Free OCR Service Turns Image Files Into Text

Remember the old days, when you needed a scanner and pricey OCR software if you wanted to convert a page of text into editable text?

The old days are gone, man! Free OCR is a free Web-based OCR service that turns any uploaded image file into a text file you can load into Word or your document editor of choice.

The site supports BMP, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, and PDF files (though for the moment it will convert only the first page of a PDF, a rather annoying limitation that will supposedly be remedied in the future).

The maximum file size is 2MB, and the service recommends a minimum of 150 dpi. You'll also need to forgo heavily formatted documents for now: Free OCR doesn't yet support columns and the like.

Consequently, your mileage will vary depending on the nature and resolution of your image. That said, the service does a pretty impressive job. I used my iPhone to snap a photo of a document, and the resulting text file was darn near perfect. So give it a try! It's free--says so right in the name.

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