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October 04, 2003

Shopping Advice

As it's now October (September was another anti-consumer month, and we still managed to put 900 on the credit card), I gave in and bought a cheap scanner that will work with Mac OS X. However, the bundled OCR software is classic only (though there's a Windows version, which I've duly installed to run with my old scanner on the PC).

Ideally, I'm looking for OS X native freeware OCR software. My demands on OCR software aren't great, to say the least; about 50 pages a year, mostly printouts from PCs. Failing that, I'm looking for cheap OS X native OCR software. Failing that, I'm wondering what the requirements are for the upgrade version of Omnipage Pro X (which is 85 for the downloadable version). Advice welcome.

Posted by Alison Scott at October 4, 2003 07:58 PM

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Um, no good advice here. I did the same thing a little while ago---bought a cheap scanner, then found that the bundled Omnipage wouldn't even install on my machine. So, if you learn anything useful...

Posted by: Damien Warman at October 5, 2003 01:24 AM

I've been occasionally looking myself.

www.versiontracker.com (which in my experience is pretty complete) reports no shareware products, and a lot of bad user experiences with both Omnipage Pro and it's main competitor ReadIris under OS X unfortunately.

There are good reviews for WorkingPapers (lite version for 49$) but it's really a document management system, though it does have OCR functionality, and the list of supported scanners seems rather short.

Your cheapest bet might be a C-Pen 10 (I have one and it works reasonably well, though it's tedious for whole pages at a time).

But then, why on earth are you scanning printouts from PC's? if the source exists in computer readable form you should be able to bypass the paper surely?

(And if it's only 50 pages a year, the most cost effective solution might be a typing tutor, Marianne and a suitable bribe?)

Posted by: Austin Benson at October 5, 2003 04:25 PM

There's actually a nice OCR system built into
Acrobat (version 4); I'm not sure if it was retained
in later versions. basically feed it a page via Twain, and it turns it into text-based PDF.

Posted by: roman orszanski at October 12, 2003 11:00 PM

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