Best desktop app (not free)
- Omnipage for instance, costs $150, but is especially good at recognizing different languages.
- Adobe Acrobat Pro DC costs an eye-watering $400 but has incredible accuracy.
- ABBYY FineReader costs $150, but is fantastic at converting documents such as magazines and brochures into searchable text.
The site claims to be able to support PDF, GIF, BMP, JPEG, TIFF, and PNG as input. Outputs can either be DOC, a PDF text document, RTF, and TXT.
The tool recognizes over 60 languages, can handle multi-column layouts (by removing the formatting), has no file-size limits, can convert uploaded files and from URLs. And you don’t need to register to use this tool either.
The service works by simply extracting the text from your image, then outputting unformatted text. You can quickly correct any mistakes in the side-by-side view, before copying the text to other programs, or downloading as DOC, PDF, or HTML.
Online OCR currently supports 46 different languages, and can convert PDF, JPG, BMP, TIFF, and GIF into Word, Excel, or Plain Text format. The site claims “converted documents look exactly like the original — tables, columns and graphics”.
The version you can use without registering allows you to convert up to 15 images per hour (5mb limit). If you sign up for an account, you can purchase more pages on top of this limit, while also being able to convert multi-page documents and ZIP archives, too.
Absolutely fantastic results from Online OCR. The only downside I see is that there’s no way to download the converted documents as PDFs as the output formats mentioned include DOCX, XLSX, and TXT only.
ABBYY FineReader Online (10-Page Trial)
As mentioned earlier, ABBYY is one of the market leaders in OCR software, costing around $150 for their full, downloadable program. They do offer a 10-page free trial for their online tool, though (registration required). For a $5 subscription, their online tool will allow you to convert 200 pages every month.
Google drive (see below)
Scan & Manage Your Receipts
There are some excellent apps out there for scanning paper to file, regardless of which operating system you use.
The Best Mobile Scanning Apps of 2016:
I decided to use Evernote’s Scannable app (Free on iOS
for android, see:
Camscanner (free without OCR).
Not everybody knows about Google Drive’s scanning capabilities, so if you have the app they may come as a pleasant surprise. All you need to do is tap Add New and you should see the option to scan.
As you’d expect, your scans are automatically stored on your Drive (in PDF format), but what you might not expect from a free app is Drive’s built-in optical character recognition. That means your scans are searchable for specific words or phrases, which can be an enormous time saver.
Scan Smarter Using A Document Scanner...