OCR Document Scanning With Smartphones

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 12, 2009
Updated • May 26, 2017
Software, Windows software

The common way to scan documents is to use a hardware scanner connected to a PC directly or by using network connections, and a text recognition software afterwards using optical character recognition (ocr) if text needs to be identified.

The rise of digital cameras and smartphones created alternative means to do OCR document scanning. A good enough digital camera is capable of taking a detailed photo of the document which can then be processed by OCR software programs like TOP OCR.

TOP OCR processes images of documents that have either been taken by scanners, digital cameras or smartphones. It basically enables you to emulate the usual document scanning process that is done with a hardware scanner by replacing it with loading photos that are taken with digital cameras instead.


ocr document scanning

The ocr application will process images that get loaded into the software program by the user of the computer system. It will display the scanned document in the left pane and the text that has been processed by the OCR document scanner in the right pane.

The company that creates the OCR software recommends at least a 3 Megapixel camera as the quality may not be good enough if it does not match the Megapixel count. They have created a tutorial page with many helpful tips on getting the best results.

The scanning process itself takes only a few seconds per page. Results are instantly shown in the right pane which offers basic text editing capabilities to correct any errors of the automatic text recognition process. You can also copy the information, or save them to the local system directly for further processing or safe keeping.

It offers basic image editing capabilities as well that you can make use of such as rotating images which may be useful if the document was photographed upside down or in another weird angle. Here you can also change the contrast and a couple of other image related settings.


TOP OCR is a multi-lingual OCR software program for the Windows operating system that produces impressive results if the source image is of good quality.

The program supports all versions of Windows from Windows Vista to Windows 10, and works best if the computer has a fair amount of RAM, CPU cores, and when the images are of high quality.

Update: Note that the program is not free anymore. It is now sold for $4.99 by the company. A demonstration is available that you can download for Windows to test the program's functionality. The demo program is limited however in several regards, as all save functionality is disabled.

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  1. Unit1 said on March 12, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks for the information the software that came with my all in one was saving all of my scans in .jpg This will save me a lot of printing time now that I can convert them all to text ;-)

  2. Doc said on March 12, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Omnipage Pro (15) allows you to load images as well.

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