Free & Good OCR Software for Image Scanned PDFs


The question of OCR scanning Image Scanned PDFs that one knows contain text comes up again and again.  If you don't want to invest some huge amount of money in a fully dedicated specialty OCR suite there is an excellent option available for free from Tracker Software:  PDF-XChange Viewer.

This software is not 100% accessible, but what you need to perform an OCR scan on an Image Scanned PDF is.

You have nothing to lose but a few minutes time to test out either PDF-XChange Viewer (which uses the "old Windows interface style" and I know to be accessible for running OCR) or the free edition of PDF-XChange Editor to check out whether it suits your needs.  I personally prefer PDF-XChange Viewer.  Here are the step-by-step instructions I wrote for a client who was a grad student who kept having old image scanned PDFs assigned for reading by various professors on how to OCR process them using PDF-XChange Viewer:

Used when you receive a PDF that was scanned without Optical Character Recognition.  For reading stick to Adobe Reader or other reader of your choice as PDF-XChange Viewer is not 100% accessible.

1.     Open PDF-XChange Viewer from your start menu or the desktop.

2.     ALT+F, O  Open a file, you’ll need to know where it is and navigate there in the Open Dialog, which is very much like Windows Explorer.

3.     CTRL+SHIFT+C  Perform optical character recognition on the file.  This will be quick for small files, 20 pages or less, but will take some time for very large files, hundreds of pages.  Listen for the process to complete.

4.     ALT+F, S  Save the file over itself with the OCR text now included.  If you wish to save the file under a different name and keep the original use ALT+F, A Save As to do this instead.

Brian  Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1709, Build 16299  (dot level on request - it changes too often to keep in signature)

     The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement.  But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.

            Niels Bohr



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