The Best Free OCR Software

Optical character recognition helps you convert images with writing into a text format that you can share and edit, just like PDFs. Having your passports, invoices, bank statements, or any printed document available to you in digitized form can save you a lot of time and energy. Fortunately, there are a lot of simple and free versions of this software on the market.

The Best Free OCR Software

In this article, we’ll list the best free OCR software currently available.

Tesseract OCR

Tesseract’s open source OCR can be customized to your liking and works with over 100 languages. It works on both horizontal and vertical text images, as well as documents written in multiple languages. This software can be used with several programming languages, like C++, Python, Java, and others. It’s important to note that although Tesseract will extract text from images, it performs best with horizontal images.

Microsoft OneNote OCR

Supported by Microsoft OneNote, OCR lets you scan text from pictures and paste them to your notes. You can then edit the text and use it in Word, email, or anywhere else. It’s a handy feature of OneNote that not many users are familiar with. OCR works its magic when you right click on the image and select Copy Text from Picture and paste it wherever you want.

OneNote’s OCR works on multiple images in a single file as well as handwritten notes.

Google OCR

Google’s cloud service, Google Drive, also features optical character recognition. It works with the majority of image formats, as well as notes you’ve written. Like most similar software, its performance is best when you upload clear pictures. Google’s OCR is free and easy to use and supports most languages. The OCR translation is quick, and you can move onto editing your text if needed.

Simple OCR

Although you might think Simple OCR is outdated, it’s, like the name suggests, easy to use. Simple OCR is a user-friendly, free option for scanning your pictures. It works with handwritten notes as well as machine printed images. Simple Software offers a guide on their services, which include receipt scanning, data capture, invoice processing, etc.


You might be familiar with Filestack as a file management service that lets you upload, manage, and deliver you documents. Its OCR is a highly accurate intelligence service that can detect every detail of your images, including lines, text areas, and most importantly, words. Filestack works on passports, IDs, invoices, as well as handwritten notes and aims to minimize the errors in your data extraction.


Capture2Text OCR service is a practical solution that uses keyboard shortcuts to capture images from your desktop and convert them into text. It saves your data to the clipboard, which you can paste where you please. You can customize the keyboard shortcuts to your liking and quickly convert data.



Based on artificial intelligence, Nanonets helps you transform your manual data entry to an automatic model. What makes this software stand out from the crowd is its ability to read and convert images other services might find unreadable. Your documents don’t have to follow the usual templates in order for Nanonets to work. The AI learns and improves every time you use the app.

Nanonets has over 10,000 customers that convert financial documents, like invoices and receipts, as well as personal documentation like passports and IDS.


LightPDF lets you edit, annotate, and manage your PDFs, allowing you also to apply OCR to your files in a few simple clicks. It converts the images with accuracy without the quality loss. Plus, it’s available on all platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

You can extract your files in many formats, from PPT, JPG, PNG, and TXT. There are no ads and LightPDF deletes your data after editing it, making it a secure option. It’s easy to use and editable documents are ready in seconds.


Boxoft’s free OCR detects texts with multiple columns and a large number of languages, such as Spanish, Dutch, French, German, and more. It’s free for both personal and commercial use. It has a handy feature, allowing you to position your original image and converted text side by side. This helps make your tasks quick and easy as you don’t have to go back and forth while you edit.

Boxoft also has options to crop, rotate, and de-skew the images, so you don’t have to worry about using additional apps for editing.

Readiris 17

As PDF and OCR publishing software, Readiris 17 allows you to convert your files in an easy way. One of its major advantages is the recognition of over 130 languages. Readiris uses dictionaries, making it accurate. It has many different conversion output formats as well.

This software edits text embedded in your images, while using OCR and preserving the original format. If you want to convert business cards, Readiris may not be for you, as it doesn’t support this type of document.


Featuring an OCR function, Wondershare offers users an accurate text recognition of pictures and conversion into PDFs. Your portable document is then ready to be edited and shared. Wondershare’s OCR is available for Windows, Mac, and iOS and supports over 20 languages.

This software aims to preserve your documents’ original format, including headers, footers, page numbering, and notes.

Easy Screen OCR

Easy Screen is a smart application that extracts words from your screenshots. It lets you select the specific part of the screenshot that you want to focus on, or it can convert the entire image. It’s simple to use and supports more than 100 languages. Easy Screen also has a translation service for users that wish to edit and translate their content. Keep in mind that this feature doesn’t work for all 100 languages Easy Screen supports while converting.

You can use the software on any device, no matter which operating system you use. The OCR process is done online, so your files will be much smaller (less than 8MB).

Finding an OCR Software That Works Best for You

Using free OCR software helps you stay organized and archive all of your documents. You can store them all in one place and email them whenever necessary. Digitizing your paperwork saves you a lot of trouble and space. Always try to take clear pictures of your documents in order to ensure the software can get the most out of them and be accurate.

Have you used an OCR Software before? Which tools are your favorites? Let us know in the comments section below.

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