How Do You Find the Best OCR Software?

What is the best OCR software? Learn more about OCR technology for Microsoft, Mac, and more!

Optical character recognition has become extremely important, oh, and there are numerous OCR engine options out there that can improve your workflow.

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 (optical character recognition) software may be helpful.

OCR software can take information from scanned images and documents, digitizing it into formats that fit with traditional workflows. 

What are the best options for OCR software?

The 5 Best OCR Software Options Freelancers and Small Business Owners

Best OCR software options

OCR software is a technology that recognizes and interprets text located in photos, scanned documents, and images. This technology is used to extract information from scanned documents and PDF, converting it into text that a machine can read, edit, and store. 

There are other applications of OCR software as well, including extracting tables and spreadsheets from PDFs or extracting key information from non-editable formats. OCR software is commonly used in pattern recognition, text to speech, and automated data entry. 

1. ABBYY Finereader

Pricing: The pricing starts at $199 as a flat, one-time payment. There is a free trial of the program available, but there is no free version.

Best OCR software: ABBY Finereader
ABBYY Finereader has become one of the most common programs used for OCR purposes

ABBYY Finereader is an OCR program that has a wide variety of capabilities. The program supports PDF file editing, and it allows people to convert images into electronic formats that are easy to edit. There is also a keyboard available to make manual corrections, and the interface is very easy to understand. Using this program, it is easy to export files in multiple formats.

One of the unique features of ABBYY Finereader is that it allows you to compare multiple documents with ease. Because of its unique customizable features, ABBYY Finereader has become one of the most common programs used for OCR purposes.

Even though there are a lot of column features, it can be difficult to conduct fast searches using ABBYY Finereader. It also takes some time to get used to. 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. I fell in love with the document compare feature, which made my life a lot easier. I was quickly able to see the differences between two sets of documents, helping me fix discrepancies and correct mistakes the OCR Program might have made.

  • The keyboard is easy to use for manual corrections.
  • You can export files into multiple formats.
  • The interface contains numerous helpful features, including image viewer, zoom viewer, and document viewer.
  • The ability to compare documents is powerful.
  • This program does have a relatively steep learning curve.
  • It is impossible to take several files and merge them into one.
  • It is easy to get intimidated by the wide variety of features.
  • It can take the program a long time to process larger files.

Overall, ABBYY Finereader is great for people who have a lot of small documents to process in a short amount of time. It might not be the best option for larger documents. The program runs on Microsoft Windows and macOS. Take a closer look at ABBYY Finereader, and see if this is the best OCR software for you!

2. Kofax Omnipage

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

Best OCR software: Kofax Omnipage
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. 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. In particular, this PDR OCR software is exceptional when it comes to smart data extraction, item matching, and table extraction. For example, 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. 

  • This program is exceptional at helping people with a lot of corporate tasks.
  • This is one of the most accurate OCR platforms available. 
  • It provides users with access to a wide variety of tools that can be used to enhance images. 
  • The program is exceptional at smart extraction and line item matching.
  • The user interface of the program is not very intuitive.
  • It can be difficult to figure out how to get the AP automation features to work appropriately. 
  • The API integration of the program is not great.
  • It can handle a lot of small tasks at once, but it has trouble with larger projects.

Overall, this program is great for people with a lot of tables and expenses to reconcile, but the program can be challenging to navigate for people who do not have a lot of experience with these software programs. Take a closer look at Kofax Omnipage, and see if this is the best OCR software for you!

3. 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. Datacap has been specifically designed to capture, recognize, and classify 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. 

  • This program is one of the easiest options to use.
  • It works well on a wide variety of devices.
  • The scanning mechanism is exceptionally accurate.
  • The program can take complex applications and configure them appropriately using data capture technology.
  • When it comes to online OCR, there is very little customer support available. 
  • The program is very slow to install and boot up.
  • If you have a batch order, the program can take a long time to finish.
  • The program doesn’t quite have the array of features of some other options.

Overall, this program could be a great option for people who are getting involved in the world of OCR software for the first time. Consider using IBM Datacap to help you with your OCR needs.

4. Nanonets

Pricing: Nanonets OCR starts at $499 per month, but the pricing is based on usage. There is a free OCR software version available.

Best OCR software: Nanonets
It also allows individuals to build custom models from scratch

Another option you may want to consider is called Nanonets. This is a program that uses artificial intelligence to power its OCR capabilities. 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 is easy to use, fast, and accurate.

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. 

  • The program uses a modern interface that is easy to work with.
  • The program features exceptional documentation and support.
  • I enjoyed working with a wide variety of customization options.
  • There are multiple language options available.
  • The program can be a bit expensive.
  • It is not able to handle very high volumes very quickly. 
  • The user interface with the table capture feature was not great. 

This could be a great program for people who are looking for OCR software that can handle multiple document types at the same time. Take a closer look at Nanonets and see if this is the best option for you!

5. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Pricing: Starts at $12.99 per month. There is a free trial available with all features.

Best OCR software: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
The program helps you take your scanned files and translate them into PDF documents you can edit

If you are looking for a program that can help retype, rescan, and reformat your documents, then Adobe Acrobat Pro DC OCR technology could be the right choice. The program helps you take your scanned files and translate them into PDF documents you can edit using the familiar Adobe interface.

You can edit the text, change the fonts, and customize them to look just like the original file. The program will automate manual data entry using OCR software, extracting text while converting it into a format that can be edited. The program is also compatible with other programs, such as Microsoft Office, making it easier to match up your file formats.

Finally, you can save your documents as smart PDFs you can archive for review later. This made it easy for me to pull up my documents at the end of the year, making my taxes as a small business owner a breeze! I could also easily find prior client information when they needed a repeat order!

  • This option is fast, converting scanned documents into an editable PDF instantly.
  • I love how the program can recognize your existing font and match the scanned document to the current formatting, saving time.
  • This program integrates with Microsoft Office, making it easy to move between file formats.
  • The search function makes it easy to pull up old documents from the archive.
  • This program is more expensive than many of the other options if you want to use the advanced features, as the subscription price goes up quickly.
  • The program does not integrate with all of my existing software programs.
  • The drop-down menus get in the way of the forms I'm working on, making it challenging if I go to change the size of the window.

This could be a good option for freelancers and small business owners!

Testing Criteria

There were several criteria I used to rank 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?

These factors played a heavy role in the ranking system used above.

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.

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