Review: Abbyy FineReader 11 Professional Edition does clean OCR and is easy to use
At a Glance
Anyone who's purchased a multifunction printer or scanner recently will probably recognize the name FineReader, as the Sprint version ships with many such products. Obviously, there are deals being made, but there's no questioning that the program also does a very nice job of OCR. Text extraction is great, though it's not quite as good at recreating complex documents in Word and RTF files as Acrobat or OmniPage.
Abbyy FineReader 11 Professional ($170, 15-day free trial) is straightforward and easy to use. The main window shows a list of images in a column to the far left, the image being processed in a pane next to it, and the OCR'd text and elements in a pane on the right side. This side-by-side arrangement, shared with OmniPage Standard 18, makes it super-easy to spot mistakes and compare page elements.
Abbyy FineReader 11 is fast, recognizes text in 189 languages, and outputs in a number of different formats including editable PDFs, Microsoft Word, ePub and even open-source PDF competitor DjVu.
FineReader created a searchable PDF of my yearbook scans just fine, but like OmniPage, it was over-zealous at rotating images trying to find text until I turned off this feature. With most OCR programs, you're better off using Windows' own Photo Viewer to rotate scans to their correct orientation before OCR'ing.