Of course, you could always purchase OCR software, but here at OTT, we always try to find ways to do everything forfree! That’s where a free online OCR service comes in handy.
Free OCR is a nitfy little web service that everyone should bookmark because you never know when you’ll need it.
Basically, you upload a PDF or image file (JPG, TIFF, BMP) from your computer and Free OCR will process the document/image within a few seconds and spit it back out in plain text format.
The max file size is currently 2 MB. You don’t have to do any pre-processing to your images except for making sure it is not skewed right or left. If it is, go ahead and deskew it before uploading.
Also, if there is more than one column in your image, it will convert it all to one column. However, they are creating a layout engine that will recognize more complex documents in the future.
The recommended DPI for the images is 150, but if you have a file that is a lower DPI, go ahead and try it anyway to see if it works.
The only major limitation right now is that it can convert only the first page of a PDF document and that’s it! So if you have more than one page, you’ll only get the first page. In the future, you will be able to process up to 10 pages.
The cool feature, though, is that it also support six languages including German, French, Italian, Dutch and Spanish.
Overall, the OCR results were very good on cleanly printed PDF and image files. Obviously, if I tried a lower resolution scanned document, it didn’t catch everything, but still the results were impressive for a free online service!
Give it a shot and see how it works for you. Overall, it’s a really useful tool if you ever need a free online OCR service for something simple.