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How to Use Microsoft OCR in 2021

2021-11-15 18:12:14 • Filed to: Comparison of PDF Software • Proven solutions

Do you have scanned documents and other files created sometime time back and archived, but you've retrieved those documents and you are wondering how you should edit its contents? This should worry you no more because the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) feature has made this possible. You can access this feature in most tools used in creating documents such as some of the Microsoft OCR tools. The OCR feature is not well known among Microsoft tools. With that regard, this article informs about Office Lens, MS Word, and Office 365 and the common issues involved with these OCR tools and how to fix them.

Does Office Lens Do OCR?

Office lens is one of the Microsoft tools which has been here for a while now and you can feasibly use it to digitalize documents in your cabinet and modify them right on an iOS device, Mac, or PC.

Office lens OCR uses the rear-facing camera on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to capture the image of any document. It then employs a complex scaling algorithm to straighten captured content and then allows sharing, exporting, or editing the content. Note that by default, it'll save an image of the document but if you got Word installed on your iDevice too, you can even have the Office OCR export the image as a functioning Word document so you can edit the contents of that document right from your iOS device.

Without more ado, here is how to use Office lens OCR:

First, download Office OCR from the App Store and install it on your iDevice. Permit to access your camera and follow the following step-by-step guide to scan a paper document then edit it with Word for iOS.

Step 1: From the Microsoft lens OCR, navigate over the selector dial above the shutter button and select "Document". Then point the camera on your iDevice towards the document with as clear of a shot of the text as possible, and watch carefully as Office lens OCR frames the document.

microsoft ocr

Step 2: Once the frames have accurately aligned with the document, simply tap on the "Shutter" button to snap a picture of the document, and Office Lens OCR will automatically scale the document and removes odd angles in the alignment. You can as well fine-tune the framing manually by clicking the "Cropping" button just to the left of the "Done" button.

office lens ocr

Step 3: Once you complete framing the document, you'll be served with several options of exporting the document. Select "Word" and Microsoft Lens OCR will start processing the scanned document and transforming it into DOCX file for word.

office ocr

Step 4: After it has finished processing, Word will launch and download the file then process it. When the file is opened, edit it accordingly.

office 365 ocr

Common Issues of Office Lens OCR and the Solutions to Fix it

Office Lens OCR works fine but the problem comes when you have scanned huge data size at once. When you try processing these files to Word or Uploading to PDF you might come across "Couldn't upload (tap to retry)".

A solution to this is having a fast internet connection or tries avoiding working on large data sizes at a go.


Does Word have OCR?

Microsoft Word is a widely used tool by Windows users to make notes by directly tying on the program. But does Word have OCR? After hovering over and reading responses on Microsoft community forums, MS Word most probably fails to perform OCR. This has made it hard to create notes from the picture files.

Dating back to Windows 2003 and earlier, Microsoft Office Document Imaging (MODI) which is the same as OCR was a feature installed by default. It was able to convert the text in a scanned image to a Word document. However, it was removed in Office 2010 and it is yet to be brought back.


Does Office 365 have OCR?

Like Word, Office 365 OCR is not precisely defined. But, as tried with Word 2016 from Office 365 64-bit version 1711 on Windows 10, you can copy and paste a picture with text into a new Word document and save it as a PDF. Close the document and reopen the PDF into word. You'll get a notification informing you it can be converted into text and warns it could change how it's viewed. After which you can copy and paste the content as text.

However, that has failed to work on several occasions. With that we cannot say for a fact Office 365 has OCR.


Best Alternative to Microsoft OCR

PDFelement is a robust tool which you can use to work on PDF files in creating, formatting, and editing. Importantly, you can use PDFelement as the best alternative to Microsoft OCR and effortlessly modify picture files content.

  • Make text within images editable using OCR.
  • Approve and append signatures to documents digitally.
  • Process documents in a batch to convert, data extract, add bates number, and watermark.
  • Secure PDFs with password protection.
  • Convert PDF documents into Word, HTML, and image files.
  • Compare two PDF files to find out the differences quickly.
  • Quickly combine multiple PDFs into one.

Let's take you through the manual on how to OCR PDF using the program:

Step 1: Import Document

You can import already created PDF files by clicking on "Open files" or "Create PDF" to make PDF of your documents first. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the upload process.

microsoft word ocr

Step 2: Perform OCR

Once the PDF is uploaded, click the "Tool" tab from the menu bar. Again, click "OCR" to set the program to OCR mode.

microsoft office ocr

Step 3: Settings for OCR

On the pop-up window, select "Scan to editable Text". Define the language for the extracted PDF content by taping "Change Languages". Optionally, customize pages of the extracted content by clicking "Customize Pages". When you are done setting all this up click the "OK" button to start to OCR PDF.

microsoft lens ocr

Step 4: Edit Document after OCR

When the OCR PDF process is completed, the extracted text is displayed on a new window. Tap on the "Edit" tab on the top-right menu bar and set up appropriate settings. Then start editing and formatted extracted text to your satisfaction.

microsoft office ocr


Comparison between PDFelement and Microsoft OCR

Microsoft OCR
PDFelement OCR
OCR Some like Office Lens Yes
Batch OCR Not all Yes
OCR Accuracy 70%-90% 95%+
Output Text Text, PDF
Main Features Creating and Organize Notes Create, Edit, Comment and Convert PDFs
Running Speed Fast Ultrafast

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Elise Williams

chief Editor

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