3 Free OCR Software to Extract Text from Images

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a technique that can be used to extract text from images. This technique is useful for converting scanned documents to searchable and editable formats. Although there are many paid software available for the OCR such as Nuance OmniPage, but this option is quite expensive because the paid software for OCR and extracting text from images could cost as much as $149. There are some free software that also provide the OCR functions. Let’s discuss some of the options here.

Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote for extracting text from images

Microsoft OneNote is a part of Microsoft Office suite. OneNote is best for making and organizing notes. But it is also interesting to note that Microsoft OneNote can provide the OCR and image to text functionality quite brilliantly.

  1. You need to open OneNote and drag or copy any image to a New Page.
  2. Right Click on the Page and Click Copy Text from the Picture.
  3. Now OneNote will recognize the text and it will be saved in the clipboard. You can paste it anywhere.


TopOCR is another freeware that lets you perform the OCR for extracting text from images.

Download TopOCR. Although the program is no longer maintained and was developed for the Windows XP only but it runs easily on the Windows 7.

TopOCR OCR scanner for Windows 7

You will see old style toolbar of TopOCR. Run TopOCR and you will see two windows. On the left window you need to Open any image file. When you open any image file the TopOCR will perform OCR and you will see the extracted text on the right window. The text can be copied to some other application or saved in TXT, PDF, HTM, RTF formats.


FreeOCR is another free utility developed on the .net framework 2.0 base. This is fully compatible with Windows 7. Download it from here FreeOCR.

Extract text from images using FreeOCR

This free utility provides the feature of scanning a document, opening PDF, images for OCR. To perform OCR for images, click Open and select any image. You also have the option for performing OCR on cropped image. When you have selected the image, it will be showing in the left window. Click OCR and you will see the extracted text, which can be copied to clipboard or exported to Microsoft Word.

Which OCR software do you use to extract text from images?