Convert Images to Text

runs as Online Service
screenshot of BetterOCR

A couple of weeks ago, we got a panicked late-night phone call from our daughter. She's away in graduate school and had an important deadline coming up for the next revision of her thesis. Oh, and by the way, her computer died. Turns out she had a recent copy of her document, but it was only as a PDF rather than a Word DOC. This meant that she couldn't make any edits, and she had a lot more to add before the paper could be handed in. The next day. Long story short, she spent many hours that night re-typing her paper on a borrowed computer. What she needed was easy access to an OCR tool, like BetterOCR.

OCR, Optical Character Recognition, is a process where software looks at a non-text document, like an image or a PDF file, and automagically figures out which of the shapes on the page represent letters and words, and then converts them to editable text that you can tweak with a word processor. BetterOCR is a tool that lets you do exactly that, and with the added benefit that it's an online service, so there's no software to download to your computer (or that borrowed computer you're using), and it's compatible with everybody's system.

To use BetterOCR, all you need to do is point your browser at their site and upload your document. They can work with PDFs, as well as PNG and JPG image files and others. Enter your email address, select the file—or files—you want converted, and press the magic button. Your job is added to their queue, and the little OCR elves get right to work. Depending on which level of service you choose, you can download the result or wait for it to be emailed to you.

There are three levels to choose from: Free OCR, which scans and converts your file, but then it's up to you to proofread and edit the result; Budget OCR, which brings in a human editor and guarantees a one-week turnaround for $0.99 a page; or their Better OCR service, which uses their best editors, turns your document around in three days with a 99% accuracy guarantee, for $1.99 per page. And no matter how you slice it, they're all better than re-typing that 40-page paper. Or receiving that parental procrastination lecture. Again.

Go to OCR Service

4 Responses to “Convert Images to Text”

  1. J.L. says:

    A pdf to word converter will be more accurate imo.

  2. arameth says:

    Very useful Thanks!

  3. Joseph says:

    Does the “Convert Image to Text” handle the Hebrew kanguage?

  4. Lance Matthews says:

    I will give it a go