FineReader Pro for Mac is the updated version of the market-leading text recognition software FineReader, released a few days ago. Essentially, two use cases can be distinguished. Scanning documents and saving them in different formats such as Microsoft Word or PDF, and converting documents to other document types. As an innovation, documents can now be saved as eBooks (.ePub and .fb2). The interface is very clear and well-structured. Even new users can start working immediately.
Scanning: Scanning to PDF
Our scanner (OfficeJet Pro 8600) has been recognized instantly. Scanning was fast and easy, presets were fine. The OCR recognition rate was great. We were scanning English legal texts and German texts as well. We didn’t find a single mistake! The resulting PDF files look like regular scans, but the text is searchable. If you are looking for a Mac app to scan to PDF, look no further.
Conversion: PDF to Word 2007 (.docx file)
The second thing that we really wanted to check was converting PDF files to Microsoft Word documents.
We made two test runs. First we used a PDF file, 5 pages overall, which was an application form. It basically consists of tables, labels and input fields. The resulting Word document was okay, the text was correct, but layout really had some issues. You can see a comparison of the PDF and the Word document below:
For the second test we wanted to use something more common, but also wanted to see how FineReader Pro for Mac performs when you convert large files. So we used the user guide of FineReader 11, a PDF file with 108 pages.
The import took about a minute, then the “magic” happened (took another 4 minutes), so after 5 minutes, all 108 pages were imported and prepared to export. Now, if you export the document directly to Microsoft Word, FineReader will treat some graphics as tables or text. To avoid this, you have to go through the pages manually to mark the images of the original document as such. However, this is done very quickly even with a very long document. If you then export the document to the Microsoft Word format (Word 2007 docx, btw.), you get a very good version of the document. It has some issues with formatting, the fonts are significantly different from the original, and individual formattings such as “bold”, are not recognized always. You can see a comparison below:
One thing you have to be aware of is the FineReader file. After importing and analyzing the document to be converted, it can be saved, but it’s really a large file. Our PDF file (the 108 page user guide) is about 1 MB in size. The resulting Word file is slightly smaller than 1 MB. Great. However, the imported and analyzed document (.frdoc file) had a size of 355 MB! For smaller documents, this is not important, because then you export the document directly without saving the FineReader file.
Overall, FineReader Pro for Mac is a very good program. Certainly it has difficulties when exporting to Word, especially with formatting and complex forms. Scanning and save documents as searchable PDF files is really fun. Is it perfect? No. But for document management and conversion, it is very very good. Highly recommended!