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Top 5 OCR Software for Windows 11 (The Ultimate Guide)

September 28, 2023 4.1K views

Choosing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software for Windows 11 can be overwhelming with so many options available. This introduction emphasizes the importance of OCR in extracting text from images and scans. It highlights the need for guidance in picking the right tool, considering functionality and compatibility with Windows 11. The introduction promises a comprehensive guide to help readers make an informed choice for OCR on Windows 11.

Part1: What Is OCR Technology?

OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is a technology that converts images of text into machine-readable text. This means that OCR can be used to extract text from scanned documents, photos, and even videos.

OCR technology has been around for decades, but it has become increasingly accurate and sophisticated in recent years. This is due in part to the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Examples:

  • A scanned PDF of a business card

  • A photo of a receipt

Features and functions:

OCR technology offers a versatile range of capabilities. It excels in extracting text from an extensive array of image formats including PDF, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF. Notably, OCR is adept at handling both printed and handwritten documents.

Moreover, it facilitates seamless translation between different languages. Additionally, OCR empowers the creation of searchable PDFs from scanned materials.

Benefits:

The advantages of OCR are substantial. Foremost, it is a potent time-saver, eliminating the need for laborious manual transcription from images. Moreover, it bolsters the accuracy of data entry by mitigating the risk of human error.

With OCR, retrieving information from scanned documents becomes notably streamlined. Furthermore, this technology enables the digitization and archiving of physical documents, leading to space savings and enhanced security.

Drawbacks:

While OCR is a powerful tool, it is not infallible. It may occasionally err, particularly when confronted with handwritten text or low-quality images. Resource utilization can be a concern, particularly when handling extensive volumes of images. It's worth noting that certain OCR software, especially tailored for enterprise use, may entail a substantial cost.

Practical usage in real life:

OCR technology is used in a wide variety of industries and applications, including:

In businesses, it helps with tasks like entering data from invoices and receipts. In education, it converts textbooks into digital formats for easier access.

In healthcare, it turns medical records and documents into digital files, making them simpler to store and find.

Government offices use OCR to change physical documents, such as birth certificates and passports, into digital versions.

Additionally, OCR plays a role in media and publishing by converting printed materials like newspapers and magazines into digital copies.

Best 5 OCR Softwares for Windows 11 - Free Download

In this section, we'll explore five powerful OCR software options tailored for Windows 11, each with its unique features, pricing, pros and cons. Additionally, we'll provide download links for your convenience.

1. FreeOCR

FreeOCR stands out as a user-friendly OCR solution tailored for Windows 11 users. Its intuitive interface and robust text recognition capabilities make it a go-to choice for those seeking accurate results from scanned documents or images. Supporting various image formats, FreeOCR ensures seamless extraction of text, enhancing your productivity without the cost.

Pros:

  • Free to use

  • Accurate OCR results

  • Wide range of features

  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Limited features compared to paid OCR software

  • Not suitable for processing large volumes of documents or images

  • Pricing: Free to use.

2. Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote, available both as a web application and a desktop software, presents a versatile note-taking platform enriched with OCR functionality. Seamlessly integrated within the Microsoft 365 suite, it empowers users to effortlessly extract text from images or scanned documents. With collaborative features and cross-platform accessibility, OneNote serves as a comprehensive solution for organizing and digitizing content.

Pros:

  • Free to use

  • Integrated with other Microsoft Office applications

  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Basic OCR features

  • Not suitable for processing large volumes of documents or images

  • Pricing: Included in Microsoft 365 subscriptions; free version also available.

3. SimpleOCR

SimpleOCR is revered for its straightforward approach to text recognition. This software excels in converting scanned documents into editable text, offering a practical solution for personal and business applications. With an emphasis on user-friendliness, SimpleOCR caters to a wide audience, enabling hassle-free extraction of information from scanned materials.

Pros:

  • Free to use

  • Open-source software

  • Simple and easy to use

Cons:

  • Basic OCR features

  • Not suitable for processing large volumes of documents or images

  • Pricing: Free to use.

4. Readiris Free

Readiris Free is a free OCR software that offers a variety of features, including the ability to extract text from images, convert PDFs to editable documents, and create searchable PDFs. It supports over 100 languages and can process a wide range of image formats, including PDF, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF.

Pros:

  • Free to use

  • Accurate OCR results

  • Wide range of features

  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Limited features compared to paid OCR software

  • Not suitable for processing large volumes of documents or images

  • Pricing: Free to use.

5. WPS PDF

WPS PDF emerges as a dynamic PDF editing tool, enriched with a built-in OCR feature. Beyond conventional text recognition, it provides the versatility to convert PDFs into editable Word documents or Excel spreadsheets. Seamlessly integrated into the WPS Office suite, WPS PDF empowers users with a comprehensive solution for enhancing the usability of PDF documents.

Pros:

  • Free to use

  • Wide range of features, including OCR

  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Not as accurate as some paid OCR software

  • Not suitable for processing large volumes of documents or images

  • Pricing: Free to use.

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What Is WPS PDF and Why Choose It?

WPS PDF is a free PDF editor and converter that offers a built-in OCR feature. OCR stands for optical character recognition, and it allows you to extract text from scanned PDFs and images. WPS PDF can convert the extracted text to editable Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and other file formats.

Here are some of the benefits of using WPS PDF's OCR feature:

  • Save time and effort by automating the process of extracting text from scanned PDFs and images.

  • Improve the accuracy of your data entry and analysis by using WPS PDF's highly accurate OCR feature.

  • Make information stored in scanned PDFs and images more accessible by converting it to editable text formats.

  • Increase your productivity by automating repetitive tasks and freeing up your time to focus on more important things.

WPS PDF is a good option to consider if you need a free and powerful OCR software.

How to Use OCR Feature in WPS PDF Editor

Follow these detailed steps to harness the power of OCR in WPS PDF Editor:

Step 1: Open the PDF file that you want to extract text from.

Step 2: Click the Tools tab and then click the OCR button.

Step 3: In the OCR dialog box, select the language of the text that you want to extract.

Step 4: Select the OCR mode that you want to use. The Extract text only mode is the fastest and most accurate mode, but it will not preserve the original formatting of the text.

The Convert to Word mode will preserve the original formatting of the text, but it may take longer to process the file.

Step 5: Click the OK button to start the OCR process.

Step 6: Once the OCR process is complete, the extracted text will be displayed in a new window.

Step 7: You can now copy and paste the extracted text into another document, or you can save the extracted text as a separate file.

Tips:

  • Use the zoom feature (Ctrl + scroll) for a closer look at the text.

  • Experiment with different OCR languages for improved accuracy.

  • Proofread and verify the OCR results for precision.

[2023 Update] New OCR Feature in Windows 11

In the exciting realm of Windows 11, a game-changer arrives pre-installed—the revamped Snipping Tool. This intuitive software allows users to capture, edit, and annotate screenshots with ease. Its streamlined interface and enhanced functionality make it a go-to tool for visual communication.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Use the Snipping Tool in Windows 11

Step 1: Launch the Snipping Tool: Locate and open the Snipping Tool from the Start Menu or by pressing Win + Shift + S. This action will bring up the snipping options menu.

Step 2: Select Your Snipping Mode: Choose from options like Freeform, Rectangular, Window, or Full-Screen snip. Each mode caters to different capture needs.

Step 3: Capture Your Snip: Use your mouse to draw around the area you want to capture. The selected area will be instantly copied to your clipboard.

Step 4: Edit and Annotate (Optional): Once captured, the Snipping Tool provides basic editing tools. Add highlights, arrows, text, or even freehand drawings to enhance your snip.

Step 5: Save or Share: After editing, click on the disk icon to save your snip. Choose the desired format and location. Alternatively, directly paste the snip into a document or email.

Microsoft is currently testing an OCR feature for the Snipping Tool in Windows 11. This feature will allow you to extract text from screenshots and images. The OCR feature is still under development, but it is expected to be released to the public in late 2023.

Pros and cons of the upcoming OCR feature in Windows 11

Pros:

  • The OCR feature will make it easier to extract text from screenshots and images.

  • The OCR feature will be integrated into the Snipping Tool, so it will be easy to use.

  • The OCR feature will be available to all Windows 11 users, regardless of whether they are using a paid or free version of Windows 11.

Cons:

  • The OCR feature is still under development, so it may not be as accurate as other OCR software programs.

  • The OCR feature is not expected to be able to convert text to Excel or other file formats.

Overall, the upcoming OCR feature in Windows 11 is a welcome addition to the Snipping Tool. It will make it easier for users to extract text from screenshots and images, which can be useful for a variety of tasks, such as creating documents, taking notes, and sharing information with others.

FAQs

1. What is the difference between Google OCR and Microsoft OCR?

Aspect

Google OCR

Microsoft OCR

Recognition Accuracy

Highly accurate, particularly for structured text.

Known for strong accuracy, especially for printed text.

Language Support

Supports multiple languages.

Extensive language support.

Integration

Part of the Google Cloud Vision API.

Integrated into Microsoft's ecosystem.

Pricing

Generally requires payment for API usage.

Available for free in Microsoft Office applications.

Special Features

Offers object recognition and label detection.

Integrates seamlessly with Office

2. How can I improve my OCR accuracy?

To enhance OCR accuracy, consider the following tips:

  1. Use High-Quality Source Images: Ensure that the images or scans are clear, well-lit, and have a high resolution.

  2. Optimize Contrast: Adequate contrast between text and background improves recognition.

  3. Avoid Distorted or Skewed Images: Rectify any image distortions or skewing before running OCR.

  4. Preprocess Images: Remove noise, artifacts, or unwanted elements from the image.

  5. Choose the Right OCR Engine: Different engines perform better on specific types of content, so select one suited to your needs.

  6. Train the OCR Model (if possible): Some OCR systems allow for training on specific fonts or layouts.

3. How to improve OCR speed?

To improve OCR speed, consider the following:

  1. Lower Image Resolution: Opt for lower resolution images when high quality isn't essential.

  2. Crop Unnecessary Areas: Focus OCR on the relevant content by cropping extraneous parts.

  3. Use Multi-Core Processors: Leverage software that supports multi-core processing for faster recognition.

  4. Optimize OCR Settings: Adjust settings to prioritize speed over accuracy if applicable.

  5. Batch Processing: Queue multiple documents for OCR to save time.

  6. Preprocessing Tools: Use tools to clean up and optimize images before recognition.

  7. Consider GPU Acceleration: If available, GPU processing can accelerate OCR tasks.

  8. Choose Efficient OCR Engine: Experiment with different OCR engines to find the fastest one for your needs.

Summary

In this guide, we've covered OCR technology for Windows 11 users. We started by explaining OCR and its features. Then, we listed the top OCR software options. WPS PDF stood out for its built-in OCR feature, which can convert documents to Word, Excel, and more.

We provided a step-by-step guide with screenshots on how to use this feature. We also introduced the new OCR feature in Windows 11 and discussed its pros and cons. Overall, this guide is a handy resource for Windows 11 users looking for effective OCR solutions, with WPS PDF as a standout choice.


15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.