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IRIS Readiris Pro 10
Transforming printed documents into editable text requires an optical character recognition (OCR) program. The basic OCR programs that come with most scanners are fine for simple tasks, but more-complex documents require a full-featured package like Iris's Readiris Pro 10.
The most notable improvements in version 10 of this $249.95 application are two new recognition engines - one for hand-printed text and the other for barcode reading. The latest Readiris also supports a wider variety of output formats; has a simple, wizard-driven interface, and extensive PDF support.
The big letdown in the shipping version we evaluated was Readiris's hand-printing recognition feature. It can decipher only separated characters (block letters), not cursive text. Even when we followed these rules, we got lacklustre results. In its best test run, the accuracy rate was only 88 per cent.
However, Readiris's speed and accuracy in the other standard OCR tests we conducted (including bar-code reading) were exemplary. It took a scant 31 seconds to convert a 10-page document into a text file, with very few errors.
Verdict With its easy interface and speedy OCR conversion, we'd recommend Readiris to anyone who needs to convert documents to electronic form. But we'd advise new users to lower their expectations about transforming hand-printed notes into editable text.
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