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6 Best Online OCR Tools

6 best online OCR tools

Global digitalization has changed the way we live and work. It has replaced faxes with emails, letters with emails, handwriting with typing, written documents with printed documents. Most lately, it created the so-called paperless trend where offices and schools replace paper with tech devices and tools. While more and more businesses across the globe turn to this trend, some types of documents, such as receipts, invoices, and forms, are still printed. To be able to process these files while keeping up with digitalization, businesses have turned to OCR tools or OCR converters.

What Are OCR Tools and How Do They Work?

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tools are web-based tools that turn images of printed documents and electronic formats like PDFs into readable, searchable, and editable files. They are easy to use and don’t require any special knowledge to use them. By using an OCR tool, you save a lot of time, money, and effort since you don’t have to manually rewrite all the information found on those files. These tools use OCR technology, which converts text from various types of physical and digital files into machine-readable data. Therefore, OCR tools can recognize text from images, photos, and printed or scanned documents and extract the same. The extracted text can then be used for various purposes, such as data entry. Database creation, or information indexing. Also, they can convert the extracted text into various file formats like CSV, XML, XLSX, etc.

The Evolution of OCR Tools

Back in the 70s, when the OCR tools have first appeared, they weren’t nearly as sophisticated as those we have today. Many things have changed throughout the years, with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning taking over the OCR technology. Apart from these two technologies, the Natural Language Processing (NLP) technique has also been incorporated. This has allowed OCR tools to understand the context of the text being extracted. In addition, OCR tools nowadays can be used on documents of any format and non-standard ones. Thanks to all these advances and technologies incorporated in these tools, they can serve for much more than extracting text from printed and digital files. They can understand their meaning, detect frauds, and so on.

Benefits of Using OCR Tools

Using OCR tools for extracting text from printed and digital files has numerous benefits for businesses, including:
  • Allows for easy access - Users can easily search for specific files using their personal information. Since the system uses OCR technology, all files can be searched by data like names, numbers, and addresses.
  • Reduces time - OCR tools save a lot of time since they do all the hard work of manually rewriting or transcribing files.
  • Improves files conversion and data usability - Using an OCR tool, you can easily edit and manage files as well as convert them from one file format to another.
  • Reduces costs - OCR tools have low-cost processing, which saves your budget.
  • Improves productivity - Since working with OCR reduces time, effort, and stress, it creates a more relaxed working environment, which results in greater productivity.
  • Boosts speed - By extracting text from printed and digital documents and converting it into readable and editable data, OCR speeds up the process of data management.
  • Increases accuracy and data usability - By having text extraction done by AI-powered and Machine-Learning-based OCR tools, the text is very accurate and ensures better data usability. The higher accuracy makes the content more valuable to clients and allows businesses to control data quality.
  • Improves customer service and increases customer retention - By using OCR tools, you can serve your customers faster and more effectively. It’s because it converts all your data into a digital format that is easy to access. This not only improves customer service but also increases your customer retention.

How to Choose the Right OCR Tool for Your Business?

There are many OCR tools available on the market, but all of them are the same. They differ in their technology, features, and price. Also, not all of them match your business needs and requirements. So, how to choose the right OCR tool for your business? To do that, you need to look at the OCR tool that:
  • Works with standard and non-standard formats.
  • Supports all languages or, at least, all commonly spoken languages.
  • Is SaaS-based, not software that needs to be installed because those tools improve over time and offer users more features.
  • Can detect handwritten text - not a must, but definitely a big plus.
  • Isn’t template-based because they perform poorly.
  • Matches your business needs - look at its features to see if it can do whatever you need.
  • Matches your budget, but make sure you look at the total cost of the tool, not only the price of the product (one-time payment or monthly fee or completely free).

6 Best Online OCR Tools

Choosing which OCR tool works best for your business is totally up to you. However, to help you out with that, here we list the six best online OCR tools. Take a look at them… who knows, one of them might be the one for you.

1. Online OCR

Online OCR Net is considered to be the best OCR tool because it comes with great features and allows for a super-simple and quick way to convert an image or a PDF file into various text formats. You can use it with or without signing up for an account. However, without an account, you can convert up to 15 files to text per hour. On the other hand, with an account, you get access to all of its features, such as converting images and PDFs into multiple text formats.

Online OCR Features

  • Supports 46 recognition languages, among which are:
    • The most spoken languages - English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Indonesian, and Russian.
    • Popular languages - Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Finnish, and Greek.
    • Lesser spoken languages - Bulgarian, Byelorussian, Catalan, Galician, Lithuanian, Macedonian, and Moldavian.
    • Even dead languages like Esperanto.
  • Supports various image formats, including PDF (all types, even multi-page PDFs), JPEG/JPG, PNG, BMP, PCX, GIF, and TIF/TIFF (Multipage TIFFs supported). In addition, ZIP files containing all these file formats can also be uploaded.
  • Recommended image quality - 200-400 DPI
  • Maximum input file size - 200 MB
  • Supports various output formats, including Adobe PDF document, Microsoft Word document, Microsoft Excel document, RTF document, Text Plain.
  • Supports conversion from PDF, JPG, BMP, TIFF, and GIF formats into DOCX, XLSX, and TXT.

Conversion Process

The conversion process of Online OCR is very simple and has three steps:

➔ Upload your file.

➔ Choose your language and output format.

➔ Click the Convert button.

2. GorillaPDF Online OCR

GorillaPDF Online OCR

When it comes to extracting text from image, one of the favorites is certainly the online OCR tool by GorillaPDF. What is favorable at this application is the flawless user experience and the high accuracy, which is over 90%. It's easy to interact with the application, and converts the file very fast, while allowing to upload files up to 50 MB. It accepts images in JPG and PDF format, and extracts the text in a PDF document, ready for the user to download and use. Finally, this is an API-ready application, suitable for volume requests.

GorillaPDF Online OCR Highlights

  • No registration and login needed
  • Unlimited convertsions
  • Encrypted connection
  • Automated file deleting
  • Support 106 languages
  • Drag-and-drop form
  • 90% accuracry
  • Up to 50 MB image size upload
  • Waiting converting time is approximately 3 seconds per 1.6 MB image
  • Download the output in a PDF file where you can copy the text
  • Clean design
  • Seamles user experience
  • API-ready

Text Extraction Process

➔ Open the online OCR tool.

➔ Click on the "Browse" button, or drag and drop your PNG or JPG image.

➔ When loaded, click on "Convert" button.

➔ Download the PDF file with extracted text when finished.

3. NewOCR


Unlike Online OCR, the second OCR tool on our list doesn’t support conversion. Instead, it offers only text extraction from image files. However, it offers users some features that other online OCR tools don’t, such as setting multiple recognition languages and page rotation. NewOCR is completely free to use and you don’t need to sign up for an account to use it. With this tool, you can analyze texts in images and convert them into editable texts in a format of your choice.

NewOCR Features

  • No registration needed
  • Unlimited uploads
  • High data security - all your files are removed from the server upon their conversion.
  • Supports 122 languages (INCREDIBLE!)
  • Multi-language recognition
  • Mathematical equations recognition
  • Multi-column text recognition
  • Supports low-resolution images
  • Supports poorly photographed and scanned pages
  • Allows page rotation
  • Area selection on a page
  • Various ways to process and display the extracted text
  • Supports various image formats, including PNG, GIF, JPEG, BMP, PGM, PCX, PBM, JFIF, and PPM.
  • Supports compressed files and multiple images in ZIP archive
  • Supports multi-page documents, including PDF, TIFF, and DjVu
  • Supports DOCX and ODT files with images
  • Supports three output file formats, including DOC, PDF, and TXT

Text Extraction Process

Extracting text from images using NewOCR is pretty simple. To do it, you need to:

➔ Click the Choose File button.

➔ Choose an image.

➔ Click the Preview button to access several additional options.

➔ Once done, click the blue OCR button to extract the text from the image.

➔ Download the extracted text in a format of your choice or send it to Google Docs.

4. OCR.Space


In the third place, we find an OCR tool with features that allow you to perform pretty much every image-to-text operation. OCR.Space features a very simple interface, yet contains numerous text extraction options. It’s free to use and doesn’t require registration. Plus, it’s easy to use and offers additional options along the extraction process. You can use this tool to convert printed or scanned images or documents and to extract text from PDF.

OCR.Space Features

  • Great safety - no data is stored
  • Supports 24 languages, including Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Slovenian, Swedish, and Turkish.
  • Supports various input formats, including WEBP, PNG, JPG, and PDF.
  • Supports two output formats: searchable PDF and JSON.
  • File auto-rotation
  • Receipt scanning
  • Table recognition
  • Auto-scaling
  • Two OCR engines: engine 1 offers fast conversion and extraction and supports most languages; engine 2 is better for number and special character recognition.
  • Supports multi-page documents
  • Supports multi-column text
  • Free and paid version
  • Maximum input file size for the free version - 5 MB
  • Free OCR API for automated OCR and multi-file processing.
  • Doesn’t support handwritten documents, only printed or scanned.
  • Two input options - upload a file or insert a link to an online available file.

Conversion/Text Extraction Process

➔ Upload a file or insert a link.

➔ Choose the language.

➔ Select the additional options: orientation detection and auto-rotation, receipt scanning or table recognition, auto-enlarge content.

➔ Select the type of output format: do you want just to extract text and show overlay, a searchable PDF with a visible text layer, or searchable PDF with an invisible layer.

➔ Select which OCR engine to use.

➔ Click the Start OCR! Button.

➔ If you have selected one of the two searchable PDF format options, you can choose to download the file or just show overlay.

5. Convertio


The next OCR tool on our list is Convertio, an online OCR tool with a modern yet simple design. It offers conversion and OCR options to users as well as an API option for developers. It has a free version, which doesn’t require users to sign up, and a paid version. The free version is somewhat limited as it recognizes only 10 pages. Also, it’s available as a Chrome Extension, which allows an extremely convenient user experience.

Convertio Features

  • Supports 75 recognition languages;
  • Supports various input formats, including PDF, JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, JP2, PBM, PPM, PCX, PGM, TGA, and WBMP.
  • Supports various output formats, including DOC, DOCX, XLSX, PDF, PPT, CSV, EPUB, RTF, TXT, FB2, and DjVu.
  • Supports over 300 formats
  • Fast and easy to use
  • Cloud-based conversions
  • Offers custom settings per each type of conversion
  • Great security - the uploaded files are deleted after 24 hours.
  • Supports all devices and platforms.

Conversion Process

➔ Click the “Choose Files” button to upload a file or drag and drop the file you want to process.

➔ Select the language or two languages used in your file.

➔ Select the output file format.

➔ Choose whether you want to recognize all pages or specific ones.

➔ Click the download link that appears once the conversion is over.

➔ Save your file.

6. i2OCR


And, last but not least, we have the incredible i2OCR. This free tool extracts text from images and scanned files and converts them into editable files that can be formatted, searched, indexed, and translated. In other words, it gives you a brand new document you can do whatever you need with it.

    i2OCR Features

    • Supports over 100 recognition languages
    • Supports various input formats, including JPG, PNG, PPM, PBM, PGM, BMP, and TIFF.
    • Supports several output formats, including DOC, DOCX, PDF, TXT, and HTML.
    • Supports multiple uploads.
    • Supports multi-column documents.
    • Allows importing from a hard drive or from a URL.
    • Various post-processing operations - editing, indexing, searching the file, etc.
    • Side-by-side views of the source image and the extracted text to check for misrecognized words.
    • High security - all files are deleted within an hour.

    Text Extraction Process

    ➔ Choose the recognition language.

    ➔ Upload the file - image or a scanned file.

    ➔ Click the CAPTCHA checkbox.

    ➔ Click the red Extract Text button.

    Final Thoughts

    Isn’t OCR technology a must-have for every business owner but also an individual? It is and we couldn’t agree more with that! OCR tools are real life-savers when documents are not digital but printed or scanned. They help us instantly digitalize any physical file and reduce A LOT of time we’d spend transcribing the text manually. Fortunately, there are many free and paid OCR tools available online. Hence, you have a lot of options to choose from. However, they don’t share the same features, so make sure you look well at their features and see if they fit your business needs.