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Scan documents with style & ease

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in Office Technology

I'd used Adobe Acrobat and other optical character recognition (OCR) software to turn scanned documents into digital files.

But the programs left a lot to be desired: It always took too much time to clean up mis-scanned text.

Then, when faced with a huge project for which I needed to scan, copy or manually enter a huge amount of information, I discovered Abbyy Fine- Reader 8.0. Abbyy (price: $179.99 to $399.99) converts scanned documents to digital files with much better accuracy than the competition.

What should have taken me about two weeks to do took four days with Abbyy.

We now use Abbyy (pronounced like the name “Abby”) in our office to convert long documents, such as leases, so we don’t have to retype them. You can even train it to recognize handwritten text.

Here’s how the software works:
  • Scan a document to a pdf, bmp, jpg, pcx, png, dcx or tiff. Tip: If the text is 9 pt. or smaller, enlarge the copy on the copier before you scan the image. The bigger the text, the more accurate the document will be. Open your image in Abbyy.

  • Use the Erase or Cropping tool to remove unwanted items. Example: If you wanted to scan and reuse a contract, erase the names, dates, etc.

  • Begin the character-recognition process by clicking the “T” symbol and selecting the portion of text you want the software to “read.” Rightclick and select “Read Block.” The text will appear in a text window.
Review the text, especially any characters highlighted in blue, which means Abbyy is unsure of its translation.

Click on the Save down arrow when you’re finished, and select Save Wizard. Choose the program you want to save the text to (Word, Excel, etc.). Abbyy launches the program and shows you the newly created document.

Download a 15-day trial version at

Tonya Oliver is Web site administrator for World Oil Cos. in Casper, Wyo., and a Microsoft Office User Specialist instructor.

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