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ocrHeadIf I had a dollar for every time someone asked me why they could not edit a block of text in Microsoft Word I would be rich. A lot of times people will include images of text within their document. Maybe they took a screenshot of a block of text or they inserted an image that was provided to them.

How about free OCR software that will undo the chaos and give you the text from the image so you can copy, paste or edit at will?


Now this is only one use for Free OCR. We can also use Free OCR to take a picture of a block of text and convert it into editable text.  We can also take pictures of signs or other documents to be able to edit its text.

Let’s take a look at Free OCR and how it works.

  • It is free web based OCR software.
  • It can convert any image under 2MB into text.
  • You can only upload 10 images per hour.
  • You can have text in multiple columns and it will still work.
  • It can handle multiple languages including Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Turkish, Ukrainian and finally Vietnamese.

When we first arrive at their website we will see this:

free OCR software

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The website is very straight forward. Just click on the browse button to point Free OCR to your image like so:

free OCR software

You can convert a JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP or the first page of a PDF. I grabbed a picture of their homepage and wanted to see what it would do. Here is the image I used:

online free OCR software

I saved it as a JPG with the highest resolution I could. After you submit your job you will see a progress bar.

free ocr

When it is complete you will see a screen with your transcribed characters. On my first document it worked pretty swiftly and these were my results:

free ocr

It was perfect! And the best part was I can now copy and paste the text by simply highlighting it and using control + c and control + v!

Check it out:

free ocr

Now let’s see how it handles a read deal picture using my 5 mega pixel camera on my phone. Here is an image of a document. I pointed my camera at the monitor and snapped away.

ocr5

The data contained in it was from Wikipedia. It was an entry on the Nintendo Wii. The above image has been scaled down and was originally a full 5 mega pixels. This is what the web application spit back at us:

ocr6

It was a perfect paragraph. The hyperlinks obviously were not duplicated but I did not expect it to. But it did grab all the text. I tried it multiple times and realized that by dipping below 5 mega pixels the document was not properly transcribed. If I just grabbed a document off the web in a normal JPG format it mutilated it. So if you are getting unexpected results grab a higher resolution image!

What do you use for OCR? We would love to hear about your favorite application in the comments! You can see some of our favorite OCR applications here Top 5 Free OCR Software Tools To Convert Images Into Text Top 5 Free OCR Software Tools To Convert Images Into Text Read More .

  1. Umar Arshad
    June 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Here is a list of free online OCR utilities.
    http://all-things-tek.blogspot...

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