For years now, our undisputed Editor’s Choice to get the best-in-class optical character reading software has been ABBYY FineReader. The revamped latest version, ABBYY FineReader 14, is a top-notch OCR application that adds document-comparison features that you cannot find somewhere else and new PDF-editing features that rival the advanced feature set in Adobe Acrobat DC. FineReader 14 is additionally the very best document-comparison productivity application I’ve ever seen, having the ability to compare documents in two different formats, so you can compare a Word file to a PDF version of the same file and discover which of these two provides the latest revisions. It’s truly terrific.
What You’ll Pay
Within my writing and editing work, I’ve relied on Abbyy Finereader so long as I will remember, and something reason I work mostly in Windows and never over a Mac is the fact ABBYY FineReader Pro for Mac version is a lot less powerful than ABBYY FineReader 14 for Windows. With this review, I tested the $399.99 ABBYY FineReader 14 Corporate edition. A $199.99 (upgrade price $129.99) Standard version has all the OCR and PDF-editing features of Corporate, but lacks the document-compare component and doesn’t range from the Hot Folder feature that automatically creates PDF files from documents or images saved to the folder.
For many users, the conventional version may well be more than enough, nevertheless the document-comparison feature alone may be well worth the extra price for the Corporate app. The prices, incidentally, are perpetual, without annoying subscription model like Adobe’s required.
You’ll typically use an OCR app to transform scanned images of printed text into either an editable Word document or a searchable PDF file. Now that every smartphone takes high-resolution photos, you don’t even require a scanner to generate images that you can turn into editable documents or PDFs, but your OCR software needs in order to assist skewed and otherwise irregular photos as well as high-quality scans. FineReader has always excelled at cleaning imperfect images, but version 14 seems a lot more impressive than earlier versions. After I used my phone to consider photos of two-page spreads in a book, FineReader effortlessly split the photos into single-page images, unskewed the images in order that text line is horizontal, and recognized the written text with often perfect accuracy.
FineReader hides its myriad advanced features behind straightforward beginner-level menus, nevertheless the advanced alternatives are readily accessible to advanced users from the toolbar and menu. When you begin up the app, it displays a spacious menu listing a half-dozen tasks: viewing and editing a preexisting PDF file; performing advanced OCR tasks in a PDF file; and converting standard document formats to PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or electronic publication formats, such as ePub and DjVu. Conversion options include the cabability to combine multiple files in to a single PDF, Word, or Excel file. A second menu lists options to scan to FineReader’s OCR Editor or directly to PDF, Word, Excel, or even to several other image, document, and publishing formats. A third menu opens FineReader’s separate compare-documents app. This menu product is more than enough to accomplish most standard OCR and file-conversion tasks, and the Windows 10-style interface is among the clearest I’ve seen.
For basic PDF editing, FineReader has a clearer and a lot more modern interface than Adobe Acrobat, and makes it much simpler to do tasks like using a developer certificate to sign a document. FineReader’s search feature has conveniences that Adobe doesn’t match, including the capability to highlight or underline all cases of searching string. You may also switch on the convenient redaction mode that allows you to blank out any text or region in a document simply by selecting a region having a mouse, clicking, and moving on to the next.
On the other hand, ABBYY doesn’t include Acrobat’s full-text indexing feature that may make searching almost instantaneous in large documents. FineReader’s interface uses the familiar sidebar of thumbnails or bookmarks on the left of a full-size image, nevertheless the layout is exceptionally clear, and all icons are labeled. A new background OCR feature means available started editing a PDF before the app has completed its text-recognition operations.
FineReader’s unique powers are most evident in its OCR editor, an efficient tool for checking its OCR output and correcting recognition errors. Scanned images of old books, crumpled paper, or marked-up pages are almost sure to produce either outright errors, or readings in which the OCR software can’t be sure in the original text and makes a best guess of what was on the page. FineReader’s OCR editor works just like a high-powered spelling checker in a word-processor, quickly trawling through doubtful OCR readings as you confirm or correct each one in turn-and its superb keyboard interface lets you confirm a doubtful reading with one keystroke or correct it with several keystrokes, typically choosing the right reading from the list that this program offers. This kind of djlrfs work normally strains your hand muscles as you maneuver the mouse, but FineReader’s thoughtful design reduces strain for an absolute minimum. An additional plus, for most law and government offices that still use WordPerfect for creating documents, FineReader can export OCR output right to WordPerfect without making you save first within an intermediate format like RTF.
Everything in FineReader seems designed to reduce needless operations. Once you do the installation, it adds a Screenshot Reader app for your taskbar icons. This works like a superpowered version of Windows’ built-in Snipping Tool. I prefer it to capture the text when an on-screen image shows a photo of some text but doesn’t let me pick the text itself-as an example, an image of any page in the search engines Books or Amazon’s Look Inside feature. I start up the Screenshot Reader app, drag the mouse to frame the written text I wish to capture, then wait another or two while FineReader performs OCR on the image and sends the text for the Clipboard. Options within the app allow me to decide on a table or just capture a graphic towards the Clipboard. Additionally they allow me to send the output directly to Microsoft Word as well as other app instead of for the Clipboard. There’s nothing else available that’s remotely as powerful and efficient at capturing text through the screen.