OCR in Windows 10 (Free Online Tools)

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is the process of converting an image of text into a machine-readable format. When an image or document is scanned into a computer, it is saved as an image file. This makes it impossible for text editors to edit, search, or count the words in the image file. OCR allows systems to extract text from an image, with the content then being stored as editable text data.

Most business workflows involve communicating information using print media. Scanning documents and images can create challenges. OCR technology solves this problem by converting text images into text data that can then be analyzed by other business software. This data can be used to conduct analytics, streamline operations, automate processes, and improve productivity.

This article will introduce some free OCR programs that can assist users in managing files efficiently.

Microsoft OneNote: The Best Free OCR Software

OneNote is a digital note-taking app that provides a single place for keeping all of your notes, research, plans, and information. OneNote supports Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a tool that lets you extract text from a picture or file printout (PDF document or Word file) and paste it into your notes so you can make changes to the words. It's a great way to do things like copy info from a business card you've scanned into OneNote. After you extract the text, you can paste it somewhere else in OneNote or another program, such as Outlook or Word. You can download the latest version from the Microsoft store, and it is often already installed on Windows systems. It is one of the best free OCR software options for text recognition.

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 1: OneNote OCR

Extracting text from a single picture

  1. Right-click the picture, and click Copy Text from Picture.
  2. Click where you'd like to paste the copied text, and then press Ctrl+V.

Extracting text from the images of a multi-page file printout

  1. Right-click any of the image files, and then do one of the following:

    • Click Copy Text from this Page of the Printout to copy text from only the currently selected image (page).
    • Click Copy Text from All the Pages of the Printout to copy text from all the images (pages).
  2. Click where you'd like to paste the copied text, and then press Ctrl+V.

Online OCR Tools

We just saw how we can extract text from image files using OCR technology using Microsoft OneNote on a local machine. Next, let's take a look at OCR software currently available online.


OnlineOCR is a professional online OCR service with a clean and simple design. The appearance of this website might look a little dated since it was created in 2009, but this also helps keep the OCR operations pretty simple for users.

OnlineOCR allows you to recognize scanned PDF documents, photographs, and digital camera-captured images, and convert them to editable files such as Word, TXT, and Excel. There are 46 different languages that can be recognized, including English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 2: OnlineOCR

Getting an OCR job done with OnlineOCR takes just three easy steps.

Step 1. Hit the "Select file" button to upload a PDF file or a scanned document in JPG, BMP, GIF, or TIFF format. You can also upload multiple files in one go. Note: the maximum file size you can upload is 15 MB.

Step 2. Select the language of the file you upload and choose an output format from Word, Excel, and TXT.

Step 3. Click "Convert" to start recognizing and converting your files.


Another free online OCR tool is NewOCR, which can analyze the text in an image file or PDF document that you upload, and then convert it to a text document that can be edited easily on your computer. Every user can enjoy unlimited uploads without any registration requirements. All the files you upload will be deleted from the server, so there is no need to worry about file security.

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 3: NewOCR

First, click "Choose File" to add an image or scanned documents from your device, then click "Preview".

Next, choose one or multiple recognition languages in the language box, then rotate the image if needed. If your uploaded file contains multi-column text, tick the "Page layout analysis" tab to split the text into columns. Finally, click the "OCR" button.

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 4: NewOCR

The recognized text will show in the text box below. You can download the text in TXT, Word, or PDF format.

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 5: NewOCR


Convertio is a free online OCR service with a modern and attractive design. Free, non-registered users can process a maximum of 10 pages. These can be PDF or Word files. You can also use a scanned PDF file. If you need to recognize more pages, simply sign up to obtain improved service.

To perform OCR online with Convertio, just follow these three steps.

Step 1. Click "Choose Files" to choose and upload files from your local device, Google Drive, Dropbox, or web pages. You can also add files by dragging them onto the page.

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 6: Convertio


Step 2. Choose one or two languages used in your uploaded file. Then, set the output format to Word document, Excel workbook, PDF document, text file, or whatever you require. You can choose to recognize all pages or just certain pages by entering a page range in the "Page Number" box.

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 7: Convertio OCR Settings

Convertio OCR Settings

Step 3. When the recognition and conversion are completed, a download link for the extracted text in a converted document will appear at the top. Simply save it to your desired location.

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 8: Convertio Downloading Files

Donwloading Files from Convertio

Convertio offers the most options as an OCR online service and is thus the best free online OCR software.


IronOCR is a popular OCR technology library for .NET developers needing to extract text from scanned documents or PDF files. It provides high accuracy, fast processing, and solid performance in real-time for imaging, digitizing, and recognition. The library is a software component that simplifies the digitization of documents by automating document scanning. It also supports other processes including document indexing and image processing.

IronOCR is unique in its ability to automatically detect and extract data from imperfectly scanned images and documents. The IronTesseract Class provides the most advanced build of Tesseract known anywhere and on any platform, with increased speed and accuracy.

Let's take a look at a code sample for extracting text from a scanned image file.

var Ocr = new IronTesseract();
using (var Input = new OcrInput()){
    //... you can add any number of images
    var Result = Ocr.Read(Input);
var Ocr = new IronTesseract();
using (var Input = new OcrInput()){
    //... you can add any number of images
    var Result = Ocr.Read(Input);
Dim Ocr = New IronTesseract()
Using Input = New OcrInput()
	Input.AddImage("test-files/redacted-employmentapp.png") var Result = Ocr.Read(Input)
End Using
VB   C#

Input Image to Extract Text

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 9: IronOCR, Redacted Employee Data

Redacted Employee Data

Extracted Text Output:

The output is clean and matches the original image just with a few lines of code, translating to perfect output and no technical issues.

OCR in Windows 10, Figure 10: IronOCR, Image Output

Image Output


IronOCR is entirely free for development purposes. It also has a distinct pricing structure for commercial licenses. The Lite bundle starts at $499 with no hidden fees. Users can try out IronOCR in production before purchasing it with the 30-day free trial. Choose a package that matches the size of your business by opting for licensing for either one developer, ten developers, or unlimited developers.

Iron Software is offering its entire suite of products at a large discount. Learn more details on this page