Optical character recognition of scanned images, snapshots and PDFs
3.9  (14 votes)
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FreeOCR is intended to recognize text from images. The tool has an easy-to-use interface; moreover, you can get help from online documentation. Fortunately, it supports importing images from various sources. Thus, besides using a scanner, you can also capture snapshots from a webcam as well as open images and PDF documents.

After opening an image, it is possible to rotate its contents to the desired position. To increase the accuracy of the recognition process, you can set an OCR language. Once the processing is finished, the program allows you to make some corrections that consist mainly on replacing generally misinterpreted combinations of characters.

While OCR is being performed, the resulting text is shown on the application’s left panel, which allows making manual corrections as well. This text can then be sent directly to Word, saved in RTF format or copied to the clipboard. Likewise, you can save the images in JPG format. Sadly, it cannot embed the recognized text in a PDF document, which is, in my opinion, the most desirable option.

All in all, FreeOCR is definitely a solution when you need to recognize text at no cost. The tool was tested with images obtained from a webcam and a scanned PDF document. Logically, the results were much better with the latter.

Pedro Castro
Editor rating:

Review summary


  • It supports recognizing characters from various sources.
  • It allows corrections after processing.
  • It supports various European languages.
  • It lets you export to various formats


  • The recognition is not always accurate.
  • The recognized text cannot be embedded in a PDF.
  • The interface has at least one typo (“seperate")

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Jane Horton

Jane Horton Easy to use with a good recognition engine. Sure it can't handle handwriting, but it's free.

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Guest This software converts tiff images, but if some error occurs, can I edit them manually?

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Guest I wanted to take my hand-written notes and convert them into editable text, but I just ended up with a load of images. I was hoping it would be intelligent enough to do it, but it didn't.

I mean, it makes sense that it would be possible to convert hand-written notes, right?! Sure, you would maybe have to program your style so it knows how to translate your stuff better, but it doesn't have a learning feature. Disappointing.

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Download for Mac

FreeOCR for Mac
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