Free OCR Software to Convert Scanned Image Pdf to Searchable Text

In this tutorial, you will see how to convert scanned pdf to searchable text using free OCR software or optical character recognition software with good accuracy and ease.

Before starting with this tutorial, please take a look at the below video for an easier demonstration on how to use the software.

Contents at a Glance

You can download the software at this link.

Many a times you'll come across pdfs, which have scanned images and you won't be able to use search or find those words in the hundreds of pages of the pdf. This is a simple pdf reader made by Tracker Software and the function we are going to use is available for free.  This software you can also be used as a reader just like Adobe PDF Reader and you won't see much of a difference between both of them.

If your have images of tiff format, convert it to pdf using Google Drive.  There are also other free options available on Google Search. So, basically using this software you can convert any image to searchable text.

Don't ever try to OCR a handwritten text because this software is not built to do that.

There are also many online options available including Google Drive to convert pdf and some of them even give the highest accuracy, but data transfer through the Internet is always a risk when you are dealing with highly sensitive data. Let's get started!

Install the software and open the pdf by clicking open or Control + O.  The open pdf dialog box would be opened.  Select the pdf you want to convert to text. Click OCR or you can also use the shortcut key Control + Shift + C to go to the OCR Pages.

This is a pretty much self-explanatory page and you can see there are 3 options.
The first is All, which basically means you can convert all of the pages in the pdf to searchable text if you check this radio button. But, be aware that this can take quite a long time if you are having a large pdf

The second and the most frequently used option is Current Page.  As the name tells, this option when checked would ocr the current page.  This is pretty fast and done in no time.

The third is Pages option, which is the most handiest of all. Using this option, you can select page ranges which you want to convert to text. You can either give just a page numbers separated by comma to convert those pages or you can also give page ranges such as 2-9, 30-60 or you can give me a mixed range such as 2, 5, 7-20, 31, 41, 90-100 and anything works fine. The ranges should be separated by hyphen between the starting page and the end page of the range.

Free OCR Software to Convert Scanned Image Pdf to Searchable Text

Then comes the language option.  Tracker provides a wide range of languages, which you can use for ocr. You can check their website for the languages they provide.

Now, the accuracy section.  There are 3 options - Low, Medium, and High. Though you make think High gives a higher quality accuracy, for some reason this doesn't work for me.  As far as I have used Medium gives the highest quality result.

You should not usually be bothered about other options and you can just leave the default ones, but if you are a savvy person, you may want to look at these options, but i usually go by the default ones.

Now, click Okay and the pdf would be converted to text so that you can use the search option. Most of the time the accuracy would be quite high somewhere between 98% and 100%, but it hugely depends on the quality of the pdf.  If the pdf quality is bad and you find it difficult to read with your eyes, don't expect the software to do the job with highest accuracy.

You can't batch convert using this software.

So, this is one way to optical character recognize or OCR Software to convert scanned pdf to searchable text.

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