9 Best OCR Software for 2022 Reviewed
Updated: August 02,2022
Want to learn how to efficiently digitize paperwork and turn image scans into searchable text documents?
You’ve come to the right place - we narrowed down the best OCR software and you definitely need to check them out.
We looked at:
- Ease of use
- Key software features
- Premium pricing
Whether you need an OCR application for home or work, our top nine solutions offer something for everyone.
Best OCR Programs for 2022
Adobe Acrobat DC Pro – Best PDF OCR editor
OmniPage Ultimate – Best OCR tool for large businesses
Abbyy FineReader – Overall, Best OCR program
Nanonets – Best document recognition software
Readiris – Best value for money OCR
Docparser – Best value data capture OCR
PDFpen – Best OCR software for Macs
Rossum – Best OCR app for invoice data
Google Docs – Best free OCR solution
1. Adobe Acrobat DC Pro
Convert all common files
Advanced PDF editing
Adobe is already the name behind most people’s favorite PDF reader, so the Adobe OCR software naturally ranks high. The Pro version of Acrobat DC or Document Cloud is where you’ll find its powerful OCR and PDF editing features. As the name suggests, it also seamlessly integrates with the full suite of Adobe tools via the cloud.
The software applies OCR automatically. You can scan documents directly within the program to produce an editable and searchable PDF file right away. You can also import and convert common files to PDF. This includes:
- Word docs
- JPG images
- PowerPoint slides
- Excel spreadsheets.
This is helpful if you have existing files or have a constant stream of documents from different sources.
If you’re looking for fast OCR, then you’ve found it. The vast majority of documents are converted instantly. Furthermore, it doesn’t just extract text, it mirrors the format and font of the original document while letting you edit and update its content. You can always choose to completely change the style too.
In addition, you can:
- split and merge documents
- paste or delete text
- add workable hyperlinks
- import images
- create forms
- compare, redact, validate, and sign documents.
You can even leave comments and annotations if you’re working on a collaborative project.
A lot of these features are specific to businesses and individuals may not need to go professional. If you just need a simple OCR platform, there are simpler and cheaper solutions. However, Acrobat DC Pro is the most advanced PDF editor on the market and sets the bar high.
Try it for seven days for free! If you like it, it’s $14.99 a month for individuals and $16.99 for teams.
2. OmniPage Ultimate
Supports all common filetypes
Large scale batch processing
OmniPage Ultimate by Kofax is a highly accurate OCR editor that can batch process all your paper and PDF documents into workable digital files. These can be easily searched, edited, and shared. It’s extremely versatile, to the point it can open and save almost any file type. This includes:
- text documents
- every type of Microsoft Office file.
It fits your workflow rather than forcing you to adhere to a specific format.
Likewise, it will recognize any scanning source, so you can scan right into the software instead of scanning separately and then importing the file. As long as you are on the network, you can perform OCR tasks via most connected devices, including smartphones.
In terms of volume, it is one of the best OCR scanners. It works flawlessly whether you are an individual with a single page or large company processing millions of pages a day. You can schedule batch processes from any folder on your computer, email, and even cloud services like DropBox.
One feature that’s especially useful is the proofreader. Although it boasts a 99% accuracy, obscure or artsy fonts can slip through the net, particularly from image scans. Therefore, it will tell you the ‘suspected word’ and you can quickly correct it manually in the window.
Our only qualm is the interface is quite dated and takes some time getting used to.
On the face of it OmniPage Ultimate also appears quite expensive at $524, and this can put off individuals. However, you will benefit in the long run because it's a one-off fee for a lifetime license, rather than a monthly or annual subscription. To make sure it’s for you, a free trial of 15 days is available.
With over 120 supported languages, it’s your go-to OCR solution regardless of you or your client’s location.
3. Abbyy FineReader
Best OCR engine
Compare documents of different filetypes
Abbyy FineReader perfectly combines PDF editing and OCR in a fast and modern package. It’s our pick for all-around best OCR software, thanks first to its deep automated character recognition.
As soon as you open a static PDF or image file, it begins the OCR process. It’s not as fast as some, but you benefit from a full document display while it completes the task, and you can scroll down in real-time. The trade-off for waiting a bit is the highest accuracy on the market!
Even old, badly made scans can be salvaged with the image enhancer. This lets you fix distortions, warping, brightness, and contrast. Moreover, you can remove artifacts and blemishes, all contributing to a better OCR result.
Its helpful verification window functions a bit like a spell checker. You go through troublesome words one by one, confirming its suggestions or correcting words yourself.
Secondly, FineReader wins out due to its interface – the smoothest we’ve had the pleasure of using. It’s clean, intuitive, and suitable for beginners. Simple features like a quick-jump sidebar that lists all search results, makes finding text infinitely easier.
FineReader lets you open one or more PDF and image files and convert them to other common formats like Word and Excel. The output can be a simple text extraction or a like-for-like reproduction. One unique feature is the ability to do a document comparison between completely different filetypes.
Its OCR PDF editor covers all the expected ground, such as:
- combining documents
- adding forms and image
- digital signatures.
Purchase the standard version for $199 per year, minus the document comparison feature. The pro version is $299 and includes up to 5,000 pages of optimized digitization. Try it for free for seven days!
Gets smarter over time
Integrates with Zapier
Nanonets takes a modern approach to OCR scanning software, utilizing AI and machine learning to improve accuracy over time. It also has advanced data capture features that go beyond your typical office document scans. For example, it can extract data fields from ID cards or invoices, structuring it in the way you need rather than a like-for-like copy.
This makes it an invaluable solution for businesses that must process a lot of unstructured data coming from multiple channels. The time wasted sorting, structuring, and typing can be spent more productively.
The OCR system gets smarter with each new document, recognizing fields and patterns as they emerge. It learns from refinements you make, and you have full manual control over edits.
Once you’re happy with the data you can export and share it in a wide variety of filetypes. Zapier integrations prevent disruption to your current workflows. It even links up with your accounting software
Nanonets pricing is based on volume. To start out you can process 100 pages with limited fields for free. Thereafter, it is $499 a month for up to 5,000 pages, 20 data fields per project, and team collaboration. Going over the page limit costs an additional $0.10 per page.
While this is an expensive subscription and even costlier for high volume users, Nanonets stands alone in this space. It will save the right businesses more money in the long run.
Very affordable lifetime licenses
Extensive collaboration tools
Now in its 17th edition, Readiris is a comprehensive OCR scanner software available on Windows and Mac. You can directly scan or import practically any type of text-based document with full editing capabilities. Moreover, all filetypes are interchangeable with its powerful convertor.
The PDF editing toolbox lets you split and merge documents, rearrange and delete pages, and manually change the text. You can also digitally sign or prompt a recipient to sign the document.
We find it to be one of the fastest OCR options, without sacrificing a high degree of accuracy. Things really get efficient when you set up automatic processing for batches of documents. Simply choose the output format and folder, then decide whether to automatically open the completed files in another application. Any file you now open is automatically processed and you can drag and drop whole folders of files for the software to quickly work through.
One of its more notable features is its advanced review and collaboration system. This empowers team members to:
- underline any part of the document
There are even tools to record voice notes and attach files.
With 138 supported languages and a very slick interface, it’s difficult to find fault.
The basic Pro version is just $89 for a lifetime license, minus the ability to split, sign, or batch process documents. For those features, you must get the still affordable $129 Corporate license. This easily makes it our pick for best value OCR application.
Docparser is one of the best OCR scanners for data capture, providing a cheaper subscription than Nanonets but with a steeper learning curve.
OCR is just one aspect of the process. I.e., it can accurately read text and parse data from image-based files. However, unlike typical OCR reader software, the aim is not to create a searchable and editable copy of the original document.
Its main function is to parse information from the PDF based on the rules you set. That way you capture only the data you require. It does this in bulk and automatically, while integrating with your cloud stack. It handles repeating tables and text patterns with ease. Fortunately, the days of needing to code your own solution are gone.
It works its magic at a great speed too. As soon as you specify the source, it will give you what you need within 60 seconds. Then, you can export the data in your chosen format or integrate it with any number of other business applications.
This type of OCR document scanner is not cheap, but it’s one of the better value solutions of its kind. It starts at $32.50 per month, with an annual commitment. This lets you parse 1,200 documents a year, with an average of 5 pages each. For 3,000 parsing credits, it’s $61.50 per month, and for 120,000 it’s $133.
As this is quite a commitment, you’ll be pleased to know you can try the platform for 21 days with no obligation.
Not a Windows port
Edit and annotate PDFs
PDFpen is an exclusive OCR software for Mac. With it, you can easily scan paper documents and edit existing files. It’s a surprisingly lightweight app considering its list of features and it integrates seamlessly with iCloud and Dropbox to save storage space.
OCR document scanning is straightforward – it recognizes all Mac-compatible scanners and can import digital images from cameras and other devices via Image Capture. Once a scan is complete, hit the OCR option and it will recognize all the text in a document in seconds.
To start, you will see an overlay window allowing you to quickly proofread and edit the text accordingly. To improve the OCR accuracy of poor-quality paperwork you can also skew and resize the initial image, adjust color depth, and change the contrast.
Whether you’ve just scanned a new page or opened an existing PDF, the full editor has an exhaustive number of features. Broadly, you can merge two or more PDFs and rearrange the page order.
Then dig deeper by marking up the document, adding new text or correcting existing text, manipulating images or importing new ones, and introducing headers and footers. You can even scribble in freehand.
Comments, notes, and cloud annotations aid collaboration or can be used for extra context for the reader. If you’re tired of text, audio annotations create a whole new experience.
Since PDF is a common format for legal documents, PDFpen also supports visual redactions not just deletions. Furthermore, signatures can be added or left blank for the appropriate person to complete the process. This includes validation to ensure authenticity.
The core PDF OCR program is available at $129.99 for a single lifetime license. A $179.99 pro version also features interactive forms, contents tables, and the ability to convert a website into a PDF. Pricing drastically increases for more than one user.
Helps transaction automation
Tailored for you
iOS and Android apps
Rossum is a niche character recognition software aimed at parsing invoice data. It does the time-consuming work of identifying the important information and exporting it to your other apps for processing. You access it via the cloud and there are dedicated iOS and Android apps.
It is particularly beneficial for businesses that handle a lot of invoices from varying sources. E.g., emails from suppliers alongside paper invoices from clients in-store. Simply put, if you ever find invoicing to be an administrative hog and you’re doing a lot of manual data entry and copying, Rossum is worth a look.
Unlike most top OCR software, it uses artificial intelligence to capture the required fields rather than a rigid format. This is useful if you use invoices with differing layouts but common categories of information.
Indeed, it’s an immediate time and money saver for specific types of businesses that need an efficient way to extract figures and data instead of working with text. However, those that need OCR to create like-for-like editable text files should check out the other software on our list.
Features include data validation, support for multiple filetypes, usage analytics, and excellent API integration. Moreover, you can organize several documents within a single file using a separator page and via QR code on paper printouts for identification.
Because Rossum needs to be tailored to the way your invoicing operates, it doesn’t have any set pricing plans. Instead, you must contact the company directly for a bespoke solution. Nonetheless, you can use the free trial to check it out.
9. Google Docs
Full word processing features
Intuitive sharing and management
Free OCR software is now a click away thanks to Google Docs. All you have to do is take an existing PDF or image file – JPG, GIF, or PNG. Upload it to your free Google Drive and then open it with Google Docs.
Docs will automatically convert it to an editable text document in seconds. Some formatting may be lost but since this is a powerful word processor, you can quickly edit things to your liking. You can then export it back out as a PDF or any common text format, including Word doc.
The main downside of relying on this method is you will need to use other software to do the initial scan. Likewise, batch processing is not available. Most importantly, the source file needs to be high resolution and clean to be successful.
However, when you factor in Google’s excellent document management and cloud infrastructure, it’s surprisingly powerful for something that doesn’t cost any money. You will only have to fork out if you are processing a large number of documents and run out of free storage space.
What Is an OCR?
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and is the most important technology for working with text-based document scans. It is what transforms static images that contain text into fully working digital documents. These can be searched, copied, and otherwise interacted with like regular text-based files.
Scanning and converting documents using optical recognition software makes it easier for you to backup and manage your paperwork. You won’t have to print out new copies or refer to the original.
It’s much more efficient in today’s digital world. Businesses and organizations are striving to be completely paperless by using OCR scanning and then handling everything on computers.
OCR tools can also be used to convert static or image-based files that are already digitized into searchable documents.
Although accuracy can vary, modern software is surprisingly accurate and can recognize virtually any fonts and symbols created by a machine. Many now do handwriting recognition and combine automated and manual tools for superior results.
How To Pick the Right App
Not every OCR app is the same, so it’s important to choose one that meets your requirements. After testing many solutions, here’s what you need to know.
Volume of Processing
For individuals and small businesses, scanning or opening documents one by one is not such a bottleneck. Therefore have the pick of the top software based on other features.
However, those that deal with a large volume of documents will want to look out for batch processing to automate things in bulk.
Accuracy is universally high for modern OCR programs when it comes to printed text. Software that has an edge offers additional features like proofreading and image enhancement. The latter tidies up a scan for even better OCR results.
Not being able to correct misread text is a big oversight.
PDF is the most common format and is often the best option for outputting your document after performing OCR. Every device has the ability to display it without altering how it looks. Yet the important thing to remember is the format of your source files and whether these can be opened.
Do you have existing scans or files in a static image format? What about a spreadsheet or a Word doc? Something more obscure?
Software varies from only handling PDF itself to almost every common image and document file type. Some even allow OCR and editing before exporting to non-PDF filetypes.
The best PDF OCR software not only lets you search and copy document text but edit the text and change the formatting. While not everyone will need an advanced editor, it’s valuable should you spot scanning errors or are likely to update the document in the future.
It’s even more useful for blank forms that you want to fill out digitally. Furthermore, some software supports digital signatures, so a contract can be completed without printing and doing the signature by hand.
Windows OCR software is the most plentiful and there are also more than enough options on macOS. But what if your business has a mashup of operating systems or you have embraced the cloud?
Fortunately, things are trending towards web-based software and cloud integrations. A handful of solutions also have dedicated smartphone apps.
Most OCR technology is lumped in with office-style document scanning. It helps with archiving paperwork and digital accessibility.
If your business is more geared towards data collection, you may benefit from image reading software that automatically pulls data into your workflow without worrying about preserving the document itself.
Look towards Nanonets, Docparser, and Rossum.
Pricing differs greatly among the top solutions. If you have cash up front, a lifetime software license is the most cost-effective option. Subscription services are also common and more feasible for business users.
The more niche the features, the more expensive the software.
OCR is an important technology that bridges the gap between scanning documents as static images and fully accessible text.
Today we looked at nine of the leading solutions, so you can find the best features for you or your business.
Which one caught your eye?
What is the best OCR software out there?
When considering the variety of features and ease of use, the overall best OCR scanning software is Abbyy FineReader. Adobe Acrobat DC follows closely behind.
If you’re on a budget, we recommend Readiris or the entirely free PDF OCR tool via Google Docs.
Is there any free OCR software?
The majority of good scanning OCR software comes with a free trial, but you’ll need to pay for a license when it is up. An exception is Google Docs, though this lacks any advanced features and doesn’t facilitate scans themselves.
Does Office 365 have OCR?
Yes, Microsoft Office 365 employs two versions of OCR – a basic solution in Word and a more complete solution via OneNote.
In Word you can import a picture that includes printed style text and save it as a PDF. Reopening that PDF in Word then converts the clear portions as editable text.
OneNote has an explicit OCR option for copying text from pictures and scanned images.
Neither is as good as dedicated PDF OCR software at mirroring the font and formatting of the original file.
Does Mac Have OCR?
Yes, there are numerous OCR options for Mac including ReadIris and Abbyy FineReader. The best OCR software we’ve reviewed for Mac is PDFpen, which is exclusive to the OS.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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