Latest in 2020: FreeOCR Review and How to Use it

Latest in 2020: FreeOCR Review and How to Use it

2020-03-13 14:13:00 / Posted by to OCR PDF Follow @ lily jones

Though it has been more than 4 years since the last version of FreeOCR, this software is still hot among OCR users, mainly for the reason that it is 100% free to OCR files from scanners, OCR PDF and images to plain text or Word.

Today, we will have a closer look at this free ocr software in our FreeOCR review, exploring where to download and how to use FreeOCR to Word. In addition, we include the solutions if FreeOCR is not working as expected in your case.

What is FreeOCR?

First thing first, what is FreeOCR?

It is a piece of Windows software to OCR files offline, but there are some online OCR platforms naming as freeocr or freeocronline, which is quite confusing.

FreeOCR is created by PaperFile, it applies the open source Tesseract OCR to recognize texts from paper file in Twain scanners, also OCR and export PDF or image to editable Text or Word format.

The latest version of FreeOCR is V5.4.1 released in 2015, it supports Windows XP, Vista, 7,8 and 10, requires a 1024 RAM to run on Windows PC.

FreeOCR Review


  • OCR scans, PDF and images;
  • Export as Text, Word and RTF;
  • Support 11 languages;
  • Save imported file as JPG;
  • Easy to use;
  • Free


  • Take time when OCR multiple pages;
  • No formatting is retained;
  • Old fashioned interface;
  • Respond slowly when loading files;
  • No batch OCR;


FreeOCR is only available on Windows, though its official website indicates that this program can only support Windows 8 and earlier, I have installed and tested this software on my Windows 10, it is also compatible on Windows 10.

The latest version of FreeOCR is V5.4.1 and it seems that there will be no new versions, at least for this free OCR program.

Where to Download FreeOCR V5.4.1?

For safety reason, you are recommended to download FreeOCR V5.4.1 directly from its official website as following:

Download Address:

Size of Download EXE: 11.3MB


Once you have downloaded the program, you can double click the exe file for installation, an installation wizard will appear and guide you to finish the installation. It is easy and fast to go through the installation.

finish installation


The interface of FreeOCR is quite simple, but old fashioned. 


The interface is not cluttered, with main feature icon located on the top, while other toolbars listed on the left of input or output file preview, allowing users to adjust the input file or customize the output file.

Input & Ouput

Support Input: Scans, PDF and Image;

Support Output: Text, RTF and Word.

OCR Performance

  • Speed---Medium

The speed of OCR processing from FreeOCR is quite ordinary, or relatively slower than other OCR programs in the market, especially you need to OCR scans from a scanner.

  • OCR Settings

FreeOCR allows users to OCR current page or all pages, this is quite useful when you just need to OCR only 1 page of the imported PDF file or others.

ocr settings

  • Tools for Accurate OCR

To improve its OCR accuracy, FreeOCR offers several tools to adjust the imported files, like enlarge and rotate, to make sure the imported file is clear and in correct orientation.

  • OCR Language

Your files may be in different languages, FreeOCR makes it possbile to OCR files in 11 languages, including: English, Danish, German, Finnish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norway, Polish, Spanish, Swedish

ocr language

  • OCR Accuracy

FreeOCR does good on recognizing text from image-based files, at least 90% of the texts can be recognized accurately, but speaking of keeping the formatting, it seemingly contributes nothing.

As you can see, the left shows the original JPG file, the right displays the OCR result in Microsoft Office Word, there is no formatting preserved, the font, the layout and the links. Even, this is an simply-formatted file.

freeocr result

How to Use FreeOCR Software?

In fact, it is quite easy to use FreeOCR on your Windows PC. Here, we take FreeOCR to Word as an example to demonstrate how to OCR files to Word format with FreeOCR.

Steps to OCR to Word with FreeOCR.

  1. Download and install FreeOCR onto your Windows PC;
  2. Add files to FreeOCR for OCR;
    To import scans, click Scan and choose your scanner, then import the files;
    To import PDF, click “Open PDF” and navigate to your PDF, upload;
    To import images, click “Open” and navigate to your image, upload;freeocr step 01
  3. Start OCR with FreeOCR.
    Before OCR, you can enlarge or rotate the imported file if necessary, also you can click “OCR” to select current page or whole file for OCR, then Go to OCR>Start OCR Process;step 2
  4. Export files to Word in FreeOCR.
    Once the OCR process finishes, preview the OCR result in the right window, then click the Word icon, the OCR result will be opened in your Microsoft Office Word, save the Word file.step 3

What if FreeOCR Not Working? 

But what if FreeOCR not working, I mean it cannot bring accurate OCR results to you? Here are some possible fixes:

  • 1. Re-do the OCR, quit the program and import the file for the 2nd OCR processing;
  • 2. Utilize its tools for more accurate OCR result, enlarge, rotate to right orientation, or select just a specific part of the file for OCR;
  • 3. Make sure you are choosing the correct file language;
  • 4. Find an alternative to FreeOCR.

Best Alternative to FreeOCR

Today, few OCR tools are free to use, there may be free trials offered, but if are looking for high quality OCR tools, you will have to pay for. Here we recommend 2 best alternatives to FreeOCR for Mac or Windows.

Best Alternative to FreeOCR for Mac

Enolsoft PDF Converter with OCR for mac can be an ideal alternative to FreeOCR for mac users, and it offers more than you expect. It is designed to OCR both scanned PDF and images into 10+ formats, also it can directly convert native PDF files to popular document and image formats.

Main Features of Enolsoft PDF Converter with OCR

  • OCR PDF to searchable PDF, Word, Excel, PPT, Keynote, Pages, ePub, etc.;
  • OCR images, like JPG to Excel, Word, PPT, Pages, Keynote, ePub, etc.;
  • Accurate OCR result
  • Batch OCR files;
  • Convert native PDF files to 15 formats;
  • Support protected PDFs;
  • Support 200+ file languages;
  • Fast OCR;

How to Use FreeOCR Alternative on Mac?

  1. Download and install Enolsoft PDF Converter with OCR onto your mac;
    Free Download
  2. Import scanned PDF or images to the program;
    Directly drag and drop files to the program, or you can click “+” to add single or multiple files;freeocr alternative mac01
  3. Prepare for OCR on mac.
    For PDF files, turn OCR ON, then select file language and page range;
    For image files, the OCR feature is turned On by default, you just need to select file language; 
    Then choose output as Word or other formats; freeocr alternative mac 02
  4. Click “Convert” to OCR PDF or images on mac, save them in editable formats. 

Best Alternative to FreeOCR for Windows

Foxit PhantomPDF is a Windows PDF tool packing OCR, editing, converting, organizing and other needed features into one. With this tool, you will be able to create PDF files, save PDF files as MS or other formats, organize, protect, sign, edit, scan and OCR PDF.

How to Use FreeOCR Alternative for Windows

  1. Download and install Foxit PhantomPDF into your Windows PC;
  2. Go to Convert>From files, add your files for OCR;
  3. Then click on OCR;freeocr alternative windows01
  4. Adjust the OCR settings and click OK;freeocr alternative windows 02
  5. Then choose an output format.freeocr alternative windows03


It is no doubt that there will be no more free OCR software like FreeOCR, except you decide to try those online free OCR tools. But if you want accurate OCR results with original formatting retained, even FreeOCR will fall short of your expectations, you will need to pay for a professional OCR program today, like Enolsoft PDF Converter with OCR for mac or Foxit PhantomPDF for Windows.