Recently I did an issue of the DocumentSnap Newsletter where I talked about scanning apps that perform OCR. In other words, an app that gives you the ability to take a picture of a document and make a searchable PDF right on your device.
Afterwards, awesome DocumentSnap reader Chip Shanley made the case for Prizmo, an iOS app that I didn’t include in my initial roundup. I wish I had.
I bought Prizmo and headed to my usual real-world scanner app testing lab, my local Starbucks. Compared to the other OCR apps out there, the results were impressive.
Prizmo works like most scanning apps. You use your iPhone or iPad’s camera to capture a page, and it supports single or multiple-page documents.
It will then allow you to adjust the scan, choose the language (there is OCR support for ten European languages), and even adjust the readability of the text (this can be important for the OCR).
While Prizmo can be used as a normal scanning app, the main reason to invest in it is its near-desktop-class OCR. Once you’ve captured your scan, you can hit Recognize and it will show you the text in the document.
You can then move things around if you need to.
When you export, you can export either a PDF or text file with the text extracted out of the document or a searchable PDF with text embedded.
Those scans are with no adjustments made. I am sure I could get even better OCR results if I fiddled with the settings. As it stands now, just the default is better than most other OCR apps.
If OCR wasn’t enough, Prizmo has a built-in translation engine and will translate text between European languages.
When no one was looking, I grabbed this Starbucks package off the shelf (in Canada everything has to be French and English). Here’s some text I captured.
Here is the translated version in Prizmo.
Not bad at all.
You can also have Prizmo read out the text, and there are different voices for each language. You have a lot of control over the voice and the speed that the text is read, and makes for a very cool feature.
Hard To Beat
If all you are doing is capturing one-off scans, there are scanning apps out there that are cheaper or even free. However, if you are looking to create searchable PDFs and/or extract text out in multiple languages, it is hard to beat Prizmo’s accuracy.