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.

You can find the various types of OCR software with a description of each below.

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Freeware OCR

Optical Character Recognition software comes in a variety of types, but the control group to which they are compared are Desktop level OCR software. These give an assortment of features for affordable prices.

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Desktop OCR

Document scanning software lets you scan, name, and organize batches of documents automatically, speeding up processing time while minimizing user input.

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Document Scanning

PDF Converters are similar to but separate from regular OCR software. They offer fewer options, but many of them are able to modify PDF files in other ways, such as reducing the file size and adding security measures.

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PDF Conversions

Converting large batches of files can require a lot of user input to open, validate, and save each file. Batch OCR software can convert entire folders of files on a schedule, eliminating the need for user input.

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Batch OCR

Go paperless with document management software, which let you scan and digitally organize your files using structured folder hierarchies and index values.

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Document Management

The majority of OCR software is written for the Windows platform. A few companies do produce software compatible with MacOS, and while most of these are slightly more limited, this discrepancy is shrinking.

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When one computer doesn’t have enough processing power to quickly convert thousands of files, Server OCR software can intelligently split the tasks among multiple processors, finishing in a fraction of the time.

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Server OCR

Speed up or even automate the recognition and export of machine-typed and hand-printed form data using the latest in enterprise level forms processing software.

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Forms Processing

OCR Guide
Compare most popular choices in one cozy and extensive table