Optical Character Recognition Software

Q: I’m trying to scan a document to a Word file, I think I need OCR software, what do you recommend?

A: There are a couple of good choices for OCR – the least expensive accurate package appears to be ABBYY FineReader Express, which sells for $49.99.  They have a professional edition as well, which is more full-featured, but I have always just used the express version, and been quite happy with it, as the pro edition costs $400.

You’ll notice on the ABBYY web page that they sell a product called ABBYY PDF Transformer.  I don’t recommend that product, but rather a product called “PDFCreator” or “Cute PDF”.  Both of these products are excellent substitutes for the ABBYY product, so you don’t need to spend the extra money.

Meet the author

Dan grew up in New York State, and graduated from Queensbury High School in 1980. He received his bachelor's in computer science at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas in 1984. He was a computer programmer at several insurance companies, and worked at Pioneer Hi-Bred for ten years. In July of 2002 after 18 years of programming, Dan founded Iowa PC Services, Inc. as a one-man computer repair business. He is an active member at the Grandview Church of Christ in Des Moines, and enjoys woodworking, walking, and grandchildren. Dan and his lovely wife, Donna, have two grown children and four grandchildren.