Best OCR Software: Offline and Online Options

Best OCR SoftwareAlthough businesses are largely transitioning to digital processes and a digital way of working, paper is still prevalent. Use OCR software to convert scan to text and transfer all the paper-based documents into the digital form.

OCR stands for Optical character recognition. Such software as OCR converter uses advanced algorithms to automatically scan and detect hand-written text in documents (mostly PDF, also JPG and PNG) and translate it into digital formats that can be edited as regular text.

Using an OCR software, you can scan paper-based document that may be saved as PDF’s or image files and transform them into editable files like Word or TXT documents. This provides brilliant flexibility, but also reduces your reliance on paper. Some businesses may even use OCR applications to transition to a paperless operation.

In this article, we look at five of the best OCR software available for your benefit.

1. PDF Candy – online OCR tool and OCR software for Windows

PDF Candy Desktop

PDF Candy is an excellent set of both free online OCR tool and software. The service and the software have multiple features and options to work with PDF files including the “OCR PDF” tool. One can convert PDF to Word, scan documents using advanced OCR software and select the OCR language to get the best results.

PDF Candy Desktop and web version to OCR online both have excellent layout and are easy to use. The program has a main toolbar which shows the main functions, but also a tiled display of the different actions available.

The OCR software of PDF Candy is accurate and provides a smooth scanning process. It is a great tool if you’re in need to OCR PDF quickly and hassle-free.

OS: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista; web-based
Licensing: Online OCR tool is free; software has Shareware license, $29.95/lifetime
File Size: 141 MB
Our Rating: 10 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Modern, user-friendly layout
  • Simple OCR PDF process
  • Use OCR online and offline
  • Wide range of file formats and conversion options
  • Speed of online OCR process depends on your Internet speed

2. Abbyy FineReader – multifunctional OCR software

Abbyy FineReader

Abbyy FineReader is an excellent tool that features the OCR option and has a simple interface. The layout is user friendly and has a simple main menu where you can select different functions like open PDF, scan to text and compare.

Each process of the OCR software is easy to use and follows a tutorial. Furthermore, there is a help section with guides on how to use the different features including editing PDF, organizing pages, merging and more.

The OCR PDF functionality is advanced and produces excellent results. You can scan directly from a camera or external scanner. Alternatively, you can open pre-existing documents that are already scanned onto your device.

In addition to the basic scanning, you can compare documents, and add annotations too. File formats supported include PDF, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Word. This is a comprehensive program and one of the best OCR software available.

OS: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7; Mac
Licensing: Trialware, $119 for the personal lifetime license
File Size: 357 MB
Our Rating: 9 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Extremely simple interface
  • Several supported export formats
  • High quality OCR
  • Must purchase a license depending on usage

3. Kofax OmniPage Ultimate – convert images and PDF to DOC efficiently

Kofax OmniPage Ultimate

There are two versions of OmiPage OCR software – the standard package and ultimate. The standard package is OK but it does have limited features. If you want a fully functioning OCR application that works with PDF files and images, the Ultimate version is a must-have. It does come at an increased price tag, however.

OmniPage Ultimate is used by some of the biggest companies to turn scan to text and has a great reputation. This is based on its amazing performance fast speeds, and high degree of accuracy. If you are a large corporation requiring thousands of documents scanning, this is a great option to OCR PDF files.

In addition to this, OmniPage Ultimate is packed full of useful features that improve its functionality. You can edit scanned documents and export them to a myriad of different file formats. For large businesses, this is definitely one of the best OCR software available.

OS: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7
Licensing: Trialware, $499
File Size: 515 MB
Our Rating: 8 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Extremely fast OCR PDF processing time
  • Huge array of features
  • Highly accurate conversions
  • Very expensive OCR software
  • Standard version has limited features

4. Readiris – program that can OCR PDF and features PDF editor

Readiris OCR Application

Readiris is another contender for best OCR software. This program is a little expensive, therefore it may not be suitable for small business usage. That being said, it has an excellent OCR process that scans and reads documents in lightning fast times.

The OCR application layout uses several main panels and tabs – it looks modern and works effectively. You can quickly perform different tasks like scanning new documents direct from external devices or opening current documents to be read. You can not only turn your scan to text but also you can convert PDF to DOC and other output formats, add annotations and comments to PDF, sign PDFs and protect them with passwords.

We feel this OCR software is best suited for larger businesses that have a huge volume of documents to be processed. The excellent processing speeds will allow you to complete the scanning quickly and with a high degree of accuracy.

OS: Windows, Mac
Licensing: Trialware, paid version starts at $49
File Size: 425 MB
Our Rating: 8 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Stylish but functional interface
  • Comprehensive set of OCR features
  • Option to add watermarks
  • Quite expensive

5. Rossum – online OCR tool for invoices

Rossum OCR Software

Rossum is an interesting web-based application that is primarily used to OCR PDF invoices. It has advanced OCR software that has been tailored specifically to scan and read business invoices.

If you require OCR converter for invoicing and want to digitize your payment systems, this is the best OCR software available for you. The online OCR application looks fantastic and is easy to follow. You can quickly import and scan documents.

Furthermore, it has a myriad of tracking options so you can see which invoices need reviewing or processing.

OS: Web-based
Licensing: Trialware, pricing on demand
Our Rating: 7 / 10

Pros Cons
  • Excellent online OCR solution
  • Brilliant for organizing invoices
  • Limited for invoice scanning only

We hope you have found this guide on the best OCR software valuable. OCR is a handy tool for any business. Using such a program allows for the easy scanning and editing of written documents. Sometimes using paper, or hand-written items is unavoidable.

It is therefore ideal to have a OCR PDF tool available, so that you can convert PDF to DOC and edit these documents if necessary. When choosing a suitable OCR program, remember to look at the different licenses available, and if there are any limitations on the number of documents you can scan. Furthermore, be sure to look at the available export options, and the file formats the software supports. If you don’t want to scan to turn scan to text and you need to edit PDF right away then check our review of the best PDF editors.

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