How Do You Find the Best OCR Software?

Are you looking for the best OCR software? Find the best OCR software options in this article.

Optical character recognition software, also known as OCR software, scans documents or image files and converts them into text. This process makes it possible for machines to read the document or to turn scanned documents into something that data processing software can read.

During the past few years, businesses have been looking for ways to ramp up digital growth. Paper documents, scanned documents, and PDF files can all be valuable sources of information, but they can also be difficult to track. Scanning and processing invoices, placing numbers in Excel, and uploading images have all been common sources of delays. Now, OCR software may be helpful.

If you are in the market for OCR technology, you will find many different options, from open-source tech to paid software. Here are the programs we believe to be the best OCR software options on the market today.

1. Adobe Acrobat

Pricing: $12.99 a month

Best OCR software: Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat works as a cloud-based program, allowing integration with other Adobe cloud-based programming

Use For: This program works best for converting PDF files into something you can edit.

Adobe Acrobat is considered a top-tier OCR system. This program can convert PDF files and images into editable documents. You can edit the text, change the fonts, and customize them to look just like the original file. 

In addition, Adobe Acrobat works as a cloud-based program, allowing integration with other Adobe cloud-based programming. You can save your documents as smart PDFs you can archive for review later. 

This program makes moving data from one location to another easier, even with PDF files. You can also export the file to Microsoft Office products after the program has done its job.

2. Abbyy FineReader

Pricing: $119.99 for Mac, $199.99 for standard

Best OCR software: ABBY FineReader
Abbyy FineReader scans documents and then converts them into PDFs, Microsoft Office, and other editable formats, depending on the needs

Abbyy FineReader scans documents and then converts them into PDFs, Microsoft Office, and other editable formats, depending on the needs

Use For: Converting paper documents into various formats, including PDFs and editable text files.

Abbyy FineReader provides a comprehensive OCR solution that can take paper documents and organize them in a digital, editable way. With Abbyy FineReader, you get a lightweight program with enough features to work well. The cost is a one-time payment for a perpetual license.

One of the unique features of ABBYY Finereader is that it allows you to compare multiple documents with ease. 

Even though there are a lot of column features, it can be difficult to conduct fast searches using ABBYY Finereader. When I first booted up the program, I realized that there were a lot of features available. It made it a bit difficult to figure out what I was looking for. 

I didn’t like that I was unable to view a history of document changes, but I did find the user interface clear. Once I found what I was looking for, I was off and running. 

3. OmniPage Ultimate

Pricing: $499

Best OCR software: OmniPage Ultimate
OmniPage is particularly well-known for its accuracy and its speed

Use For: Designed for businesses that have scanned and paper documents they need to translate into a digital, editable format.

OmniPage Ultimate from Kofax is designed for businesses. It converts paper documents and scanned images into any digital format you need. It is one of the most robust OCR engines available and has over 120 languages.

OmniPage is particularly well-known for its accuracy and its speed. However, it also makes it easy to automate your processes. Once you have a workflow in place, your documents get automatically delivered where you need them and in the digital format you need, whether an Excel spreadsheet, a Microsoft Word document, or a PDF for Windows or Mac.  

4. Online OCR

Pricing: Free

Best OCR software: Online OCR
This OCR text conversion program is one of the best free OCR software options out there

Use For: Quick, free converting of PDF documents and images into an editable text format.

Online OCR can pick up characters and text from PDF documents and images. You can convert up to 15 images per hour into files that work for data entry, including MS Word, Excel, and plain text (txt) file formats. 

Because it can handle 15 images per hour, this OCR text conversion program is one of the best free OCR software options out there. All you need to do to convert your images is upload them to the online program, and it will turn them into editable text.

5. Readiris

Pricing: $109 for standard, $169 for business

Best OCR software: Readiris
You can convert PDFs, edit them, add comments and notes, or sign them with this tool

Use For: Changing paper documents and images into an editable text format.

Readiris is a simple program that transforms paper documents or images into text you can edit. So rather than retyping everything from your paper docs, you can turn them into digital formats you can use. 

You can convert PDFs, edit them, add comments and notes, or sign them with this tool. It exports files into multiple formats, including PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and Apple-based programs. You can also use the tool to edit the embedded text found in screenshots and other images.

6. Easy Screen OCR

Pricing: Free

Best OCR software: Easy screen OCR
Easy Screen OCR is a free OCR application that can translate images into text and convert them into other languages as well

Use For: Pulling text out of screenshots and editing or translating it.

Easy Screen OCR takes screenshots and turns them into editable text. It is a free OCR application that can translate images into text and convert them into other languages as well. 

With over 100 languages supported, this free tool can be quite beneficial when working with international clients. However, it does not have the same array of features paid OCR programs offer. For example, it only converts screenshots, not other image files.

7. Cisdem PDF Converter

Pricing: Free

Best OCR software: Cisdem
The program also works in the reverse, turning other file types into PDFs

Use For: Turn PDFs into documents. You can search and create PDFs from documents in Word, PowerPoint, HTML, and other formats.

Cisem PDF Converter is a simple tool that lets you keep the original formatting of your PDF while converting it to an editable or searchable file format, like MS Office documents or iWork. The program also works in the reverse, turning other file types into PDFs.

8. Soda PDF

Pricing: $6.75 a month for standard

Best OCR software: Soda PDF
The tool readily recognizes text in any scanned document or image

Use For: Turn paper documents into PDF files you can edit.

With Soda PDF, you can scan your paper documents and change them into PDF files you can transform by changing font, style, and size. It can also change PDF files into plain text. In addition, the tool readily recognizes text in any scanned document or image.

9. Nanonets

Pricing: Free for individual use, $499 a month for business use

Best OCR software: Nanonets
This OCR allows the user to annotate the scanned documents

Use For: Ideal for small and mid-sized businesses that need more automation.

NanoNets is a web-based OCR program that converts scanned documents into usable formats. It takes just a few hours to complete the tasks and also allows you to extract information directly from images. In addition, this OCR allows the user to annotate the scanned documents.

The program has the ability to process ID cards, invoices, and receipts. It uses machine learning image processing as well as deep learning to identify important information and structured data. 

It also allows individuals to build custom models from scratch. It comes with a wide variety of integrations that make it easier to handle multiple document types. As a result, even though this is one of the newer options on the market, it has already become very popular.

When I started up the program, I was impressed at how easy it was to navigate. It did not require an in-house team, and the algorithms were very straightforward. I had my choice of a wide variety of integrations, and it can handle multiple languages, including Japanese.

On the other hand, the program wasn’t able to handle very high volumes, and I noticed that the user interface for table capture could be easier to understand. 

10. FineScanner

Pricing: Unspecified

Best OCR software: FineReader
You can use it to convert scanned documents, open books, and PDF files

Use For: Scanning receipts and other documents on the go with your Apple device.

The FineScanner smart scanner captures documents and books and converts them into a format you can search. You can use it to convert scanned documents, open books, and PDF files. The output from the converter is easy to share with others.

11. Kofax Omnipage

Pricing: There are multiple pricing levels, with Omnipage standard starting at $149 to install on two machines.

Best OCR software: KOFAX
This program is perfect for freelancers who need to keep track of their business expenses for tax purposes

Usually known as just Omnipage, this is a powerful program that can handle corporate OCR tasks with ease.

Use For: Smart data extraction, item matching, and table extraction.

It is ideal for people who have a large number of business documents that need to be processed quickly. The program comes with a wide variety of automation features that make life a lot easier. This program is perfect for freelancers who need to keep track of their business expenses for tax purposes.

When I first booted up this program, I liked the look of the screen; however, I had a difficult time navigating the user interface. Because there were a lot of options available, I had a difficult time finding the automation features I wanted to use.

On the other hand, once I got going, the program was exceptionally accurate. I did not have to make a lot of corrections, and I enjoyed the robust tools that the program provided to make images clear. It was easy for me to see why the program was so popular. 

13. IBM Datacap

Pricing: Pricing is determined on a case-by-case basis and requires speaking to an IBM representative about a customizable package.

Best OCR software: IBM Datacap
It works well on fax machines, scanners, mobile devices, and numerous other channels

Given that IBM is virtually synonymous with the technology industry, it should come as no surprise that they have a powerful optical character recognition software program as well.

Use For: Capturing, recognizing, and classifying documents for numerous companies and businesses, extracting important information from the materials.

The program comes with a powerful engine, multiple functions, and the ability to customize its numerous features. Furthermore, the program works well on fax machines, scanners, mobile devices, and numerous other channels. As a result, the program has gained a reputation as one of the most powerful options in the industry. 

When I used this program, I was amazed at how simple it was. All the buttons were exactly where I thought they would be, and the system did an exceptional job on multiple devices. Even though it did take the platform a while to install and boot up, I did enjoy having access to the customizable features. 

Even though it was a challenge to cut through the options at times, I was still impressed with the capabilities of the IBM Datacap. It was fast, accurate, and did everything I needed it to do. 

Testing Criteria

There were several criteria I used to select the programs above. These include:

  • Ease of use: How easy was it to learn how to use the program?
  • Customizability: How easy was it to customize the features to meet my specific needs?
  • Value for money: Are the features of the program worth the price tag?
  • Scalability: As my needs change, will the program grow and change with me?

By browsing this list, you will be able to find a program that fits your needs, whether you need OCR for business or personal use. If budget is your concern, choose a free or low-cost option. On the other hand, if features are paramount to you, then choose one of the feature-rich, pro options.

Each one takes a variety of image-based files and transforms them into text you can use for other purposes. Except for Easy Screen OCR, they also have multiple output options that let you customize the finished file to exactly what you need.

Why You Can Trust Me

A researcher by nature, digging into software and its features comes naturally to me. As a professional writer, I deal with text all the time and know what it takes to make a program straightforward yet functional. You can count on me to deliver honest assessments of these products so that you can make an informed choice for your own needs and budget.

Final Word On Best OCR Software

The digital world is more important than it has ever been in the past, and it is important for businesses to have access to software programs that can help them quickly and efficiently extract information. Big data is still an important part of running a business in the current environment, and companies need to track everything related to their business partners, their employees, and their customers. That way, they have the information they need to make decisions quickly. OCR software can help them do exactly that.

Even though there are lots of programs out there, it is important to think about the benefits and drawbacks of each one. That way, companies can find the right program to help them meet their needs.

These programs can automate tasks, improve document management, provide document scanning, and create actionable information that allows businesses to respond quickly to a changing environment with the best OCR software.

FAQs About Best OCR Software

What Are A Few Other Options For OCR Solutions?

There are a few other OCR text and OCR tool options for Microsoft Word and iPhone available. Examples include Simple OCR and ReadIris. The text recognition and retyping features on some free versions might not be as robust as others.

What File Formats Can OCR Tools Handle?

It depends on the nature of the program, but common examples include txt, png, jpeg, plain text, and several other output formats. They can also convert PDF documents into editable text in a digital format that could be easier to use.

How Do I Choose The Right OCR Software For My Needs?

You need to think about the file formats you work with, your operating system, and the features of the program. Compare this to your budget, and find the best OCR software program for your needs.

Further reading

Check out our post on the best copyediting tools.

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