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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Need a Quick OCR Job? Try This Free Online Service.

Need a Quick OCR Job? Try This Free Online Service.

Most scanners and cameras nowadays come with some basic OCR software.  If you're not familiar with the term, Optical Character Recognition attempts to turn an image file into text, by recognising the pixels that make up each character.  Typically, it's used for turning scanned images of documents, newspaper cuttings, correspondence, books etc into small, indexable, searchable text files.  

If you don't have any such software, and you need to perform some OCR magic on a scanned image, there's a web service that can help. is, as the same suggests, an online OCR service that's free to use.  Just upload any image file of 2 MB or less, wait a few seconds, and the text is instantly displayed for you to copy and paste into a text editor or any other application.

If you're going to use such a service, a couple of caveats apply.  First, remember that everything runs on a remote web server, so it's best not to upload anything particularly confidential (or incriminating!).  Secondly, like all OCR software, this service works best if you experiment to find the best contrast settings for the source image.  Too little contrast, and accuracy goes out of the window, like this:

Go there...


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