a few any image no matter if it’s in Jpeg, PNG, BMP etcetera. It reads PDF pretty easily too so you have got pretty much all the bases covered.
- Free OCR to Word is a software which does not contain any malware or additional software you have to install with it.
- It can help you greatly in reducing your document weight literally. The number of files and documents that would require a box or whole cart to carry around can be converted into word documents that can be carried around in a flash drive.
- All these features come without any payment. The software is absolutely free and you can download it easily from their website.
Best Free OCR Software Specialties
What sets Free OCR to Word apart from other such software or services is its ability to do its work so effectively and efficiently. It’s a far better experience than any other online OCR service because of its accuracy and sophistication. It’s completely free and can be downloaded easily.
An online service on the other hand may require you to register with the website first to enter your image containing the text or there might be a case which is quite common that once you have gone through the trouble of extraction the text when it comes to save the file the inline OCR service would ask you to pay in order to get the output file.
- Start with downloading and installing the best OCR software.
2. Now click the open button and select an image file containing text. Or you can use the scan feature to scan printed documents into image files.
3. Now choose the section you want the text to be extracted from.
4. If you want to enlarge, reduce or rotate the text. You can do so using the various tools given in the toolbar.
5. Now if you are satisfied, just click the OCR button and a new button will appear in which you will be able to edit the text you selected. Some new tools will also appear in the toolbar.
6. Now you can click the ‘Export Text into Microsoft Word’ button. This will let you save the extracted text as a word file which can be edited or used later on.
The software itself is pretty easy to use. There is not a lot to its usability. All you have to do is select an image and then all the tools are simple and easy to use. You can edit the extracted text in the OCR software but if something is left undone there is no need to panic because the output file is in word form so you can edit it anytime you want.
Best Free OCR Software
The verdict from me would be in agreement to the title i.e. Free OCR to Word is the best OCR software for free of 2018. It offers excellent usability with all the features and functions of paid software yet it is completely free to use. It does not depend on an internet connection, once you have installed it you are good to go. You can digitize your documents to form a backup or to simply make them easier to carry. Hence you can get a lot of advantages without bearing any cost.
Best Value OCR Software
The best value OCR software goes to ABBYY FineReader. Its expensive but if you want to go pro and invest some bucks in your tools for your serious business, ABBYY is a second-to-none choice.
Best Online OCR Service
Google Drive earn its rank by giving the comparatively limitless OCR feature. It does not include many OCR-related features but for an easy OCR task, it works just as fine.