Converting a scanned document to editable text is a handy trick that can save you hours of retyping documents. Free OCR converts your documents for free.
To use Free OCR you need to have your document in a PDF, JPG, GIF, TIFF or BMP format. You can upload documents up to 2MB in size which for most small document conversions will be sufficient. We tested the site with the same passage from the introduction of In Defence Of Food by Michael Pollan. Submissions were made in both PDF format and a JPG screenshot of the PDF page we used. Free OCR seems to like PDF files better, the PDF file rendered with fewer errors.
The rate of errors and quirks in the conversion wasn’t much higher than commercial OCR software and just like using a commercial solution you’ll need to go through and double check to make sure what you see and what the machine sees are the same thing. If you know of other free OCR services, share the wealth in the comments below.