Before getting into a detailed review of ABBYY FineReader, I will first let you know what is a FineReader if you are not aware of it before. A FineReader is an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software that is capable of reading a digital file like image, scanned documents etc. and converting them into a editable document like Word, PDF etc.
So if you work on a number of such images and scanned document which contain large amount of text and you want them in a word document, then FineReader might be the best software which can do the work for you.
While there are many OCR software available in the market, choosing the best one which can produce a more accurate output is always a difficult task. Since the cost of OCR software is usually very high, you need to be more cautious in buying the best one. So I always recommend you to first try their trial version before buying.
I found a lot of good reviews for ABBYY FineReader and hence I decided to try their trial version to see how easy and efficient it is to use and how accurately it recognizes the texts in images and scanned documents.
Is installing ABBYY FineReader in your PC is simple?
Though the installation of ABBYY FineReader software is simple just like other software, there are few things that you need to take care while installing it in your PC.
You will be getting the below screen once you extracted the installation files by running the downloaded file. Here you need to choose ‘Installation of ABBYY FineReader 12’ to continue with the installation process. You can also visit other links like help and quick guide to learn about the software.
Once the installation is started, there will be few basic steps for which you don’t have to pay much attention. Then you will be getting the below screen where I would recommend you to choose the Typical option. If you choose custom then you need to select the features of the software which you personally want and this is usually recommended for advanced users.
Before starting the installation process, you will be getting the below screen which allows you to choose various options that suits you. If you don’t want any particular option then you can uncheck them. In my case I don’t want to receive any program updates from them, so I decided to uncheck the appropriate box. Also please note that you need to close any MS Office app that is opened in order to continue with the installation.
Another thing which I personally observed is the installation of ABBYY FineReader takes some time to complete and in my case it took nearly 10 minutes to finish.
What features does ABBYY FineReader offers to the user?
While the main task of ABBYY FineReader is to convert the text in the image, scanned documents and other digital formats into editable documents like word and PDF, there are also other features which the OCR software offers to the user.
Scan to MS word feature allows you to directly scan a document using a scanner and convert it to word.
Similarly Scan to PDF feature allows you to scan a document and convert it to PDF file.
Scan and Save as Image feature enables you to scan a document and save it as an image file like jpeg, png etc.
You can also convert a scanned file or an image into a HTML document using the Scan to HTML or Image to HTML feature.
Is the user interface of ABBYY FineReader is user friendly?
The user interface of ABBYY FineReader is good but it may not be easy for a normal user to use the software effectively and it may take some time to learn and get familiar with it. For me it nearly took 6 to 8 attempts to learn completely about the software and make the best use of it.
Though you may think that just opening the scanned file and selecting the preferred output can do the task, you need to take care of certain things for the OCR software to recognize the text and convert them efficiently. So I will try to simplify the process for you by guiding you how to use the software in a simple and an effective way.
Once you open the ABBYY FineReader, you will be getting a task window along with the main window which has option for all the tasks that you wish to perform with the software. You can also open the task window by clicking on the task button in the software.
In the task window, you need to select the language in which your scanned document is available and specify the color mode in which you want the document to be created. Full color mode allows you to create the document in the same color as that of the scanned file and black and white will create the document in black and white mode irrespective of the color of the scanned file.
The common tab in task window provides you with the common task that the users usually performs with the software like scanning a file, converting a scanned file or image to word, PDF etc.
The Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Adobe PDF tab provides you with the various tasks that you can perform with MS Word, MS Excel and PDF respectively
The Other tab provides you with options like scanning a file or converting a scanned file into formats like HTML, EPUB etc. Please note that an EPUB is a e-book file format with the extension .epub.
The first step involved in converting a scanned document to MS word or PDF is to open the scanned document or the image file by clicking on the open button.
Now the document that you have opened has been completely recognized by the FineReader and the recognized text is displayed in the right side screen. You can go through it to check if all the text in the document is correctly recognized. I observed that the software fails to recognize only those characters which are not clear in the scanned document.
You can also select a particular portion of the scanned document to be recognized by adjusting the green box. In the below case I selected 3 regions in my document to be recognized. After selecting the portion of the scanned file, click on the Read button to allow the OCR software to recognize the text in the selected area.
You can also verify a particular region of the converted document by placing the cursor on the area which you want to verify and then click on the verify button.
You can choose the font size and font style of the output document by making use of the respective options available in the right side window.
There is an option to select the document layout, which allows you to choose how you want the recognized text to appear in the word document.
Once everything is fine, you can save the document by clicking on the save button at the top of the window.
Please note that you can also edit the input image file by clicking on the Edit Image button. Using this you can crop the image file, increase the resolution and rotate the image etc.
So I am sure by now you would have got a clear picture about how to use the FineReader software effectively in converting your scanned files to editable documents.
What the users has to say about ABBYY FineReader?
As said earlier, there are a lot of positive reviews available for ABBYY FineReader in the internet. Some even say that it is the best OCR software available in the market that is worth your money. But when I try to go through the reviews and comments of the individual users who had used this product earlier, I was able to find only mixed comments.
While some say that it has the best accuracy and speed, some complain that the price is too high and the software fails to recognize most of the familiar characters and texts. There are also users who faced difficulties with the installation process.
Since there are mixed reviews for the software I advise you to first try using their trial version and then if you are satisfied with it, you can go for the licensed version because some users like me had a good time using it while there are also users who feel bad for buying it.
Is there any limitation available with the trial download?
It is a common practice for any software developer to put some restrictions in the trial version of their software. In the same manner ABBYY FineReader also comes with a limitation in the trial version. ABBYY FineReader allows you to use their trial download only for a period of 30 days and after that you need to buy their software to continue using them.
Also you can convert only 100 pages of scanned document in the trial version beyond which you need to buy the license. Another restriction that is available in the trial version is you can save only 3 pages at a time. You will be getting a screen like below each time you open the ABBYY FineReader which asks you to buy the full version of the software.
One important thing that you need to take care is choosing the document layout in the conversion process. Because when you choose the layout other than editable, then you would not be able to edit the word document and you can only view it. So if you like to edit the document in the future then make sure that you set the document layout to editable copy.
How much does the ABBYY FineReader cost?
While ABBYY FineReader promises to be a good OCR software, the cost at which the software is priced seems to be little bit high when compared to its competitors. ABBYY FineReader Pro is available for both Windows and Mac OS and their prices are $169 and $119 respectively. Please note that there is no free upgrade available for ABBYY FineReader and you need to pay $99 and $89 for Windows and MAC version respectively.
Since there are mixed reviews and comments for the software, I personally advise you to try using their trial version before buying the full version.
You can download their trial version or buy the full version of the software by visiting the following links.
There are no discounts available at this point of time. Let’s hope that they come with some attractive offers in future.
Verdict & Conclusion:
The process of converting the scanned documents and image files into editable documents has been made easy by ABBYY FineReader. While the software offers a top class performance by accurately recognizing most of the text present in the scanned documents and converting them into word, PDF and other available formats, the only thing that seems to be a concern is the price of the software which is a bit higher. Apart from that ABBYY FineReader is a good OCR software that succeeds in delivering what it promises to the user.