The primary purpose of Optical Character Recognition is to quickly and automatically convert scanned images of machine-printed (typed) text – which to a computer are no more meaningful a collection of pixels than any other image, such as a landscape photo – into actual text data that you can search through and modify.

OCR Software comes in many different types, which vary in price range based on their features, speed, and accuracy. One of the main qualities that OCR producers are using to differentiate their products is volume of the documents OCR will allow you to process. That may be a bit counter intuitive but features that are needed to process hundreds, thousands or millions pages a year are rather different ones.

In case of several hundreds of pages (receipts, checks, medical, tax or legal forms, personal memorabilia)  you need to scan for personal use you would need light, highly versatile, easy to use, not expensive software that will convert images just to text. It may not have automation features, and processing data further will be done manually by you. Thou it is not too hard since volume of documents is not very large and you can treat each of them individually.

Small business users usually process thousands of pages a year and require some automation features. Images need to be converted not just to text, but also to spreadsheets to be processed further. Once the system is set up it is assumed that it will run without much of the interference, and people in charge of document processing would be able to do that with certain ease.

Larger companies processing millions of documents require much larger levels of automation when each small, fine tuned feature would save thousands of work hours in a long run. Multiple machines will be processing documents and then all data will be funneled to a database with very specific architecture to be archived or reprocessed further.

OCR software products usually have “Standard”, “Pro”, or “Corporate” addition in its names to designate what user they are tuned to. Unfortunately, each producer understands these words differently and their products are having different features under similar name.

The OCR experts at ScanStore have tested the latest versions of FineReader, OmniPage, ReadIRIS, CVision PDF Compressor, and SimpleOCR and we consider ABBYY FineReader the best overall value for business users, while ReadIRIS is the best OCR software for under $150.

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