Convert hardcopy document into editable digital document


Here’s the scenario; you have a hard copy of a typed document you want to edit but there is no digital or editable copy available. Your scanning software does not include OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and only saves scanned documents in non-editable image format. Your only courses of action appear to be… a) download and install OCR software or… b) completely retype the document from scratch.

Enter Online OCR; a free online service specifically designed for converting images to editable formats:

online ocr logo

Free Online OCR

Use Optical Character Recognition software without installation on your computer. Recognize text and characters from PDF scanned documents (including multipage files), photographs and digital camera captured images. Free Online OCR service supports 32 recognition languages.

Convert scanned PDF to Word, Txt, RtfExtract text from image (JPG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, GIF) and convert into editable Word, Text, Excel, PDF, Html output formats. Converted documents look exactly like the original – tables, columns and graphics.

OnlineOCR.net is a free service in a “Guest mode” (without registration) that allows you to convert 15 images per hour.

As the ‘blurb’ on the home page explains; the free service, in ‘Guest Mode’, does not require registration, but upload file size is limited to 4.0MB…  a pretty reasonable maximum considering text image file sizes would generally be quite small.

So how does it work?

It’s a very simple process. Scan your document hard copy and save to a suitable folder on the hard drive as PDF. Go to the Online OCR site, and convert the saved file to an editable format:

  • Click the Browse button, navigate to and select the file, then click on the Upload button

online ocr uploading

  • Once the upload has been completed; select your language (32 to choose from) and preferred output format, enter a simple captcha code, and finally click the Recognize button

online ocr convert

  • A quick conversion and your new editable document will be ready for download

online ocr_download

You can utilize this service even if  you don’t own a scanner; simply capture a photograph of the printed text with your digital camera or mobile phone, upload the image to OCR Online and convert.


There are quite a few similar OCR services available online but many of them do not convert terribly well. Online OCR’s character recognition accuracy is above average and Online OCR also preserves structure and formatting better than most.

So, next time you have a hard copy of a document you need to edit, there’s no need to retype… simply use Online OCR to quickly and easily convert the scanned document to an editable format.

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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