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How to Apply OCR to PDFs: Converting Scans into Searchable Text

Successful documentation isn't just about having a pile of papers and information tucked away in files. Today, efficient document management is all about accessibility. The ability to quickly retrieve information from archives is an essential part of this. One class of information particularly challenging to search and access is the one embedded within scanned documents and PDFs. Notorious for their image-like characteristics, locating texts within these files or converting them into searchable text can be a pain. Optical character recognition (OCR) brings the solution.
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OCR refers to software used to convert different forms of documents—such as scanned papers, PDF files or even images—into editable and searchable data. OCR technology extracts texts from images within the document and transforms them into searchable data. This impressive feature makes it a vital tool for creating searchable PDFs. Intriguing, isn't it? Keep reading, because we're going to delve into how to apply OCR to PDFs, thereby converting scans into searchable text.

## Step 1: Choosing an OCR Software

The first step in converting your scans into searchable texts is selecting suitable OCR software. Several tools exist, from Google's OCR (popular in the area of free software but limits you with file size) to the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC (high performing but comes with a fee) to ABBYY FineReader (which supports numerous languages but also comes at a cost).
With an array of choices available, choosing the right OCR software depends on the specifics of your task. If you’re working with the English language and small files, Google's OCR might be the tool for you. Large corporations processing enormous amounts of data, however, might be more suited to the more sophisticated variants.

## Step 2: Scanning the Document

Once you have your OCR software ready, it’s time to scan your document. Remember, the clarity of your scans significantly impacts the final outcome. The rule here is simple: the higher the quality of your scan, the higher the accuracy of the OCR software. Just as blurry or unclear human vision makes recognition difficult, so does poor-quality scans for OCR software.

## Step 3: Uploading the Document

After scanning your document, the next step is to upload the scanned or PDF document onto your OCR software. The procedure for this varies across software, but most modern OCR software require just a few clicks, and voila! The document will be ready for conversion.

## Step 4: Converting the Document

With your document uploaded onto the OCR software, it's time to convert the scans into searchable text. Again, the procedure for this varies from software to software. Some software would require you to select the OCR feature in the interface menu, while others start the OCR process immediately the document is uploaded.

## Step 5: Checking the Result and Correcting the Errors

After the conversion is complete, it’s essential to meticulously inspect the output for any errors. No OCR software is perfect; misrecognitions happen. If you do find something amiss in the conversion, most OCR software come equipped with features allowing you to correct any anomalies.

## Step 6: Saving the Document

Upon satisfaction with the conversion output, the final step would be saving the document. Again, most OCR software provide intuitive means for doing this. It is advised to save the document as a PDF, to free it from the software used in its creation- especially if the OCR software was an online tool.
Speaking of online tools, it’s worth mentioning one online tool called HelpRange. Besides their competent tools for PDF/document protection and PDF usage analytics, they've got an incredibly slick online OCR tool. By simply drag-dropping your PDF document on their website, you can quickly and effortlessly convert your scans into searchable texts.
In conclusion, applying OCR technology to your PDFs to convert them into searchable texts is far from a complicated process. We hope our step-by-step guide has shed enough light on this. Remember, in the digital world, the goal remains constant: to make information easily accessible—OCR technology exists to make this goal achievable.

Check out HelpRange

HelpRange is "Next-Gen Documents Protection, E-Signatures & Analytics Platform". HelpRange represents the cutting-edge platform for document access controls and in-depth analytics, ensuring superior management and usage insights for your documents.