How do I 'OCR' a scanned document?

'OCR' stands for 'optical character recognition'. OCR is a technology used to scan paper documents, recognize the text and characters on that scanned document, and spit out a file that has actual data text - as opposed to just a picture of the text. Functionally, you are making your 'picture' of words into words that a computer can recognize and do something with. For accessibility purposes, by scanning a document and 'OCR-ing' the content, you are making your document searchable and readable with assistive technology. If a document has been scanned, but has not been 'OCR-ed', it can't be searched through for key words, it can't be found on any search engine, it can be searched through manually, and it isn't accessible! 

 

How do I OCR a scanned document to make it accessible? 

Ask yourself: Do I really need this document on my site? If the answer is 'No', consider deleting the document entirely. Problem solved. 

 

If you're using Foxit:

1. Open your scanned PDF in Foxit.

2. Select the "Convert" tab in your upper, left-hand tool bar.

A red arrow points to the "convert" tab in the Foxit toolbar.

3. Select the "Recognize Text" icon in the toolbar. Select "Current File". 

Two red arrows point to the "OCR Recognize Text" icon and the "Current File" dropdown in the Foxit toolbar.

4. In the pop-up window, select "All Pages" and "Editable Text". Select "OK". 

The "Recognize Text" popup window with a red box around "All Pages" and a red box around "Editable Text".

5. A gray loading box will appear in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Wait for your document to process through the OCR software. 

6. Once your gray loading bar reaches 100%, you're good to go! Your file has now been completely OCR'ed and can be saved as a new PDF. 

The 100 percent completion bar in Foxit that indicates a document has been entirely OCRed.

 

If you're using Adobe Acrobat Pro: 

1. Open your scanned PDF in Adobe Acrobat.

2. Select the "Tools" bar in the upper left hand corner.

 Red box around the "Tools" bar in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

3. Select the "Scan and OCR" tool.

A red box around the "Scan and OCR" tool in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

4. Select the "Recognize Text" button in your "Scan" toolbar. Next, select which files you would like to OCR. 

One red arrow points to the "Recognize Text" button while another red arrow points to the "Scan this file" button in the Scan toolbar od Adobe Acrobat Pro.

5. Select the blue "Recognize Text" button and wait patiently. It might text a few seconds to process your file. 

A red arrow points to a blue "Recognize Text" button in the Scan toolbar in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

 

 

Still Need Help? 

Let us know! We are happy to help you make your content, documents, and webpages more accessible. 

Madison Ellis, Accessibility Specialist

mjellis@uada.edu

 

Head back to the document accessibility page