Answered By: Bryan Kasik
Last Updated: Aug 15, 2018     Views: 9

If you have pdf files already available, there are software packages that will convert those pdfs to searchable/editable files (MSWord, pdf, MSExcel or other formats) with OCR. The one we recommend in the Scholars' Lab is called ABBYY FineReader. FineReader 12 Professional software supports recognition of 190 languages for OCR and PDF conversion in any language combination, including significantly improved OCR for Asian languages.

If you are scanning directly from a hard copy, open ABBYFineReader on any public desktop in the Scholars' Lab, and follow its prompts to create an searchable/editable scan that you can save in a file format of your choice.

There are licenses for ABBYY FineReader Professional 12 on all of the Scholars' Lab public machines, or you can purchase a copy for yourself at If you'd like to try it out first, you can download a free trial or use the online version. PLEASE NOTE: the Lab has purchased educational licenses for ABBYY Fine Reader, so NetBadge AUTHENTICATION IS REQUIRED to access it.

No OCR software is 100% accurate, so you will have to check behind it carefully for errors. Most modern fonts don't present a problem with the OCR, but for older titles or documents with broken type, more manual correction may be needed.

If you would like to compare and collate multiple versions of a textual work, and you have OCR'd digital files of those versions, JuxtaCommons is a free, online tool that allows you to do that easily. You can access it here - [1] It has robust online documentation, but if you have questions using ABBYY FineReader or Juxta, please contact the Scholars' Lab at

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