Best. OCR. Evar. (And it’s Free)

I probably have OCR somewhere on my computer. It may be bundled with my Lexmark software, something that the very thought of getting to work makes me cringe given the unnecessary complexity of their printer-scanner-copier.

155All I wanted to do was convert an image of a news article into text (pictured here). It was not a particularly high-res image, and had columns. I found all sorts of free online converters for other things so I figured I’d give it a Google.

I tried “Online OCR Service” (garbled), then “Free OCR” (quality of results as catchy as its name).

The third time was a charm: “Free Online OCR

Free Online OCR

This is where I sound like an advertisement. When I went to use it, I uploaded the file and unlike the others, the next step was “preview”. Okay …

It showed me the image with a slide-able region to cordon off the text I wanted. I realized how important this was because like most OCR, the other services (and software I used over the years) adjoined text from columns. Heck, I couldn’t even copy-and-paste from many a PDF using Adobe without the same problem.

But I was wrong about “Free Online OCR”. I didn’t see the checkbox.

Yes, there is actually a checkbox if you want it to discern columns.

The result?

I still had to append the end of lines in Notepad (it preserved the line breaks like any other OCR), but the result was STELLAR. I had to change a period to a comma and add one period.

That’s all.


Two newspaper columns on a 72 dpi JPEG and I found two tiny errors to adjust.

Why would anyone pay money when something like this is free? I can’t imagine any software doing a better job, no matter how much it costs.

Visit. Bookmark. Use. Share on Facebook it’s awesomeness. Repeat.