OCR (Optical Charactor Recognition) is the process of turning a picture of words (such as a scan of a typed letter) into an editable document that you can open and use in your desktop publishing software, word processor, or other text editor. Today's OCR software packages contain sophisticated support for multiple languages, PDF and HTML output, and format retention.
This list updated September 2010.
Choose from Professional, Corporation, or Site License editions. Supports over 100 languages, has built-in spell-checker, handles PDF and HTML and retains document formatting.
FineReader 10 for Windows
A powerful, but surprisingly inexpensive alternative to some of the better known (and expensive) OCR packages. It reads 52 languages, preserves the page formatting, can scan color and dark backgrounds, has batch processing, and has expert tools for analyzing complicated layouts. For Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0 (Service Pack 3), ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7.
Presto! OCR Pro 4.0 for Windows
There are both standard and Professional editions which take printed documents and convert them to editable digital form including Amazon Kindle format. Handles multiple languages, recognizes forms, tables, images, and more.
OmniPage 17 and OmniPage Professional 17 for Windows
From ScanSoft/Nuance. It retains page layout, allows output as Web pages, retains color in photos or graphics, has spreadsheet and table recognition, integrates with Microsoft Office, and is Windows XP-certified. This is a low-cost OCR option. (May not be compatible with Windows Vista/7)
TextBridge Pro 11 for Windows
This OCR software comes in Pro and Corporate editions with the Corporate offering more compression options and greater number of page conversions per document. Save directly to Word, Acrobat, OpenOffice, and other applications. Convert to searchable PDF, recognize tables, scan to email, enhance images, and recognize handwritten notes. Get a demo.
Readiris Pro 12 and Readiris Corporate 12 for Windows