- The best tool for OCR accuracy and text recognition
- Amazing preservation of document formats
- Quick and easy to use
- A few features missing compared to Windows version
When it comes to document scanning, there’s no tool quite like ABBYY FineReader Pro for Mac for OCR accuracy, speed and layout preservation. Even better, until January 21st 2019 you can 25% off this powerful document scanning software. Note that if you’re based in the UK or Europe, you must go via the ABBYY Europe store to get 10% off.
ABBYY FineReader has been in the scanning business since way back in 1989 and has developed the most powerful OCR engine of any commercial scanning software out there. In fact ABBYY’s OCR technology is so respected in the industry that many other paperless and document management software developers use the ABBYY FineReader Engine in their own products.
In this review, we take a closer look at how FineReader Pro performs on Mac and what this excellent document scanning tool can do.
ABBYY FineReader Pro For Mac claims to offer OCR accuracy of 99.8% and while this only applies to documents that are in perfect condition, it’s easily the best OCR tool on Mac compared to other PDF scanning and conversion solutions.
Even with older documents or those that are poor quality, ABBYY FineReader Pro gives results that are considerably more accurate than the competition. Note however that it’s not suitable for recognizing handwriting – there are very few consumer level apps that can do this effectively so that’s not unusual.
Why Use OCR Software?
FineReader Pro is used for a number of document solutions. The most common reasons for using FineReader Pro however are:
- To convert PDFs to PDF or PDF/A files that are searchable or editable saving hours of time retyping documents
- To convert digital photos with text in to something searchable or editable
- To convert a document to another format e.g. convert from PDF to Microsoft Word
- To go paperless in the office or home
- To digitize documents so that you can shred confidential paper copies
- To scan old documents for preservation
- To extract text from articles such as in magazines and newspapers
What We Like Most About FineReader Pro For Mac
Before we look at how it actually works, these are the things we really like about FineReader Pro on macOS in a nutshell.
- The accuracy is superb. The number one factor in any OCR software is how good is at recognizing the text and numbers in images, PDFs and anything else you throw at it. The Mac version of ABBYY FineReader Pro consistently produces excellent results with very few errors to correct. In particular, it does a much better job OCRing typescripts than it’s nearest competitor Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.
- It preserves the formatting of documents. Another measure of how good an OCR app is what kind of job it does of preserving the original layout of a document after its been scanned. This includes preservation of things like fonts styles, tables, headers and footers. Many apps struggle with this, especially when there are lots of elements on a page. No software can do a perfect job of this but FineReader Pro always does an excellent job of making sure everything is still in its right place after scanning. This is due to something called Adaptive Document Recognition Technology (ADRT) which is unique to FineReader Pro and is amazing at leaving formatting in-tact.
- It’s extremely fast. When you’re trying to catalog or OCR scan hundreds of pages, time is of the essence. FineReader Pro takes no more than a few seconds to scan the average PDF meaning you can scan long documents in minutes. If you get a scanner with a document feeder like the Fujitsu ScanSnap, you can load hundreds of pages in one go and just let it go.
- It’s intuitive and easy to use. The interface has been improved with each release and as long as your scanning device is TWAIN compliant, there’s very little to setup or do once connected. iPhones and iPads are now supported too and it’s easy to switch between devices.
- You can easily create eBooks with it. Finreader Pro has settings to scan and convert paper books to EPUB, FB2 or flexible HTML format for reading on mobile devices.
Scanning With FineReader Pro
The interface of FineReader Pro for Mac has been refined over the years to keep up with changing devices and technology. It can now auto detect any connected scanner, Image Capture Application (ICA), Multifunction Printer (MFP) or or digital camera. Note however that it is not compatible with older TWAIN scanners and your device must be ICA compatible (although almost all modern scanners are nowadays).
If you want to scan the entire page, you can configure exactly how to do so. You can select things like the resolution, color depth, scan area and whether you want to scan multiple pages.
If you just want to scan a particular part of a document, you can select it and FineReader Pro will focus on just that text.
If you want to edit batches of documents, you can do so by using Automator in macOS.
Overall, the scanning process is incredibly easy to follow and configure. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be loading and scanning pages in seconds.
Editing Documents After Scanning
After scanning a document in FineReader Pro for Mac, you simply open it in the word processor or publishing software of your choice such as Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, OpenOffice etc. This differs slightly from the Windows version which allows you to edit PDFs within the actual app itself.
You can however easily automate this process by selecting the “Open after save” box and choosing the application of your choice.
If you want to export to PDF, you can choose various options such as the ability to create tagged PDFs that are optimized for mobile devices and create PDF outlines for faster navigation across documents.
You can also combine PDFs into one long document so you don’t keep having to scan each one separately.
How It Compares With The Windows Version
In general, there’s very little to fault with ABBYY FineReader Pro for Mac although there are a few useful features missing compared to the Windows version.
The most notable difference is that if you need to edit a document, you can’t edit any text in the Mac version until you’ve exported the scan to a word processing application. For this reason, if your document contains unrecognized or unusual symbols, it’s recommended you highlight them before exporting for easier detection and editing afterwards.
The Mac version also does now allow you to compare documents and automate OCR scanning of multiple documents like the Windows version does.
There are also a few other minor differences such as pattern training and custom user dictionaries are not supported in the Mac version. The Mac version also supports 45 languages compared to 189 in the Windows version although all major languages are supported.
For a comprehensive list of all the features in ABBYY FineReader Pro For Mac, we recommend checking out the full feature list.
What’s The Technical Support Like?
OCR packages are complex tools and when things go wrong, it can be very difficult to work out why you’re not getting the results you expect.
One thing we really like about FineReader Pro for Mac is that Technical Support is included in the price. Similar products such as Adobe Acrobat Pro DC do not provide phone support and most OCR software developers only provide support via email.
FineReader Pro For Mac Pricing
ABBYY FineReader Pro For Mac usually retails for $119.99 but until January 21st 2019 you can get 25% off making it just $89.99. This is excellent value for money for an OCR tool that offers extremely high levels of accuracy, format preservation and speed. Users in Europe and the UK have to buy via the ABBYY Europe store to get 10% off.
Students and teachers can also get an educational discount with 30% off.