3 Best OCR Tools for Text Recognition

Short for Optical Character Recognition, OCR allows for the electronic of images that contain typed or handwritten text to another format. The conversion process allows you to change from one format to another such as convert image to text.

From changing documents to a more comfortable format to convert PDF to text and more, OCR is a standard tool used around the world.

best ocr tools

What follows are three of the best OCR tools available. Two are software programs while the third is an online service. All three are free to use. 

Microsoft OneNote

It may seem strange at first that Microsoft OneNote is included on this list because its primary job is to keep notes. But it also has a robust OCR program inside that allows for the image to text conversion. Using Microsoft OneNote is fairly simple.

  • Insert the Image to the OneNote program 
  • Right Click, Select “Copy Text from Picture” 
  • Sit Back and Let OneNote Do the Work 

The text from the image is recognized, copied to a clipboard, and then you can paste it on the word processing program of your choice when you want to edit it. This does mean that you have to do the format conversion manually, but all things considered that is not a big deal. 

There are limitations as the convert image to text function does not support either tables or columns. It can OCR PDF files or whatever images you want to use. 

SimpleOCR Freeware 

This celebrated software system offers straightforward solutions to your document management challenges. You get a free 14-day trial that includes a wide range of an image to text solutions. You can select the image or text you want to include and ignore the rest. A built-in spellchecker spots any spelling mistakes. And you can save the converted text to a txt or doc file. 

Another advantage is that you can set up the system to read directly from the scanner. This can save you time when scanning documents to be converted. All in all, SimpleOCR Freeware offers a powerful software-based solution.  


Unlike the other two, onlineconvertfree.com is a browser-based system. That means you do not have to download any software to your computer or device. 

Upload File: Choose the file that you want to convert. It can be on your computer, device, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Drag and drop the file on the page.

Select Language & Output Format: You’ll want to choose all the languages that are in the document. Then, select the output format such as .doc for example. There are more than ten text formats which are supported. And over 200 supported formats for conversion. 

Convert, Then Download: All you need to do now is click the “Recognize” button and the file will be downloaded. It’s that simple. 

If you are looking for the best OCR tools to convert PDF to text or other recognized formats, then these three are considered some of the best. Easy and intuitive to use, you can select from the two software versions or use the online OCR on virtually any device.