Customer Reviews: ABBYY FineReader 11 Professional Edition
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on May 12, 2012
Abbyy Finereader Professional is wonderful product and I have been using it since I purchased level 6. What I recently learned, though, was a shocker. I am one who, from time to time rebuilds his computer. That is, I scrub the hard drive, reload the OS, apps and data. It is time consuming but produces a really clean computer free of the infamous blue screens of death.

IF you do this, or change computers, you are going to be in trouble sooner than you realize. Abbyy limits the number of fresh installations to five. After that, you will have to pay Abbyy again as if you were a new or upgrading customer.
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on October 16, 2011
I've been a FineReader user for many years and FineReader 11 is very definitely the best yet -- well worth upgrading to for users of previous versions and an excellent choice for those new to optical character recognition (OCR) software. It is a very refined, efficient, and finished product that meets the needs of new and experienced users alike.

I originally settled on FineReader after trying every desktop OCR package that was available and finding that it was far ahead of all the rest. In the years since then I've tried others from time to time and always found that FineReader kept its lead. With FineReader 11 you can use the one-click standard settings or exercise practically any level of control you desire, and get excellent results in any case.

I use FineReader together with a scanner to virtually eliminate paper from my life, making it hugely more convenient to store and retrieve what I need. For the most part I use it to turn scans into PDF documents, which it does extremely well -- much better than Adobe Acrobat (which is far more expensive). But it also does a very good job of turning tables of data into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Producing good reproductions of documents in the form of Microsoft Word files is made much more difficult by the limitations of Word itself and you cannot count on it when the layout is at all complex, but FineReader does very well at reproducing the text.

When a document is badly faded or smudged, or uses a strange typeface, FineReader may not always read the text entirely accurately. It provides efficient tools to help you make corrections if need be. For many purposes, however, I find it best to save the results as a PDF with "text under the page image" (one of FineReader's standard settings). This gives you a file whose appearance matches that of the scanned document but which has non-visible "hidden" text that can be indexed, searched for, or extracted. And FineReader is especially efficient at producing the smallest possible PDF file that gives a good match to the document.

FineReader is a product that can really make your life simpler if you need to deal with much paper. It makes a great deal of sense both for individuals and organizations.
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on March 24, 2012
If I hadn't needed an additional licensed copy of FineReader 8, I probably wouldn't have purchased this newer version. Unfortunately, version 8 is no longer available or supported. FineReader is one of the best - if not THE best - affordable OCR software programs available in my humble opinion. Version 11 has a lot of new features, and overall is very easy to work with. But it has some issues.

One serious drawback I've discovered is the way the program will misidentify some text as a header or footer. You can manually redraw a text box to try to prevent that from happening, but it still insists on changing, say, a paragraph heading into a running header if it happens to be at the top of the page. If you're converting to PDF, and don't need to do much editing, that may not be a problem. But if you want to make an editable MS Word file, you'll find it problematic. The only way to fix it is to cut the text from the header and paste it into the body text in the text area. This is an extra and unnecessary step a user shouldn't have to perform with a program this 'advanced'. There is the option of removing headers and footers (so they won't be included in your saved output file) but then the text is lost.

I've spoken to tech support about this and their suggestion was to "right click" the misidentified text and change it to body text. Changing it to body text does not correct the problem, however. The program still treats the text as a header, and that's how you'll see it in the Word document. In any event, even if it worked, having to do that for each affected page is time-consuming and aggravating. As it is, the work-around that I'm using is time-consuming enough.

It's my sincere hope that the company fixes this problem soon. I can't give it more than 3 stars until they do.

All things considered, if I had had the choice I'd have stayed with version 8.

****This is an addendum to the above. Finally was able to talk to a good tech support rep, and the above problem was solved. Rather than it being a program flaw, it was more like operator error.... I'm eating crow and admit it. I've changed my rating to 5 stars for two very good reasons: the program does work as well as my old version 8 and I can personally vouch for the excellent tech support. I have no problem recommending this product.

The problem I was encountering was in the default setting of the text function. By right clicking on a text block, the text function can be changed from 'automatic' to 'body text'. The blocked area can then be saved as a template and applied throughout. I was under the mistaken impression that a user would have to manually adjust each individual page. So as OCR programs go, this is still one of the best. The range of foreign language recognition in itself is unbelievable, and there are a number of other built-in functions that make this a very useful tool. I've tried others, but I always come back to this one.
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on October 7, 2012
For about ten years, I have stuck with OmniPage. I purchased 18 when it came out to replace the 16 I had been using. Over time, OmniPage has become increasingly difficult to use for quick OCR jobs. I am visually impaired and teach kids who are blind or visually impaired. I want to be able to scan and recognize text and to convert PDF images into useable text and to do it quickly.

Out of frustration, I elected to purchase this latest version of Abby. I am very pleased that I did. Its accuracy is equal to OmniPage and it is far simpler to use for basic tasks. The opening screen gives a selection of tasks. Once you choose, the software pretty much walks you through the given process.

I have used the PC version on a machine running Windows Home Premium 64 bit with 8 megabytes of RAM. I have had no crashes to date. Because of my vision, I am always running one, sometime two access programs, and by the end of most of what I do, MS Word 2010 is also running, and even then, things are not sluggish.

When I have pushed Abby more, I will come back and give an updated report. If you are wondering, I use WindowEyes version 7.5 and ZoomText Version 10 and yes, have had them both running simultaneously with Abbey and Word.
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on August 6, 2013
Other reviewers have pointed out that, regardless of the bells and whistles and other "features" a package of this sort has, the only real need is for accuracy. I'm in the process of digitizing a typewritten book written by my late mother-in-law on her family's history. Despite the varying quality of the typewritten text across the pages of this book, ABBY software interprets the scanned text with amazing speed and accuracy. It interprets an entire page of text in 3 - 5 seconds, and produces editable text with any doubtful characters highlighted. It turns out that almost all the "doubtful" characters are in fact interpreted correctly. I spend as much time telling the software that the doubtful characters are OK as I do correcting the genuinely faulty ones. It turns out to be needful to do this, as ignoring the highlighted "doubtful" characters causes them to show up in MS Word as highlighted characters anyway; you have to deal with them there.

This points up my only real problem with ABBY software, which is that it is too "nanny"-like. An example of this tendency is that, having "read" i.e. interpreted a number of pages of a multi-page document one decides to make a change (however minor) to the program's options, one finds that the software insists on re-interpreting the already-edited pages all over again. Once again, the same highlighted "doubtful" characters show up, and have to be dealt with.

As to extra "bells and whistles", ABBY software has some of these. For the most part I haven't paid much attention to them, preferring to save my edited text to MS Word. There, I have to deal mostly with formatting problems (margins, line-spacing, text size, font choices, etc.), because ABBY software provides little help of that kind.
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on January 5, 2013
This is my second pass at ABBYY having tried FineReader 9 when it first came out. I have two requirements: For the first - recognising table structures (for conversion to Excel) - the results are still disappointing with the images I want to convert. There is poor recognition of rows with much time needing to be spent on reconfiguring column/row structures before the recognition engine can get to work. Second, the documents I'm working with were printed in the 19th century and while the rate-of-recognition of letters (words) was acceptable, the rate on recognising numbers was poor. I used the 'learn' facility in an effort to teach the software what it wasn't correctly reading, but that was laborious and and didn't do much to increase the recognition rate as I moved from table to table.

In summary, it is faster and more accurate to hand-enter the tables than work with FineReader (rather unfortunate because I have over 250,000 items of typed, historical weather data to digitise). ABBYY gets good reviews for having some of the best OCR on the market but it still isn't doing the job I want it to do with tabular data.
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on August 7, 2012
ABBYY fine reader installed easily. Worked well. Some formating lost in transfer when columns were involved. Some line jumping across columns which required close attention during editing. I haven't used this program enough to give it a thorough evaluation but on first blush I would buy it again because of it's ease of use.
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on June 27, 2013
When Nuance sabatoged my OmniPage program thru an update in order to force us to upgrade, after over ten years of being faithful to Nuance - we decided we wouldn't stand for their betrayal and unethical business practices. So, we research and found ABBYY FineReader actually rated better than OmniPage and was even cheaper. O M G....sorry it took us so long to switch.
The program installed like a breeze with virtually no set up required. Installed and was scanning within 10 minutes. PLUS no more fumbling through screens to find what to ask the program to do next.
If we could give it 10 stars we would. This is an amazing program. We help inmate authors self-publish books. Inmates do not have access to computers so their manuscripts are typed and must be scanned before publishing. We rely heavily on our scanner and scanning program. Abbyy FineReader is so much better than OmniPage ever was. We have experienced such a high conversation rate - literally no mistakes. We're stunned at the accuracy compared to what we've been used to!!!
Please do not hesitate to get this program. It's worth every penny!!!!!
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on April 30, 2012
Purchased this product to convert a 400-page pdf of the image of a word doc that contained a request-for-proposals. The automatic recognition did not work properly, as it saw the "bullets" at the beginning of a line of text and gave up on the whole line. By creating a manual process that included a template that was a few characters larger than the text, that gave it enough white space to map the bullet as an unreadable character and successfully convert most of the rest. I did try to train it manually, but the original image was so poor that even after 5 pages of training, the rest came out just as poorly.
However I did purchase the leading competitor, and that did even worse. As did OneNote 2010, which had about 40% garbage characters in the text. Also tried a freeware product that also had too much garbage.
ABBYY is the best thing available in my survey of four with a very difficult OCR task. It has sufficiently readable documentation that I was able to understand the challenge and work around it. Only four stars because I had to turn off the automatic scan and work it to get close to the solution.
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on November 9, 2012
I was looking for OCR software recently and narrowed down my potential purchases to ABBYY Finereader 11 Pro and Omnipage 18. I had never used either product so I wasn't certain which one to buy. I checked out the Amazon reviews on each product and couldn't make a final decision because the reviews seemed so polarized; some people loved one or both products while others hated one or both products with a passion.

I finally settled on ABBYY Finereader 11 Pro Edition simply because PC Magazine had given it an Editors Choice Award and had not given one to Omnipage 18.

So far I'm quite happy with ABBYY Finereader. I'm doing research and using a scanner or my digital camera to take scans/photos of books and articles and then using the OCR software to convert the scans/photos to text. ABBYY Finereader has done that very well so far. Using a digital camera to take photos of book pages often results in an image that appears curved or curled at the edges. ABBYY Finereader seems to handle that image distortion well.

The software user interface is also pretty intuitive and, as a first time user, I found it fairly easy to figure out how to use this program to accomplish what I wanted it to do.

On the downside, I had a few minor problems getting an installation code for the product from ABBYY. It took three attempts before I managed to download an installation code. It also took several attempts to register the product with ABBYY. As computer related irritants go, these are fairly minor but they're problems ABBYY should look at fairly seriously.

I've never used Omnipage 18 so I can't compare the two programs against each other, but I'm happy with ABBYY Finereader so far.
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