OCR has become an increasingly widespread tool throughout the internet to convert images to text. It’s useful for a wide range of purposes and situations, but most of these require dedicated programs in order to make the most of them.
Fortunately, you don’t have to download or install a thing if you want to make the most of this technology. Here are five of the best free online OCR tools you can use to convert images to text for free.
What Is OCR?
OCR, or optical character recognition, is a process by which programs extract useful information from printed or written text. Typically, this is from a scanned document or a photo of some sort.
What does this mean? Essentially, OCR is a tool which you can use to extract plain, easy to use and process text from an image of something handwritten or printed.
For example, if you had a photo of a document or letter that you wanted to convert to a Microsoft Word document, you would be able to use OCR to do so.
First on this list comes OCRSpace, a completely free and online OCR service. OCRSpace has numerous different options available, so it should be a good fit for any of you who like to fiddle with various settings.
Using OCRSpace is easy. You have the option to upload a file from your computer or to use the URL from a website that features an image. You can also drag and drop your file. It accepts most commonly used image formats.
There are many useful settings you can enable or disable from here. If your image isn’t orientated correctly, then OCRSpace can reorient the image for you, and if the image is low quality or small, OCRSpace can automatically improve it for you.
Interestingly, if you’re trying to include information that would be better suited as a table, then OCRSpace includes functionality for this as well. If you’re trying to upload your receipts for your tax documents, let’s say, then this feature would be most useful.
OCRSpace also supports an impressive range of different languages, so you aren’t limited to extracting information from documents just in English.
There are premium plans available for OCRSpace, but for most use cases you won’t need the features that it provides. If you find yourself uploading particularly sizable documents, however, you may end up having to upgrade.
If you’re looking for something that should work simply and easily, regardless of what your goal is, then NewOCR might be a good fit for you.
NewOCR boasts a simple UI. There’s one button for uploading your file and that’s it. Once uploaded, you can select recognition languages and rotate the image if it’s facing the wrong way.
Where NewOCR excels, however, is not in its design but its features. There are no limits on how much you can upload and no need for an account or registration.
Moreover, NewOCR is capable of recognizing a sizable number of different input file formats and languages. There are very few files that NewOCR cannot process, including multiple big image documents bundled into zip archives.
More impressive, however, is the range of languages available for interpretation. NewOCR can understand 122 different languages, including many you might struggle to find elsewhere. Standouts include Ancient Greek, Middle English, and Mathematical equations.
Next, we have Soda PDF Online. As the name implies, Soda PDF Online is, first and foremost, a PDF processing suite. But it also includes OCR functionality for images, scanned documents, and PDFs.
Soda PDF Online allows you to upload documents manually or from Google Drive and Dropbox. Once uploaded and processed, Soda PDF Online will give you an editable PDF you can use to copy and edit the information from directly.
Naturally, this is most useful if you have a document that you want in PDF format. Otherwise, other options are capable of achieving the same result with fewer steps.
Soda PDF Online includes many premium features as well. Most of them don’t directly relate to their OCR functionality as much as their PDF processing suite, however.
If you’re not sure what it is exactly that you’re looking for or hoping for just a bit of help, OCR2Edit may just be a good fit.
OCR2Edit differentiates itself from other OCR services on this list through its ease of use. It breaks down each of its different functions into unique categories and roles so that you can find exactly what you’re looking to do.
For example, if you want to convert an image to a Microsoft Word document, then OCR2Edit can direct you to a page dedicated to that service. If you wanted to make a PDF searchable, there’s a page for that as well.
This breaking down into categories makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, instead of guessing and hoping that you’ll achieve the result you want.
Finally, we have img2txt. img2txt is a great OCR service if you want something no-frills and straightforward that just works.
img2txt allows you to upload a file by either dragging or navigating through your computer. You can also provide it with a text link to a webpage with an image, and it will be able to detect the content therein.
The interface is simple to use, and img2txt supports over 35 languages for text recognition as well. There’s no need for any form of registration and no capping out on requests, either, so you’ll be able to use img2txt whenever the need arises.
Online Isn’t the Only Way to Convert Images to Text
OCR is an incredibly useful tool to use when the need arises, and hopefully somewhere on this list, you’ve found the right tool for the job that you’re looking for.
There are, however, plenty of other tools available for you to use when the need arises. Often, they can be even more convenient than online solutions, assuming that they’re the right fit for the job.
As always, diversity and a wide range of alternatives is the most useful tool you can have. So, why not look around some?
Want OCR software for free? This article collects the seven best programs that turn images into text.
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