OCR or Optical Character Recognition is a technology that electronically or mechanically converts images of printed or hand-written text within photos or scanned documents into machine-encoded text.
In today’s digital age where everything needs to be in binary 0’s and 1’s for computing assistance, OCR platforms find a multitude of uses. Some of them being:
- The Government uses it for automatic number plate recognition.
- Airports use it for passport recognition and information extraction.
- Businesses use it for data entry by scanning and processing cheques, invoices, and bank statements.
Top 5 free OCR software
Now you must be thinking about how you could get your hands on this state-of-the-art technology. Well, here’s my recommendation for the top 5 free OCR software you can use in 2021 to make your life simpler.
Abby FineReader is an all-in-one PDF and OCR software platform designed to maximize your productivity. It allows you to digitize, retrieve, edit, protect and share all your documents from a single platform.
- Ability to scan pages without altering the original layout.
- Extremely clear and easy to use interface
- Exceptionally accurate even while dealing with complicated documents.
- Does not have handwriting recognition.
- A lot of features can only be accessed by buying the premium version.
2. Nanonets OCR
Nanonets OCR is an AI-based OCR software that automates data capture for intelligent document processing of invoices, receipts, ID cards, and more. Nanonets uses advanced OCR, machine learning image processing, and deep learning to extract relevant information from unstructured data. It is fast, accurate, easy to use, and allows users to build custom OCR models from scratch.
- Works with multiple languages.
- The algorithm can be calibrated to recognize information from any document type.
- Extremely easy to use and beginner-friendly
- Some of the features one might need while working on a large scale are available only by using the premium version.
- The premium version is slightly more expensive than the competitors but the accuracy and speed outweigh the additional expense.
3. Online OCR
As the name suggests it is an Online OCR that requires no installation and is totally free to use. It can recognize text and characters from PDF scanned documents, photographs, and digital camera captured images. Convert text and Images from your scanned PDF document into the editable DOC format.
- Has support for multiple languages including Mandarin, Japanese and Korean.
- It can convert PDF files to Word, Excel, RTF, and plain text format.
- It is free to use online service, which means no installation issues.
- Without registering you can only convert 15 files per hour.
- When it comes to accuracy it fails to perform at 100%. There is the possibility of errors and omissions that’s why you need to proofread after conversion.
4. Simple OCR
Simple OCR is a royalty-free OCR platform that allows users to use it in custom apps. It is supported on all versions of Windows and it has a vast library of over 120,000 characters to identify words efficiently in your document.
- It allows image retention. That is along with the document’s text Simple OCR has the ability to capture and retain pictures from the document.
- It offers a Despeckle option for those documents that arent particularly clear like fax or copies of copies. This feature helps reduce the image noise and increases the accuracy of Simple OCR.
- It’s one of the best choices if you’re a single individual, but if an organization or a business were to use it the paid version is quite expensive in comparison to its competitors.
Kofax OmniPage OCR software converts any document into the word processor format of your choice. It allows you to save, edit and search documents as you would a Word document. It offers superior conversion accuracy, intelligent character recognition, and zonal recognition, so you can quickly create editable documents.
- Its extremely fast and accurate conversion time increases productivity and encourages more strategic
- It fully supports Microsoft Office, Corel WordPerfect, HTML, and more
- It provides only a free trial for a limited period of time.
- Its programming interface can be improved.
Gone are the days when you had to painstakingly input all important documents manually into your system. The future is here, with the power of OCR software you can now increase productivity whilst not having to sacrifice accuracy.