For a long time now, our undisputed Editor’s Choice for the best-in-class optical character reading software has become ABBYY FineReader. The revamped new edition, ABBYY FineReader 14, is actually a high quality OCR app that adds document-comparison features that you can’t find elsewhere 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, with the ability to compare documents in 2 different formats, so that you can compare a Word file to some PDF version of the identical file and discover which of these two has got the latest revisions. It’s truly terrific.
What You’ll Pay
Inside my writing and editing work, I’ve relied on Fine Reader as long as I can remember, and one reason I work mostly in Windows and not on a Mac is the fact that ABBYY FineReader Pro for Mac version is less powerful than ABBYY FineReader 14 for Windows. For 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 attributes 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 Standard version could be more than enough, however the document-comparison feature alone might be worth the extra price for that Corporate app. The prices, by the way, are perpetual, with no annoying subscription model like Adobe’s required.
You’ll typically work with an OCR app to transform scanned images of printed text into either an editable Word document or even a searchable PDF file. Now that every smartphone takes high-resolution photos, you don’t even require a scanner to generate images that one could turn into editable documents or PDFs, but your OCR software needs in order to work together with skewed and otherwise irregular photos in addition to high-quality scans. FineReader has always excelled at clearing up imperfect images, but version 14 seems much 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 pictures in order that text lines are horizontal, and recognized the words with often perfect accuracy.
FineReader hides its myriad advanced features behind straightforward beginner-level menus, but the advanced alternatives are readily available to advanced users from the toolbar and menu. When you start the app, it displays a spacious menu listing a half-dozen tasks: viewing and editing an existing PDF file; performing advanced OCR tasks in a PDF file; and converting standard document formats to PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or electronic publication formats, including ePub and DjVu. Conversion options include the opportunity to combine multiple files right into a single PDF, Word, or Excel file. Another menu lists options to scan to FineReader’s OCR Editor or directly to PDF, Word, Excel, or several other image, document, and publishing formats. A third menu opens FineReader’s separate compare-documents app. This menu product is more than sufficient to achieve most standard OCR and file-conversion tasks, and the Windows 10-style interface is one of the clearest I’ve seen.
For basic PDF editing, FineReader features a clearer and more modern interface than Adobe Acrobat, and makes it much simpler to perform tasks like employing a developer certificate to sign a document. FineReader’s search feature has conveniences that Adobe doesn’t match, like the ability to highlight or underline all cases of searching string. You can also switch over a convenient redaction mode that allows you to blank out any text or region in a document just 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 will make searching almost instantaneous in large documents. FineReader’s interface uses the familiar sidebar of thumbnails or bookmarks on the left of any full-size image, nevertheless the layout is exceptionally clear, and all icons are labeled. A new background OCR feature means that exist started editing a PDF ahead of the app has completed its text-recognition operations.
FineReader’s unique powers are most evident in the OCR editor, an effective tool for checking its OCR output and correcting recognition errors. Scanned images of old books, crumpled paper, or marked-up pages are almost guaranteed to produce either outright errors, or readings where OCR software can’t be certain of 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 while you confirm or correct every one subsequently-as well as its superb keyboard interface allows you to confirm a doubtful reading with one keystroke or correct it with two or three keystrokes, typically choosing the right reading from a list that this program offers. This sort of djlrfs work normally strains your hand muscles when 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 leading you to save first within an intermediate format like RTF.
All things in FineReader seems created to reduce needless operations. Once you install it, it adds a Screenshot Reader app for your taskbar icons. This works just like a superpowered version of Windows’ built-in Snipping Tool. I prefer it to capture the written text when an on-screen image shows a picture of some text but doesn’t permit me to select the text itself-for example, a picture of a page in Google Books or Amazon’s Look Inside feature. I start up the Screenshot Reader app, drag the mouse to frame the text I want to capture, and then wait an additional or two while FineReader performs OCR on the image and sends the written text towards the Clipboard. Options inside the app allow me to select a table or just capture a graphic to the Clipboard. Additionally they let me send the output straight to Microsoft Word or some other app instead of for the Clipboard. There’s little else available that’s remotely as powerful and efficient at capturing text through the screen.