As per Wikipedia, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is the mechanical or electronic conversion of scanned images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text into machine-encoded text.
So an OCR tool is for you to extract the text from an image. For example, the following is an image of the text "I Love You!" in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and French:
To get the text, you can write them down with these online virtual keyboards, instead, you can check out the following top 10 free online OCR tools:
1. ABBYY FineReader Online
After registration, you can upload an image or PDF file, select up to 3 languages, and choose an output format, then ABBYY FineReader Online will convert your file to text.
2. Free OCR
On the Free OCR website, you can upload an image or PDF file (only first page), select the language, enter the CAPTCHA code, and click on the "Send file" button, then your file will be converted to text.
3. Free Online OCR
Free Online OCR only supports English, you can upload a PDF or image file, and select an output format, then you can extract the text from the file.
4. Google Docs
Log in your Google Docs, select all the following 3 items:
- Convert Uploaded files to Google Docs format,
- Convert text from uploaded PDF and image files,
- Confirm setting before each upload.
And upload your image, select the language, then you can view the result.
On the i2OCR website, you can upload your image or enter an image URL, and pick up a language, then you can preview and download the result.
6. New OCR
New OCR is available for you to upload an image, PDF and even compressed file from your computer, or by entering its URL, then you can choose one language, click the "Preview" button to preview the file, and click the "OCR" button to download the result.
7. OCR Convert
On the OCR Convert website, you can upload an image or PDF file, select a language, and click the "Process" button, then you can convert and download the result as a TXT file.
8. OCR Online
After registration, you can choose a language, select an output format, and upload an image or PDF file, then you can covert your file to text.
By the way, OCR Online is only available for you to upload 5 pages (images) per week free.
On the OCRextrACT website, you can select a language, and upload a PDF or image file, then you can view the result on the website or download it as a TXT file.
10. Online OCR
On the Online OCR website, you can upload an image, choose one language, select the output format, enter the verified code, and click the "Recognize" button, then you can preview and download the result.
For the differences on supported languages, input and output formats among the above 10 OCR tools, you can check out the following table:
|1||ABBYY FineReader Online||42||JPG, TIF, PCX, DCX, BMP, PNG, GIF, DJVU, DJV and PDF||DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PDF, RTF, TXT and ODT||Yes|
|2||Free OCR||29||JPG, GIF, TIFF and BMP||Webpage||No|
|3||Free Online OCR||En only||PDF, GIF, BMP, JPEG, TIFF and PNG||DOC, PDF, TXT and RTF||No|
|4||Google Docs||38||Any Image formats and PDF||ODT, PDF, RTF, TXT, DOC and HTML||Yes|
|5||i2OCR||33||TIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, PBM, PGM and PPM||DOC||No|
|6||New OCR||58||JPEG, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP, PBM, PGM, PPM, PCX, etc.||TXT, DOC, ODT, RTF, PDF and HTML||No|
|7||OCR Convert||35||JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF, TIFF and PDF||TXT||No|
|8||OCR Online||153||JPG, TIFF, PNG, GIF and PDF||PDF, DOC, RTF and TXT||Yes|
|9||OCRextrACT||42||PDF, TIFF, PNG, JPG, BMP and PBM||TXT||No|
|10||Online OCR||32||JPG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF and GIF||DOC, XLS and TXT||No|
Although most of these 10 free online OCR tools support multiple languages, none of them can convert the image of text in 5 different languages, and what is more, they are not good enough to recognize the handwritten text yet.