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Q: OCR scanning for MACs ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: OCR scanning for MACs
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: xena-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 29 Jun 2003 09:34 PDT
Expires: 29 Jul 2003 09:34 PDT
Question ID: 223147
I'm a tiny independent publisher with about 15 titles out.  Some of my
authors have their rights back on out-of-print titles they've
published elsewhere and would like for me to reprint these books and
add them to our catalog.  To do this, I would need to upgrade my
scanner and software (I'm a Mac person).  My current (old) scanner is
fine for web work and art but not suitable for OCR with any degree of
accuracy.   I'm looking for a recommendation for a good scanner with
USB capability and a recommendation for a OCR software that's
Mac-compatible.  (I have a virtual PC, too, but I DO NOT want to run
the scanner from there.) The software doesn't have to be bundled with
the scanner.  The software must be accurate enough that I can scan an
entire book and not spend days having to re-read each book and make
corrections. Provide your rationale with your recommendation, please.
Subject: Re: OCR scanning for MACs
Answered By: feilong-ga on 29 Jun 2003 12:27 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Xena,

Let me start by saying thank you for putting your trust in our
service. Having quite a long experience as a computer graphic artist
in various publishing companies, I believe I can recommend to you the
right tools that you need to get the job done. Since you want a
researcher's opinion on this matter, you have to understand that I'll
base my recommendations on what I currently use and have used.
However, I'll also give you other brands that you can try based on one
reliable source -- CNET Reviews. I trust CNET for their reviews.
Whenever I'm going to buy a computer peripheral, I always try to base
my decision from their reviews. For ease of browsing, simply press the
"Shift" key before clicking on a link so it will open a new window or
right-click on the link and choose "Open in New Window" for your

By the way, before I continue, I'd like to remind you that you always
have the final decision. So even if I recommend something, you still
have that option to change decision. With regards to the products,
including the product description, etc., I'm in no way representing
any product or company in this answer. The material serve only to
inform you and help you to make your decision. Having said this, we
can now continue on this matter.

For the scanner, you can go for the Epson Perfection 1250. This is
what I have. It's cheap,fast and very easy to use, works in auto and
manual modes, PC and Mac compatible, and connects to your computer
using USB. It also comes with OCR bundled software and other software
utilities to make your scanning of documents and images easier. For
more info on this scanner, click on the following links:

CNET Networks, Inc. - ZDNet
Epson Perfection 1250

Epson America, Inc.
Perfection 1250

Perfection 1250 is good but the latest Perfection series models are
even better. Take for example the Perfection2450:

Epson Perfection 2450 Photo

It has all the features that the 1250 has to offer plus improved
features. It's faster and has a higher scan resolution. For a list of
other Epson scanners, click on the link below.

Other Epson Scanners

In my experience, when scanning pages of text for OCR, the highest
resolution I've used so far is 1,200dpi for 4 points text. In actual
application, any scanner with a maximum of 2,400dpi scan resolution
will enable you to get the job done. Epson 1250 has that capability at
a price that's easy on the budget. If f you don't mind about the
budget, getting a high end scanner can be a good investment especially
for future requirements. You may choose among the latest Perfection
series scanners or view the other brands listed in the link below.


To sum it up, here are the things that you need in a scanner for your
current requirement:
- 2,400 dpi
- Fast
- Easy on the budget
- Easy to use
- Delivers picture perfect images

In case you don't want Perfection, other brands you may want to
consider are HP, Microtek, and Mustek. I've used a many different
scanners in the past and these three other names are also great
scanners for OCR applications.

For the software, I'd go for Omnipage Pro from ScanSoft, Inc. I've
been using this OCR tool since 1996 and I'm still satisfied with its
performance. Over the years, the software has improved particularly in
word and sentence recognition. If you're after accuracy, this is the
right tool for you. I won't elaborate on this so I'll let you check
out this review so that you'll have an idea of how good this product

CNET Networks, Inc. - ZDNet
OmniPage Pro 12.0 Office - Editor's Choice

Omnipage is rated "Excellent" and it is. As with all software
products, nothing is perfect, it also has some shortcomings and that's
one thing you have to understand and consider. Omnipage has improved
over the years and is still improving. You can view the details for
the Mac version of Omnipage through this link:

OmniPage Pro X

Another good product to consider is ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Professional.
I haven't tried this one yet but having seen the reviews at ZDNet, I
believe it's a fine product.

CNET Networks, Inc. - ZDNet
ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Professional

Check out the product's website:

ABBYY FineReader Professional 6.0
"ABBYY FineReader Professional 6.0 has won the comparative test held
by PC Magazine/Italy."

Other products that you may want to consider are:

PaperPort Deluxe


Presto OCR Pro

Search strategy:
Personal knowledge plus specific searches in CNET Networks, Inc.'s Reviews and specific product website searches.

As I said earlier, you have the final decision. I hope this helps you.
Should you have any comments/questions, please feel free to post your
clarification before rating this and I'll attend to you as soon as
possible. Thanks for asking.

Best regards,
xena-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Very thorough.  Thank you--you gave me a good starting point for my
buying decision and cut out lots of basic research for me.  I ended up
going with the more advanced Epson because I'll need it for some other
graphic projects I have in mind.

Subject: Re: OCR scanning for MACs
From: eek-ga on 01 Jul 2003 22:14 PDT
Have you thought about outsourcing this?  A quick Google of "scanning
services books" brought up some promising results.  Personally, I
can't imagine scanning a book with a flatbed scanner.  If the cost of
having this professionally done is too much, then I would cut the
binding off the book and feed it through a sheetfed scanner.  I would
probably have someone who is paid less than I do the feeding (got
kids?).  You can then focus on the publishing aspect.  Perhaps the
sheetfed scanners are too slow or don't have the price per dpi that
flatbeds do?  Perhaps the researcher has some familiarity with them? 
Either way, I'm sure a scanner would be wise investment in your line
of work.

Also, C-Net says that there isn't a Mac version of PaperPort Deluxe...

Subject: Re: OCR scanning for MACs
From: xena-ga on 10 Jul 2003 20:23 PDT
Thanks, Eek.  Yes, I did consider outsourcing  (good input!) but that
won't work for everything I have in mind.  Some of these books are
very old and delicate (numbered copies from tiny 150-copy print runs
in the early 1900's) and are considered collectors' items to be
handled with gloves, literally.  The entire scanner package and the
time of  a lowly but careful assistant are less expensive than the
original book.  For the very recently out-of-print books, outsourcing
works great but I just don't trust outsiders with the rarer books. 
There's no way you could have known this, of course, and I have to
laugh now at how I cringed when I read the suggestion to cut off the
binding of one of these books.  But  I appreciate the comment.
Subject: Re: OCR scanning for MACs
From: eek-ga on 13 Jul 2003 01:59 PDT
Hehe, well, in that case, I imagine you wouldn't want to cut off the
bindings.  These authors that have repurchased their rights must be
quite old (foolish too, considering the copyrights are surely expired
- :)

I can't imagine that you'd want to break the undoubtedly fragile
binding by laying the book down on a flat bed.  My original (quick)
search also brought up this page:
An interesting device.  This company is in the UK, but I imagine
similar businesses with similar devices are available in your locale.

Good luck with your project,

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