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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Is there such a thing as a decent, free, Win7-compatible OCR program?

    By "decent," I mean a very low error rate for reasonably good clear copy -- say no more than one error per 100-200 characters.
    Also helpful, ability to accept .jpg, .png, and .tif images as input, as well as common scanner output.

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  3. #2
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    You could download & install Adobe Acrobat Pro version 8, which is available for free and includes a very capable OCR module.

    As for your specification "ability to accept .jpg, .png, and .tif images as input", that's much less of an issue than the quality of those images. The OCR-ability of jpg and png images (and any other format created from them) is limited by the artefacts that are a by-product of the compression algorithms they use. Likewise, specifying "no more than one error per 100-200 characters" might be quite unrealistic for scans that are faint, low-resolution, of documents using small fonts, fancy fonts, non-standard languages (e.g. Greek, Arabic & Latin script in the one document) or have coloured/motley backgrounds.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

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    cosmlou (2014-04-28)

  5. #3
    New Lounger
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    I recently had need of a free OCR program to run on my Win 7 system and tried two, "FreeOCR" from http://www.paperfile.net/ (I have v 4.2) and "FreeOCR To Word" (I have v 5.6.5) from TechCandy Software.

    I had a specific task to perform - producing text from a scan of an article in a Latvian newspaper to be passed through Google Translate to get an English version - and found that FreeOCR worked best for me. It gave a lot of errors but that was because I was using the wrong language pack. I have since tried the same job with the right language pack with much more acceptable results. The program will scan documents to provide its input, as well as use existing .tif, .bmp, .jpg, .gif and .png images. I believe it will also import PDF documents to OCR them as well.

    FreeOCR To Word did not produce legible results for me as it struggled to make sense of all the "accented" characters in the Latvian text, but if you only need English to English it may perform quite well. This program also scans for input and will accept image files in quite a large number of formats. I'm sorry I can't be more specific about it but, as it didn't "work" for me, I didn't investigate it more closely.

    Hope this info helps.

    Regards,

    Noel

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    cosmlou (2014-04-28)

  7. #4
    Star Lounger
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    I had tried FreeOCR v. 3.0 a couple of years ago with unsatisfactory results in my particular instance, YMMV. I will see if a newer version is available, and also try Acrobat Pro v.8.

    Thanks again to both responders.

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