How Do You Convert Scanned Documents to Editable Text?


Quick Answer

To convert a scanned document to editable text, use the optical character recognition software that came with your scanner, the document imaging feature in Microsoft Word, the automatic OCR feature in Adobe Acrobat or the free Web-based tool featured at Free-OCR.com as of 2015. Many OCR programs require that the file be in a particular format, while the tool featured at Free-OCR.com converts images in many common file formats to editable text.

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Most versions of Microsoft Word feature a document imaging tool that converts files in TIF or MDI format to editable text. WikiHow.com features step-by-step instructions on how to use this feature. If your image is not in TIF or MDI format, you can typically open it with an image editing program, such as the Microsoft Paint program included with most versions of Microsoft Windows, and then save it in TIF format.

Typically, scanners are sold with OCR software. Check the documentation and software that came with the scanner, or view the list of programs in the scanner's program group on the computer to which the scanner is connected. People with Adobe Acrobat can use a built-in feature to create OCR images or to convert images to editable text in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats. Acrobat.Adobe.com features detailed instructions on performing these conversions.

At Free-OCR.com, users can upload an image in various file formats to convert text contained in the image to any of about 30 languages. They can then download the resulting text as a file or copy and paste it to another program. Supported file formats include JPG, PNG, BMP, PDF, JPEG, TIF and GIF. The maximum uploadable file size is 6 megabytes. However, if your file is larger, you can reduce the its size by decreasing the image resolution with an image editing program.

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