Thanks to the advent of computers, most of the routine work with texts can be solved quickly and easily. For example, there are now special programs with which you can digitize handwritten text and translate it into printed format. In this article, we will look at the most common applications that have this function.
Top 5 handwriting recognition software
During the existence of computers, many programs have been created that are able to interpret handwritten input. They have evolved and improved over time. Today there are programs that can recognize handwriting with a very high accuracy, and they support all the most common languages in the world.
The choice of programs should be based on your needs, because they have different functionality and cost (free or paid). There are many popular programs, but not all qualitatively cope with their tasks. We’ve highlighted the top 5 best, with the help of which you can solve the problem of handwriting recognition. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
The first place in our list is taken by ABBYY FineReader. It is a Russian software that has been developed since 1993. The program works by the method of optical text recognition. Its uniqueness is that it was developed from scratch exclusively by ABBYY developers. It deserves the first position in our rating for several reasons:
- The latest version of the software can recognize handwritten text in 192 languages, with spell check support for 48 languages.
- The program supports many formats. For example, you can take a picture of a piece of paper with written text and FineReader will recognize the text and translate it into .docx (Microsoft Office Word) office document format.
- The program is recognized by experts and users. It has been awarded several times and the number of people who use ABBYY FineReader on a regular basis is over 20 million.
It is worth noting that the program now has additional features that were not available before. For example, now one doesn’t have to wait for the text to be scanned because the whole process can continue in the background mode. The user can do other things at this time. One more innovation is synchronization with external services. Now you can save the results of your work to popular cloud services (Google Drive, Office 365, DropBox, etc.).
The only drawback of the program is that it is paid. Because of this, it is more suitable for those who often need the text recognition feature. If you don’t need it on a regular basis, consider other, free solutions.
This program is less advanced than ABBYY, but its main function, text recognition, will do the job without any problems. The program has two versions: one free and one paid. The free version has all the features you need for the average user – text translation and conversion to the format you want, working with different languages and writing styles.
Simple OCR can scan text in a variety of languages, including Russian. The program is actively being developed and exotic languages such as Asian, Arabic, Hebrew, and others are being added. SimpleOCR is good for those who sometimes need to scan text without buying a license, because the free version supports most of the functions.
SimpleOCR has another big advantage – it supports integration with other programs for text recognition, “recognizes” files that were processed by ABBYY FineReader and other software.
PDFelemnt PRO is a complete solution for PDF processing. This software can compete on an equal footing with its counterparts. It has many features you may need when working with text, including the function of text recognition. The program has a specific set of features that are not related to text recognition.
PDFelement PRO is designed to work with the PDF format. The free version of the program allows you to edit, annotate, create, merge, and split PDF files. Text recognition is only available in the paid version, but the quality and results of the work remains at a high level.
With the program it is possible to make documents confidential (to put a password on files), it is possible to create ready-made templates, to put straps, etc. Overall, the program is more suitable for those who work with PDF files. Although it has a handwriting recognition function, it is not the main one here.
OCR Desktop (Free Online OCR)
One of the most interesting solutions is OCR Desktop. The main features of the program are that it can be used online, and it is completely free (but there are ads). The program is suitable for those who need to recognize and digitize text here and now.
The online service works with PDF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, and other formats. By uploading a document you can accurately translate handwritten text into a printed format. Texts are recognized by a neural network (artificial intelligence), which for learning in the recognition of texts provided 4 million examples. Thanks to this, the recognition accuracy is high. Free of charge and working online is a great reason to use this program if you need to recognize handwriting input.
Another online text recognition solution. The program used to be free, but now you have to purchase it to use it. On the other hand, it has advantages:
- The text neural network is one of the most advanced, competing with peers at a decent level.
- TopOCR supports conversion from image to document format.
- The developers presented an original device – a special camera that can automatically recognize text on a sheet of paper, just hold it up to the camera.
Some experts have admitted that TopOCR has the best algorithms of text recognition. On the other hand, the service is paid, which means it is not suitable for all users.
Advantages of using special programs
The main problem handwriting recognition solves is saving time. It takes an enormous amount of time to manually retype text, and this work quickly becomes tiresome and boring. Computer programs can make such routine work much easier. With this in mind, it makes sense to buy a licensed program that scans documents with high quality. This is especially important for those who have such a need on a regular basis.
Free programs are good for those who rarely need to scan documents. For example, if someone wants to scan letters from the family archives, they can use free programs. They will do the job just fine.
The algorithms of paid programs are faster and more efficient, and they support more languages and writing styles. Also, the paid versions have much more additional features.
Tips for handwriting recognition
Those who are new to using electronic text recognition and formatting technologies often make typical mistakes. Because of this, handwritten documents are misinterpreted by programs and people get poor, incorrect results. To solve this problem, it is necessary to adhere to the following tips. When recognizing text using OCR technology, it is necessary to remember that programs will not always read the text without errors. Sometimes it is necessary to re-scan, and also to check the scanned text for errors.
For better text recognition, you should find out what format a particular program supports best. For example, sometimes it is better to give the program a PDF format than an image.
Scanning text from a photo
If you need to scan text from a photo, you need to achieve the best possible image quality. It is necessary to photograph the sheet so that the text was not blurred, the sheet was completely visible. An even better solution is not to photograph the text, but to digitize it with a scanner. This will improve the quality of input recognition.
When recognizing text, the clarity of handwriting greatly affects the result. Documents with a lot of blots, “dirty” and ugly handwriting will be recognized worse. A handwriting recognition program recognizes the handwriting of most people, but here we must make a caveat that different people’s handwriting will be recognized with different results, because not all of them are well understood by the program. Handwriting recognition programs can be useful to anyone. There are quite a few applications that have this feature, and a person who learns about OCR technology for the first time can be confused. To prevent this from happening, you need to know which program will work best in a particular situation.