How to Convert Scanned Documents to Microsoft Word

How to Convert Scanned Documents to Microsoft Word

It is often necessary to make edits to hard copies of documents, particularly in offices containing archives of legacy paperwork that was never stored on a computer, or where the electronic copies have since been misplaced, damaged or are not compatible with modern file systems.

Optical Character Recognition technology was once expensive and accessible only to those who could afford it. Today, however, there is no need for anyone to be forced to painstakingly re-type a document into a word processor in order to store it electronically. All that is needed is a scanner connected to the computer, a word processor such as Microsoft Word, and internet connectivity. Read on for more details.

OS: Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista/7


You will also need: a scanned copy of a document (PDF, JPG, GIF, TIFF or BMP format), or a scanner connected to your computer

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • 1

    If you already possess a scanned image of a document you wish to edit in Microsoft Word, proceed to Step 2.

    Ensure your scanner is switched on, connected to your computer and the necessary drivers have been installed on your system. Place the paper copy of the document you wish to edit on the glass panel of the scanner and press the Scan button. After a few minutes, an electronic copy of the document should be available in the default scanner folder on your computer.

    Repeat this step for each page of the document to be edited.

  • 2

    Launch your web browser of choice and navigate to Free OCR. Free OCR offers web-based conversion of image files to Microsoft Word format without the need to install additional software on your computer.

  • 3

    Click Choose File and locate the first image file on your computer to convert for editing. Double-click the file to select it.

    Free OCR works with one page at a time only. If the source image is a PDF with multiple pages, you must separate these into individual documents. Most PDF applications have an option to save the current page as a new file. The filesize limit for Free OCR is 2mb.

  • 4

    Select the language for the output text and enter the Captcha security text that appears in the graphic. Click Send File.

    Depending on the size and complexity of the source document, the conversion process takes a few minutes to complete. When it is finished, the captured text is available in the Text Recognition Result window.

  • 5

    Click anywhere within the Text Recognition Window and press CTRL and A to highlight all the output.

  • 6

    Press CTRL and C to copy the text to your clipboard. Open Microsoft Word, or the word processor of your choice, and create a blank document. Press CTRL and V to paste the contents of the clipboard into the document.

  • 7

    The text will require formatting as per your requirements. Save the file when it is ready.

Tips & Advice

  • Free OCR works with various languages. If the source document is in a language other than the default English, ensure you select this from the Language dropdown prior to beginning conversion. This will improve the quality of the recognition.

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