TopOCR - A Free OCR Application For Windows

TopOCR – A Free OCR Application For Windows

Sometimes you just want a way to get text out of an image, whether it is a PDF you’ve downloaded, a document you want to scan, or even one from your digital camera or smartphone.

There are a number of ways to do this, but one free way on Windows is to use TopOCR.

As their site says, TopOCR was developed by a team of university mathematicians and it was primarily designed to handle documents captured by a digital camera or smartphone.


For input, it will take any image file (JPEG, TIFF, GIF and BMP).

If you have a scanner that supports TWAIN, it will interface with your scanner and scan right into TopOCR.

Since TopOCR will only take image files, if you have an existing PDF that you want to OCR, you have to do some backflips.

Performing OCR On An Existing PDF In TopOCR

You’re going to have to do some copy & paste action.

First in Acrobat Reader, got to Edit > Preferences, click on General, and set “Use fixed resolution for Snapshot took images” to 300 pixels/inch. Hit OK.

acrobat reader 300dpi

Now load up the PDF you want to OCR, and go Tools > Select & Zoom > Snapshot Tool.

Highlight the part of the PDF you want to OCR, and the Snapshot Tool will put it to the clipboard.

Snapshot Tool

Now to go TopOCR and paste. In the Image Window, you’ll see your PDF. In the Text Window it will automatically (and quickly!) OCR the text.

Top OCR complete

All this c&p stuff is only needed if you have an existing PDF that you want to OCR. If you have an image or a document in your TWAIN scanner, it’s not necessary.

Exporting The Text

Once you have the text the way you like it, you can save it as TXT or as a searchable PDF.

There is also a pretty unique feature. You can convert the text to speech and save it as an MP3.

Text to speech

There is a lot more to TopOCR, especially around the settings to clean up images from a camera. If you have a need for something like that, it is worth checking out, especially for the price (free!).

Do you have another free OCR solution that you use? Leave a note in the comments.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 3 comments

Malcul - October 8, 2012 Reply

No longer free, I was looking for a free upgrade to my 3.1 version, which by the way works rather well until I tried it on some Greek!

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - October 8, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for letting me know Malcul.

DocumentSnap Time Machine | Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog - September 16, 2012 Reply

[…] TopOCR – A Free OCR Application For Windows Sometimes you just need to OCR something, and this is a free way to do it. […]

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