For those of you who don’t know OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. In layman’s terms, OCR stands for the ability to scan a document and then be able to directly edit and search that document. OCR software recognizes characters (letters) of scanned documents and creates a workable document consisting of those characters. It can save you time, energy, and money by doing any re-typing of documents for you. Need to scan a book and then be able to search for key words within it? OCR is your friend. Of course, no OCR software is flawless quite yet, but a good one will only require minor editing of the document in question.
There are many different OCR software options available to you, ranging in
price from $50-$500. True, some do work better than others and may be worth your while to invest in. Some well-reviewed OCR software options can be found here and here!
However, if you’re just beginning with OCR software, or if it would only be utilized for a “one-time” project for your home or business, then you’re in luck, because you probably already have OCR software on your computer!
If you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, then you most likely already have OCR software installed and ready to use. The steps for using it are super simple:
- Click on Start, All Programs, and then Microsoft Office. From there, you should find “Document Imaging” either in the list of applications, or under “Microsoft Office Tools.” Click!
- Put the document you would like to scan in the scanner and make sure your scanner is turned on. Now, on your computer, under the File tab, choose “Scan New Document.”
- Follow the prompts! Do you want it black and while or color? Gray scale? Why not! Choose the presets that are best for your project. The software’s default is to pull the paper from the automated document feeder. If that’s not what you want, click on the “Scanner” button and uncheck the “Use automatic document feeder” button.
- Once you’re ready to scan, click the “Scan” button to begin!
- Once the document is finished scanning, click on Tools and select “Send Text to Word.” From there, it should open up a Word document for you with the text of your scanned document!
Make sure to go through for editing purposes, as it most likely won’t be perfect. But still, for free and basically no hassle, it’s a great tool to use.