When you scan a document that has text or numeric data on it, you are able to read and understand what is written in the scanned image. However, to a computer, the resulting image file is just as meaningless an assortment of pixels as a landscape photo. In order to transform this information into an editable format that you can search through, copy, and modify without retyping it manually, you will need the an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.

There is a wide variety of OCR software available. While they all share the ability to convert images of machine printed (not handwritten) text or numbers into an editable format, the various software often have different features, accuracy, prices, and language options.

Arabic OCR, which is the ability to convert some combination of Arabic scripts and Hebrew to editable formats, is a relatively new option that many OCR software still do not support it out of the box. ReadIRIS was the first major OCR application to offer support for Arabic, Hebrew, and Farsi optical character recognition on the PC platform. More recently, ABBYY FineReader has introduced an option for Hebrew and Arabic OCR in version 11.

Both ABBYY and IRIS also offer Arabic OCR options in their enterprise server OCR solutions, FineReader Server and IRISDocument Server. In both cases support for Arabic OCR is optional, so when purchasing be sure to select the correct version. The links below will take you directly to versions that support Arabic OCR.

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ABBYY FineReader 14

FineReader 14 supports Hebrew and Arabic character recognition.

ABBYY FineReader 14 Corporate

FineReader Corporate also supports Hebrew and Arabic character recognition.

ABBYY FineReader Server

Arabic and Hebrew language recognition is included in the newest version of ABBYY FineReader Server.

IRIS ReadIRIS 16 Pro

ReadIRIS 16 Pro now includes Arabic (PC version only), Farsi, and Hebrew character recognition in their base package. No special version or add-on is required.

IRIS ReadIRIS 16 Corporate

Adds the ability to recognize files over 50 pages, business cards and monitor a hot folder to automatically process images in the background.

IRISDocument Arabic Language Pack

Enables Arabic and Farsi character recognition in the IRISDocument high-volume server OCR solution.