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Best OCR Software

Written by: Stefan Medovarski  | September 22, 2021

Converting information from an image into a document is a tedious and time-consuming task. But OCR software makes that task simple and quick. All it takes is one of the many best OCR software out there to cause this process to be seamless and efficient.

OCR software comes in many forms so choosing the best one can be overwhelming. After all, some software might let you scan invoices and save them in multiple formats, while another features editing those same documents.

An intuitive interface might also have a role in helping you determine which software to pick. Luckily, there is plenty of OCR software to choose from and we'll help you with the selection process based on our research.

Our Top Picks For Best OCR Software

Reviews Of The Best OCR Software From Our Research

Adobe Acrobat DC (Pro)

The Adobe Acrobat Pro DC package is the most complete out of all other OCR software due to how it was conceptualized. First off, the Acrobat DC is part of Adobe's product line, meaning integration with other Adobe software is easy and quick.

Secondly, the Adobe Acrobat DC provides an excellent PDF solution for all your editing and conversion needs. It creates editable text and allows you to convert various documents into Microsoft Office formats and images.

A great feature of the Acrobat software is its ability to recognize and match fonts; once it matches the font, it automatically converts the PDF with that specific font in mind. Finally, Adobe Acrobat comes with a mobile app (with which you can insert, reorder, delete, and rate PDF pages), as well as the Scan app that lets you scan receipts, documents, and more.

All this for almost $15 per month which can be expensive in the long run but isn't too bad compared to other OCR software.

Features

  • $14,99/month
  • ISO Standards
  • Split PDF documents
  • Signature requesting
  • Exporting files to Microsoft Office

Pros

  • Great integration with other Adobe software
  • Automatically extract text from paper documents and convert them into editable text.
  • LAW (Leverage Action Wizard) for customization and PDF creation with keystroke saving
  • Ease of use

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive in the long run
  • Isn't a pure OCR app
  • Requires an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription/license
Snag your quote for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Abbyy FineReader PDF 15

What the Acrobat can't do - the Abbyy FineReader PDF does with ease. And that is an automatic correction of grammar and alignment of the layout elements. This can come in very handy for people who have hundreds of text-based documents to run through but don't have the time to meticulously check each one for errors.

The FineReader PDF also enables protection, digitization, retrieval, and collaboration of documents within the same workflow. Additionally, the software is exceptional when it comes to accuracy and image recognition. Searchable PDFs can be tough to find in such software but not here.

Simply place a comment or two on markups (or reply to existing comments), use the search function, and the software will display relevant results. As a bonus, you can add more than one digital signature to your documents.

Abbyy FineReader PDF 15 is reasonably affordable, coming in at $199/$299 (depending on the price plan) with so many features, hence why it's considered one of the best OCR software out there.

Features

  • $199 or $299 one-time payment
  • Recognition of business cards and receipts
  • Extracted data is converted into XML
  • Split PDF documents
  • Hidden information removal

Pros

  • Great image recognition and accuracy
  • Integration with ERP systems is seamless
  • Extracts data from a document automatically
  • Digital signature verification
  • PDF OCR conversion into various Microsoft Office formats (Word, Excel, etc.)

Cons

  • Virtually no customization options
  • Somewhat challenging to set up
  • Isn't as accurate with low-resolution documents and scanned images
  • Automatic invoice processing is non-existent
Snag your quote for Abbyy FineReader PDF 15.

SimpleOCR

When it comes to free OCR software, most of them have only a few features that you can use. This is entirely understandable since the software is free, but it can be limiting. Having said that, SimpleOCR has a surprising number of features.

For starters, you can process multiple documents with ease using the Batch command. This software also highlights potential text or grammar errors which you can then fix during editing. SimpleOCR has a database of more than 120,000 words, so it should recognize the text efficiently.

Customizing SimpleOCR is a breeze (if you know how to code) because it is open-source, meaning you can theoretically add whatever you want to it.

The only downside is that the free version is pretty 'skinny' compared to the paid versions, but the paid versions are costly for the average person. Still, the free version is great when you're starting out and for some simpler tasks.

Features

  • Free or $25-$2500
  • Image retention (eliminates the need to import images one by one)
  • Batch OCR
  • Error detection and correction
  • TWAIN scanner compliance
  • Open-source

Pros

  • Free for personal use
  • Ability to save converted files in a DOC or TXT editable format
  • Able to extract text with ease
  • The software has access to more than 120k words
  • Can be customized since it's open-source

Cons

  • Struggles with non-standard fonts
  • Paid versions can get incredibly expensive
  • Supports only English and French
Snag your quote for SimpleOCR.

OmniPage Ultimate

OmniPage Ultimate is used by some absolute giant corporations such as Amazon and Ford. There are a few reasons why these companies chose OmniPage Ultimate, mainly flexibility and accuracy. This software is arguably the best when it comes to accuracy and it can adequately detect all kinds of text.

Not only that, but the versatility you have when using it is unparalleled in the industry. Basically, you can convert any paper document into any digital file format with ease and speed. We also need to mention the ability to create custom workflows that ensure all searchable and editable files you get with OmniPage get delivered to the right place, depending on what you need.

Lastly, being able to recognize more than 120 languages means you'd never need any other software to do the job. All of these comprehensive and rich features come at a price - $499 to be exact.

Features

  • $499 one-time cost
  • 120+ languages supported
  • OmniPage Server
  • Conversion of mobile-capture documents
  • Integration with mobile devices and printers

Pros

  • Exceptional accuracy and speed
  • Formatting of initial documents is maintained
  • A vast number of supported languages provides plenty of versatility
  • Wide range of digital format support
  • Convert virtually all document types into any format

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Somewhat unintuitive UI
  • API integration is not the best
Snag your quote for OmniPage Ultimate.

Nanonets

Having the ability to customize your own OCR experience goes a long way in some people's eyes. There's no argument against it. And that's why Nanonets is so good - you might spend more time customizing the software than actually using it!

Jokes aside, Nanonets is very friendly towards the user, meaning you won't have to spend a lot of time learning how to use them. Moreover, it's one of the best choices for extracting info from unstructured data, thanks to its advanced AI-based OCR abilities.

You'll easily be able to digitize chosen documents and prepare them in any way you want. Additionally, the software is quick, precise, and allows users to create custom OCR models from zero. The only issue is that it comes either free (not so many features), costs $499 per month, or is a costly model.

With that said though, Nanonets is one of the most advanced OCR software out there so if you have the cash - you won't need anything else.

Features

  • Free or $499 per model/month
  • 2-way integration with accounting software
  • Model/algorithm training
  • Up to 50 images per text category
  • Optical character recognition (extracting information from images)

Pros

  • Perfect for batch OCR jobs and processing
  • Plenty of customization options
  • Works with multiple languages
  • Loads of integration options
  • Fairly easy to use

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Sometimes software bogs down when converting a couple of documents at the same time.
  • Table capture UI isn't the best.
Snag your quote for Nanonets.

Buyer's Guide For OCR Software

OCR software is a must-have if you need scanned documents, the ability to convert images and export documents, and more. In order to determine exactly which software to choose, you'll have to take a look at all of their features and make a decision based on what your needs are.

The differences between OCR software aren't too large but they are significant enough to influence your purchase choice. In any case, you first need to look at what you (or your company) needs, what file formats you use, how large your budget is (if any), etc.

File Format

If we look at OCR software's primary purpose, which is the ability to convert scanned documents into editable PDF files, it's easy to assume that all OCR software supports the same file formats. Alas, that is not the case.

If you or your company are looking to convert JPEG and PNG images, that's the type of software you need. It's best if you firstly go over the files you have to determine what formats you'll want the software to support.

Accuracy

Whether it's free OCR software or paid, all of them come with a predetermined accuracy. Most of these claim to have between 95% and 99% accuracy; keep in mind that this accuracy refers to 'character errors' and not word errors. So even a 90% accuracy software is a good deal.

Another thing to research or ask the OCR software company is the text scanning specifications. What kind of fonts can the software recognize, can it distinguish and properly convert documents written in handwriting, etc.

Lastly, OCR software's ability to convert PDF files with maximum efficiency depends on the resolution, straightness, discoloration, and brightness of the original document or image. OCR scanning isn't always precise but you can improve its accuracy by providing valid documents (or better yet, documents that fit what the software is looking for).

Price and Features

The best OCR software can be free and paid. It all depends on the number of image files or other types of documents you want to convert. If it's just multiple documents at one time, then your best bet would be free.

Otherwise, paid OCR software comes with a wide variety of features and even multiple languages. In general, document processing is somewhat similar across all OCR software but the extra features from paid versions can come in handy.

Frequently Asked Questions For OCR Software

Is using OCR software difficult?

It isn't inherently difficult as in, it would take a lot of time to use. What can be considered difficult is simply the learning process. Each software has its own UI and methodology so it might take a while until you learn.

In general, you'll very quickly learn how to scan documents, use the various OCR tools, and ultimately create PDFs.

Can OCR software extract text from images such as screenshots?

Yes! Most OCR can achieve this with no difficulty. It basically doesn't matter what type of image documents you want to be converted, as long as the software supports the file format. Getting structured data from various kinds of digital files includes screenshots as well.

The most important part about this is getting editable files that you can then use to create PDF documents. Just make sure what file formats the software supports and you're good to go!

Can a scanned PDF file with images be converted with OCR software?

Yes, it can. Most OCR technology is perfectly capable of converting a scanned document (such as a PDF) into an editable file. These converted files also come out as PDFs but you can edit any piece of extracted data.

The PDF format is widely used in virtually all OCR software as output and input so in a way - it can be considered a 'PDF tool' of sorts.

What are the benefits of using an OCR tool for document processing?

There are plenty of benefits to using OCR software that automatically extracts data:

  1. Accuracy - OCR is a much more accurate system of data entry than doing it by hand. The human error factor is eliminated, thus causing all files to be nigh-perfect upon inspection. OCR accuracy is one of the most important metrics when selecting the software that fits your needs best.
  2. Lowered long-term costs - Usually, you'd have to pay an experienced person to dabble with data extraction. An AI-based OCR software would maybe cost something initially or have a monthly subscription, but in the long run, it's better to invest in OCR than not.
  3. Data processing speed - Whether you're doing some batch processing or single-document conversion, OCR is more than ten times quicker than manual data entry. In addition, scanning paper documents and digitizing them takes almost no time out of your day when using OCR.
  4. Document management - If you like your scanned PDF files nice and orderly organized, then OCR is the helping hand you'd want. What's great about OCR is that it features a searchable files system where you can quickly locate your converted files.

What are the downsides of using advanced OCR to digitize documents?

Although OCR software can automatically detect printed text, export PDFs, and extract data - it's not all sunshine and rainbows.

  1. Potential issues with text conversion - Some OCR programs can't properly convert paper documents if there's handwriting on them. Some fonts can also be impossible to read by the software and you need to keep the text nice and level. Otherwise, the tilt will also cause issues.
  2. Issues with text in scanned images - Unless the image is crystal clear, in high resolution, and the text is clearly visible - the OCR engine usually won't be able to distinguish the text. This can also influence OCR accuracy so make sure your images are high-quality.
  3. Inability to fix spelling errors - Due to its nature, most OCRs cannot properly fix spelling or writing errors from scanned documents. You would have to do this manually through the software itself before exporting the finalized PDF files.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to the advancement of technology, we can easily scan and extract data from various images or PDF documents. OCR has some incredible benefits hence why most companies that deal with documents and paperwork use it today.

With sufficient OCR accuracy and numerous output formats, this software is perfect when you're in a rush and want to get your documents nice and editable!

As for which OCR engine and software is the best - there are multiple 'best ones'. Adobe Acrobat is a great choice but you need a monthly subscription, whilst Tesseract is completely free and perfect for mobile devices.

In the end, as long as the software can convert PDFs and other files, it will be an excellent fit for you. Just make sure that the software supports the file formats you need.

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