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Old 07-12-2007, 07:00 AM   #1
dogmandouglas
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Default Missed features

It's amazing how that a person can use a program daily and miss out on some features it offers.

A short while back I was given a stack of typed copy which had to be retyped in as the original had been done on an ordinary typewriter.

"I wish I had an OCR program" I thought as I typed away.

Just this week while looking through Acrobat 7 I saw a feature on the Document menu Scan to OCR. "What's this?" I thought.

On looking closer I discovered that Acrobat 7 has OCR. I scanned a typewritten page in at 300ppi and saved as a Photoshop pdf (although later I found out that Acrobat 7 will open a tiff file as well). I ran the OCR scan and the result was very good. Hardly any mis-spelt words, a quick run through with a spell checker and I was done.

All this time I'd been sitting on the program which I needed but had not realised that I had.

We live and learn.

Doug
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:05 AM   #2
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We live and learn.
With luck, anyway!

   
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Old 07-12-2007, 09:02 AM   #3
Michael Rowley
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Doug:

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I discovered that Acrobat 7 has OCR
Are you sure it has OCR? I thought it just reproduces a picture of the typed text, which can, of course, be hard copy; but the result is not editable.

   
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:03 PM   #4
Steve Rindsberg
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Acrobat (or before that, the independent app Capture which came as part of some Acrobat packages) has been able to do OCR on images within PDFs since Acrobat 3 or so.

You can have it do OCR in a number of ways, at least some of which can then be saved out not only as PDF but as plain text, xml, PS, EPS, word files and more.

It may like plain English more than the several pages of VB code I fed it, which made it gargle its lunch a time or two.

   
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:56 PM   #5
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It may like plain English more than the several pages of VB code I fed it, which made it gargle its lunch a time or two.
And it prefers TIFF images apparently. It happily took a newspaper article I scanned, but it got a little confused over the page layout/structure — it jumped from the left column straight across to the middle one, then sorted itself out down the page a bit.

   
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:53 PM   #6
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Steve:

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Acrobat (or before that, the independent app Capture which came as part of some Acrobat packages) has been able to do OCR on images within PDFs since Acrobat 3 or so.
So it can! I beg Douglas's pardon. But remarkably many people produce PDFs from printed documents that are images, not text. I wonder why that is, because images are a pain.

   
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:14 PM   #7
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Steve:



So it can! I beg Douglas's pardon. But remarkably many people produce PDFs from printed documents that are images, not text. I wonder why that is, because images are a pain.
I imagine there are lots of reasons. Quite a few scanners come with software that scans to PDF directly (or something like it). Or you already have a printed page or photo, somebody says "Make a PDF" so you scan it, pop it into Word or your favorite DTP app and print.

I'm sure huge numbers of PDFs are made with non-Acrobat software but even for those who have Acrobat, the fact that you have the ability to convert a scanned printed document to text is less than obvious.

Took me a while to find the silly thing too.

   
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Old 07-13-2007, 05:42 AM   #8
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I'm glad that I'm not the only one to miss handy features. I wonder how many more "goodies" there are that I'm overlooking.

Time to go back to my usual programs and have a second look!

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Old 07-13-2007, 06:44 AM   #9
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Steve:

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Took me a while to find the silly thing too
I knew Acrobat offered to make PDFs from scans, but I didn't know it offered OCR; in fact a colleague recently sent me an image that was produced by scanning, and when I asked why, he told me he hadn't got OCR—but he's got Acrobat 7!

   
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:56 AM   #10
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FWIW, Office 2003 (and 2002 possibly?) includes Microsoft Office Document Imaging, a sometimes handy little gadget. It installs as a printer driver that lets you print to its proprietary format or to multi-page B/W TIFF files. It also lets you view the results and export images from its proprietary format (a handy way to export images from e.g. Word files when you've no other suitable software handy). It also does OCR and can send the OCR'd text directly to Word.

So your colleage may have yet another way of doing OCR.

   
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