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For years now, our undisputed Editor’s Choice for the best-in-class optical character reading software continues to be ABBYY FineReader. The revamped new edition, ABBYY FineReader 14, is really a top-notch OCR application that adds document-comparison features which you can’t find somewhere else and new PDF-editing features that rival the advanced feature set in Adobe Acrobat DC. FineReader 14 is additionally the best document-comparison productivity application I’ve experienced, with the ability to compare documents in two different formats, so you can compare a Word file to a PDF version of the identical file and discover which of the two has got the latest revisions. It’s truly terrific.

What You’ll Pay

In my writing and editing work, I’ve trusted Abbyy Finereader so long as I will remember, and one reason I work mostly in Windows and not on a Mac is the fact ABBYY FineReader Pro for Mac version is a lot less powerful than ABBYY FineReader 14 for Windows. With this review, I tested the $399.99 ABBYY FineReader 14 Corporate edition. A $199.99 (upgrade price $129.99) Standard version has all of the OCR and PDF-editing attributes of Corporate, but lacks the document-compare component and doesn’t include the Hot Folder feature that automatically creates PDF files from documents or images saved for the folder.

For the majority of users, the typical version may well be more than enough, however the document-comparison feature alone may be well worth the extra price for your Corporate app. The values, by the way, are perpetual, without annoying subscription model like Adobe’s required.

You’ll typically work with an OCR app to convert scanned images of printed text into either an editable Word document or a searchable PDF file. Since every smartphone takes high-resolution photos, you don’t even require a scanner to produce images that one could become editable documents or PDFs, however, your OCR software needs in order to work together with skewed and otherwise irregular photos as well as high-quality scans. FineReader has always excelled at cleaning imperfect images, but version 14 seems much more impressive than earlier versions. After I used my phone to adopt photos of two-page spreads in a book, FineReader effortlessly split the photos into single-page images, unskewed the photos to ensure that text lines are horizontal, and recognized the text with often perfect accuracy.

FineReader hides its myriad advanced features behind straightforward beginner-level menus, however the advanced alternatives are readily accessible to advanced users from a toolbar and menu. When you begin the app, it displays a spacious menu listing one half-dozen tasks: viewing and editing a preexisting PDF file; performing advanced OCR tasks in a PDF file; and converting standard document formats to PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or electronic publication formats, like ePub and DjVu. Conversion options include the ability to combine multiple files in to a single PDF, Word, or Excel file. Another menu lists options to scan to FineReader’s OCR Editor or right 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 ample to achieve most standard OCR and file-conversion tasks, as well as the Windows 10-style interface is probably the clearest I’ve seen.

For basic PDF editing, FineReader has a clearer and more modern interface than Adobe Acrobat, and makes it easier to do tasks like employing a developer certificate to sign a document. FineReader’s search feature has conveniences that Adobe doesn’t match, such as the ability to highlight or underline all instances of a search string. You may also switch over a convenient redaction mode that permits you to blank out any text or region in a document just by selecting a region having a mouse, clicking, and moving onto the next.

On the other hand, ABBYY doesn’t include Acrobat’s full-text indexing feature that can make searching almost instantaneous in large documents. FineReader’s interface uses the familiar sidebar of thumbnails or bookmarks on the left of a full-size image, however the layout is exceptionally clear, and all of icons are labeled. A whole new background OCR feature means available started editing a PDF before the app has completed its text-recognition operations.

FineReader’s unique powers are most evident in the OCR editor, a competent tool for checking its OCR output and correcting recognition errors. Scanned images of old books, crumpled paper, or marked-up pages are almost certain to produce either outright errors, or readings where OCR software can’t be sure from the original text and makes a best guess of the items was on the page. FineReader’s OCR editor works like a high-powered spelling checker in a word-processor, quickly trawling through doubtful OCR readings when you confirm or correct each one of these consequently-as well as its superb keyboard interface enables you to confirm a doubtful reading with one keystroke or correct it with two or three keystrokes, typically choosing the right reading coming from a list that the program offers. This kind of djlrfs work normally strains your hand muscles when you maneuver the mouse, but FineReader’s thoughtful design reduces strain to an absolute minimum. Another plus, for most law and government offices that still use WordPerfect for creating documents, FineReader can export OCR output directly to WordPerfect without making you save first in an intermediate format like RTF.

All things in FineReader seems designed to reduce needless operations. Whenever you install it, it adds a Screenshot Reader app in your taskbar icons. This works such as a superpowered version of Windows’ built-in Snipping Tool. I personally use it to capture the 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 graphic of any page in Google Books or Amazon’s Look Inside feature. I launch the Screenshot Reader app, drag the mouse to frame the written text I wish to capture, and after that wait an additional or two while FineReader performs OCR on the image and sends the written text for the Clipboard. Options inside the app let me pick a table or just capture a picture towards the Clipboard. In addition they permit me to send the output straight to Microsoft Word as well as other app instead of for the Clipboard. There’s little else out there that’s remotely as powerful and efficient at capturing text through the screen.

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