Top 10 Best OCR Software Options

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.

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.

Best OCR software options

1. Adobe Acrobat

Pricing: $12.99 a month

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. In addition, Adobe Acrobat works as a cloud-based program, allowing integration with other Adobe cloud-based programming.

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.

Pros
  • Integration with other Adobe products
  • Extract text from PDFs and send it to Microsoft products or edit directly in the program
  • Cut and paste the text into other applications
Cons
  • No free option
  • Can be complicated for beginners
  • Many features may not be needed

2. Abbyy FineReader

Pricing: $119.99 for Mac, $199.99 for standard

ABBY FineReader
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. This program scans documents and then converts them into PDFs, Microsoft Office, and other editable formats, depending on the needs.

With Abbyy FineReader, you get a lightweight program with enough features to work well without being overwhelming. The cost is a one-time payment for a perpetual license.

Pros
  • Clean and functional program
  • Can handle batches of documents at the same time
  • Has 192 different languages
  • Has mobile apps for Android and iOS 
Cons
  • Has fewer features than other options
  • Slightly outdated interface
  • High initial cost

3. OmniPage Ultimate

Pricing: $499

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.  

Pros
  • Fast image converting
  • Accurate conversions
  • Supports MS Office, HTML, and many other applications
  • Has text-to-speech mode 
Cons
  • High cost
  • The interface can be confusing
  • Has more features than personal use requires

4. Online OCR

Pricing: Free

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.

Pros
  • Free OCR tool
  • Simple to use
  • Multiple output formats
Cons
  • Not very many features
  • Only three file formats
  • Requires web-based interface

5. Readiris

Pricing: $109 for standard, $169 for business

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.

Pros
  • Affordable OCR option
  • Multiple output formats
  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac
Cons
  • Need corporate version for some beneficial features
  • No cloud-based solution
  • Only offers a 10-day trial with a 100-page limit

6. Easy Screen OCR

Pricing: Free

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.

Pros
  • Free OCR option
  • Simple use
  • Over 100 languages for translation
Cons
  • Only works with screenshots
  • Cannot convert text into other formats
  • Cannot convert PDFs

7. Cisdem PDF Converter

Pricing: Free

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.

Pros
  • Creates searchable document
  • Can create PDFs from other formats
  • Keeps original formatting well
Cons
  • Only works on iOS
  • Has a limited number of capabilities
  • Designed solely to work with PDFs

8. Soda PDF

Pricing: $6.75 a month for standard

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.

Pros
  • Works as an app online or offline
  • Secure encryption between server and browser
  • Over 300 file formats
Cons
  • Only stores scanned documents for 24 hours
  • Poor customer service
  • Updates can be full of bugs

9. Nanonets

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

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.

Pros
  • Allows users to specify a category of text
  • Can pull text from images
  • Large amount of support options
Cons
  • Costly program
  • Free version limited to 100 documents
  • Usage-based pricing can increase base price

10. FineScanner

Pricing: Unspecified

ABBY 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.

Pros
  • Can read your phone screen
  • Accepts virtual assistant commands
  • Easy to change the output file
Cons
  • Only works on iPad or iPhone
  • Limited functionality beyond text analysis
  • Free version does not offer OCR

Selection Criteria

These OCR software options represent the best of the industry. I chose them because of their ease of use,  in some cases, or their robust list of features. 

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.

Further reading

Check out our post on the best copyediting tools.

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