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How to Convert a Scanned Image to Text

by Jennifer Moore

Editing text that comes either from your scanner, mobile phone, camera, or from your handwriting is now much easier to do. Converting text from a scanned image or from a JPEG file can be done from a "Microsoft Office" tool. However, if you don’t have "Microsoft Office," or need more complex conversion tools, then you will need one of the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software programs available. Some programs are free or have some free services.

Microsoft Office

Step 1

Scan your image and choose to save it as a TIFF document. If you do not have this option, then save it as a JPEG document. Open the file in MS Paint if you had to save as a JPEG. Click on “Save As” and convert the JPEG to a TIFF document.

Step 2

Open Microsoft Office and select Microsoft Office Tools, then click on Microsoft Office Document Imaging. Select “File,” “Open.” Click on the “Eye Icon.” It says “Recognize Text Using OCR.” Choose “Send Text to Word” and a Word document will open with the converted text.

Read through the text and edit out any mistakes. Add text, pictures or anything else you need to the document.

OCR Software

Step 1

Download an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software program like "Read Soft", "Simple OCR" or "Top OCR "(See Resources). Follow the onscreen directions for installation. These programs have different features like handwriting recognition, image recognition, or images and text from mobile phones.

Step 2

Scan the document or copy the file onto your computer. Copy documents from your mobile phone, or take a picture with your digital camera and transfer these to your computer as you would a normal document or picture.

Step 3

Open the OCR software you have chosen. Open the image or scanned image in the OCR software program. Select the desired output option from the drop down option window in the program. Choose from RTF, Text, PDF, Word, PowerPoint or Excel. Click on the “Convert,” “OK,” or “Finish button.” This button is titled differently depending on the program you use. Wait for the OCR software to finish converting and choose to save the file to your computer.

Step 4

Open the document. For example, if you converted to PowerPoint, then open PowerPoint. If you converted to RTF then open Word or Word Pad.

Read through the document and look for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Run a spell check on the document. OCR programs can get confused when converting certain letters, so you need to review the document carefully for mistakes.

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