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OCR Software

OCR Software

Whether you have an original hard copy of text you want to edit or a PDF file you want to modify and search through, OCR software helps you convert fixed or hard copies into editable and searchable “soft” versions. Not all OCR packages are the same--let our OCR guide help you pick the right package for your needs.

What Is OCR Software? (Optical Character Recognition)

4 results - showing 1 - 4
Details Ratings
June 07, 2013    

Maestro Recognition Server is an OCR Software for Windows Computers by publisher CVISION Technologies, Inc.

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June 05, 2013    

Readiris Pro is an OCR Software for Windows Computers by publisher I.R.I.S. s.a.

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June 04, 2013    

ABBYY Finereader Professional is an OCR Software for Windows Computers by ABBYY.

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December 05, 2010    

Nuance OmniPage is an OCR Software for windows created by publisher Nuance Communications, Inc.

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4 results - showing 1 - 4

OCR Software

OCR Software Resource & Information

What is OCR software?

A comedian once said “It's a small world... but I wouldn't want to paint it.” The same logic plays out when it comes to documents. It's great to have hard copies, but it is definitely a headache to have to retype everything out or worse, copy existing document formatting. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) Software, used in conjunction with a scanner, takes hard copies and converts them into “soft” versions that you can search, reorganize, and modify. OCR software has also evolved to the point that it can take normally fixed PDF files and reorganize and modify those as well. PDF files used to be hard to modify—even with so-called PDF editors.

One key and exciting evolutionary step for OCR software is the ability to scan the formatting, color, type size, and even font of the original and recreate it in digital form. This is truly a huge step forward and is still constantly being improved on. At the most basic, decent OCR software must be accurate. That's the bread and butter of good OCR software—it must quickly, efficiently, and accurately scan the original and replicate its text to a soft format.

In order to help you select the best OCR software package for your particular needs, ixDownload has isolated three key criteria you should consider when evaluating OCR software packages. Every OCR package is as different as the needs of OCR software customers. Make sure to keep the following considerations in mind when choosing which OCR software to buy. The difference might not just be a question of mere dollars and cents. It can also mean the difference between a scalable piece of software that is positioned to accommodate your future needs or a static piece of software that will become obsolete quickly.

Accuracy level: The higher the better

This is the cornerstone of any OCR software. Accuracy differences between differing packages may be measured in single percentage points but such small numbers quickly balloon up to huge error rates and heavy manual follow up as your work load scales up. Simply put, choose the package with the highest accuracy rating as possible because manual follow up can easily result in hours of lost productivity, increased production costs, and unnecessary headaches.

As scanning and OCR needs ramp up, regular text accuracy is often not enough. The OCR software must also be accurate when scanning formats and forms. Admittedly, this ability is fairly recent but the need for it is also increasing. Formatting soft documents take a lot of time and effort. When it comes to intricately or artistically formatted text, the operator might not have the skill set to copy such colorful or creative formatting OCR software that accurately replicates creative formatting saves firms a lot of time, effort, and resources.

Adequacy and extent of feature set: Keep an eye on the future of OCR

OCR no longer involves mere scanning and conversion. Decent OCR software worth its salt should bring a broad range of features to the table: retaining the original format, converting original creative format to editable form, formatting original into a wide variety of current formats (PDF, .doc, HTML, etc.), formatting support for older formats (for example: WordPerfect), built-in spell checker, table conversion, ability to process vertical text, and other features.

One key area where the adequacy of an OCR package's feature set can be tested is the extent of language support it has. Given our increasingly global business environment and the increasing likelihood of coming across foreign language documents in the future, the more languages a package supports the better it is.

While some features might strike you as “fancy” or even superfluous, don't be so quick to dismiss such features. The Internet and global communications have changed the business, academic, and personal computing space so much that scalability in features is crucial. Functions that you don't currently need might be needed in the future Having such features in the OCR package you choose can save you a lot of time, money, and training in the future.

Ease of use: Beware of hidden OCR training costs

While the excitement over a huge feature set is quite understandable for OCR software, this criterion is a double edged sword. The more features a piece of software has, the more complicated it is to operate and the more time, effort, and money needed to adequately train staff for the added features. This cost can be reduced by one factor—ease of use. Choose software that packs a punch when it comes to features but prizes intuitiveness and clarity of functionality. Highly intuitive dashboard/control panel designs help you minimize your costs.

When evaluating an application's interface, check to see if there are text support or “read more” or pop up text explanations for each feature set. See to it that they adequately explain functions. While simple or core functions can be intuitively learned, “added value” or innovative functions might be too new to be intuitively figured out. The more complicated the software package, the stricter you have to be when it comes to evaluating their dashboard, function explanations, users manual, tutorials, and other ease of use features.

OCR Customer and tech support: After sales support is key

No matter how much “gee whiz” technowizardy went into an OCR software package, its ultimate usability depends on dependable and competent its after sales support is. After sales support may be the crucial difference between getting your organization's or your personal money's worth and having an expensive “showcase” software that you rarely use. OCR software's sophistication grows by leaps and bounds. It has to do so in order to keep up with the globalized and rapid needs of its target customer base. However, its complexity also ramps up at a similar pace. Customer and tech support are crucial in understanding your software's full feature set, what it can and cannot ramp up to, figuring out possible shortcuts and workarounds to meet future needs, and troubleshooting when trouble arises. The more complicated a system, the higher the likelihood there might be issues in the future.

Make sure to factor in the size of the installed base of the software. The more users an OCR title has the larger the base of “testers” it has. Complicated software requires a lot of installation (all done under differing settings, OS flavors, and usage settings) to successfully “beat out” any possible bugs that surface due to widespread and extensive use. A large base also increases the likelihood that frequently posted workarounds, solutions, or patches are available readily online. Be careful of software titles that have a small installed base—you don't want to be their guinea pig.

As with other types of software, make sure to consider the differing modes of support offered. The most common are email, live chat (IM), phone support, even webcam support. The more the choices, the better.

OCR Software: The Conclusion

OCR software packages are rapidly evolving in both scale, feature set and complexity. Make sure to consider the criterion above to protect yourself from obsolescence, lack of scalability, expensive upgrades, and possibly pricey after market support.