Transfer data from paper to your PC

James Thornton


No more sore fingersOne of the worst jobs I ever had was one where I had to type information from piles of order forms into a computer. After two weeks working there I had to quit because I was going cross-eyed and my fingers had started to wear away. If you have a similarly mind-numbing job or if you have to transfer data from a paper document to your PC for any reason then you don’t have to suffer like I do. You simply need to scan the docs and install an optical character recognition (OCR) software on your PC and the whole task can be done automatically.

As Wikipedia puts it, OCR is the process of “translating images of hand-written or typewritten data into machine-editable text.” In the past, OCR systems were a little crude and unreliable but today’s software is advanced enough to do the job with minimal mistakes.

If you have a printed document you want to transfer to your PC for editing or importing into a database then you may want to plump for Omni Page. It’s one of the most powerful OCR tools out there, boasting precision OCR analysis, advanced layout detection and logical form recognition technology. You can download a free trial of the software, although the full version will set you back a hefty $500. If this is too much for you then you could try a free, no-frills alternative such as Softi FreeOCR, but you’ll have to accept that the recognition is not so accurate.

If you want to import a paper document but don’t have a scanner in your house then give TopOCR a try. The OCR system in this one is specfically designed for digital cameras, allowing you to simply snap a picture of your document and transfer it to your PC. What if the paper-based data you have is handwritten rather than typed? Then you simply install EverNote, which lets you store and quickly scan, store and access handwritten notes and documents.

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