FreeOCR Guide
Free OCR Software Help Guide     

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FreeOCR V3 User Guide

This guide is intended to get you started using FreeOCR properly and hopefully get excellent results using the software

What is FreeOCR?

Basically FreeOCR is OCR software which stands for Optical Character Recognition which means that the software can read characters/words from an image to produce text output. If you scan a letter for example you get an image file which is just a bunch of dots (pixels) and your computer has no knowledge if the image contains text or a picture of your cat! but by using OCR software your computer will attempt to read to pixels and use pattern matching algorithms to output editable text.

Some people think that OCR software just converts an image to a Word processor document and although this is partially true the process is a lot more complicated than that and FreeOCR will only output plain text so you have to spell-check and format the output text yourself and although there are some high end OCR packages that will do this for you (with variable results) they carry very high price tags $500 or more so if you only need OCR occasionally then FreeOCR would be a better bet and will do 90% of the work for you.

OCR engines are never 100% accurate and manufacturers quote percentages like 99.8% but these quotes are always for very high quality clean scans in the real world the results are much lower however FreeOCR has a rate of between 98-99% accuracy which means for every 100 characters recognised there will be 1 or 2 errors and these can often be fixed using a spell-check of your word processor.

The Basics
Ok, if you are the sort of person that does not like to read help guides then just follow the 3 points below to get good results with FreeOCR

1) Scan your originals at 300dpi greyscale - higher resolutions such as 600dpi will NOT give better results and will probably give worse FreeOCR needs between 200-300 dpi and greyscale will give slightly better results than Black & White or Color

2) Rotate the scan – FreeOCR cannot read images that are upside down or rotated by 90 Deg. So use the rotate buttons

3) Select the text area to recognise by drawing a box around it – this will often give better results than OCR’ing the whole page unless you have a very clean scan.

To use FreeOCR you should be comfortable using Windows software and know how to copy & paste text between programs.


Description of Main Buttons


Scan - Lets you scan an image from any Twain or Wia compatible scanner, remember to set the scanning resolution to 300 dots per inch

Open - Opens/loads an image from file

Open PDF - This will open a PDF file, to do this FreeOCR converts each page to a bitmap, note that only scanned PDF's are supported ie. PDF's that contain an image.

OCR - starts the OCR process

OCR Language - If you have installed additional laguages then you can select them here

Open Help - Opens the online help guide - This Guide infact!

Image Buttons


Navigate page - if you have a multipage Tiff or PDF you can change the page with these.


Fit all of Image in window

Fit Width


Zoom buttons



Rotate Buttons


Selection tool - lets you crop an image or copy the selection to the clipboard


Text Buttons

Clear Text window


Save Text - save as txt file

Remove Line Breaks - Handy if you need to fit the text to a page


Copy Text - copies the contents of the text window to the clipboard

Export to Word send the text directly to MS Word (2000 & later)

Please note that as well as these buttons you can freely select text from the window and copy and paste into any Windows application


Ok, thats the basic functions explained Lets put this into practice on Page 2

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