Last week I wrote about converting PDFs to Word or Excel, but what if you have a picture you want to switch? There are lots of paid options for converting an image to text but as with many things there is also a  free online alternative (

The way it works is fairly straight forward. First you fill out a captcha and upload the image (PDF, JPG, GIF, TIFF or BMP). Once your picture finished uploading the site can work its magic. If your picture is all text it will simply give you a copy that you can copy and paste into another program like Word. If your document is a bit more complex it will allow you to select regions that have text in them for conversion. I’ve even had it work on a file I couldn’t get PDF to Word to convert.

Free OCR does have  a couple restrictions: it will only take files under 2 MB and it won’t let you convert more than 10 pictures an hour (guh, that would be all kinds of boring anyway).


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James Curran