First Look: ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Professional OCR Software

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted June 12, 2002
Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor, www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

ABBYY, a provider of document recognition and linguistic technologies, announced the availability of its ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Professional. According to the company, the new software delivers significant improvements in word accuracy and format retention, new ease-of-use features, added saving options, and strong PDF conversion.

The company says that its FineReader OCR engine accurately recognizes and retains whole documents, including pictures, page layout, tables and text - even text color, inverted type, and vertical text.

FineReader 6.0 Professional includes ABBYY's newly developed Intelligent Background Filtering technology. This system uses new algorithms that are designed to filter background noise and texture to reduce the number of word errors on low-contrast, color and degraded documents - up to 35%.

The new technology employs a dynamic threshold to automatically adjust text contrast on a line-by-line basis. In addition, the texture filtering system should effectively detect and remove background noise and texture that could interfere with word recognition. Intelligent Background Filtering may be particularly helpful for converting newsprint, magazine pages, faxes, copies and text printed on color or textured backgrounds.

When converting documents, FineReader is designed to do a superior job of retaining the original format. And ABBYY has added new technology to better reproduce the format within Microsoft Word and Excel. These new capabilities include:

Improved saving of pictures with wrapped text - FineReader may do a better job of preserving the original document layout in Microsoft Word - especially non-rectangular pictures, multi-column pictures and wrap-around text.

Better retention of letter spacing and line length - The new version performs a more sophisticated analysis of font parameters, such as letter width, in order to retain more exact letter spacing and line length when exporting to Microsoft Word.

Retention of bulleted and numbered lists - FineReader should preserve bulleted and number lists when results are exported to Microsoft Word.

Enhanced table recognition - The new version should recognize and retain the text alignment within table cells in Microsoft Excel. And as the previous version, FineReader 6.0 should retain text alignment within table cells in MS Word. Plus it's designed to preserve pictures, vertical text and inverted type, whether in table cells or anywhere else in a Word document.

FineReader enables users to input popular image files that include BMP, JPEG, TIFF and others. The OCR results can then be saved in a wide variety of formats, from RTF, DOC and XLS to HTML and PDF. Version 6.0 now expands these options to include:

PDF conversion - The new version of FineReader is designed to recognize and convert PDF files into editable text.

Enhanced PDF output - FineReader features a new mode of saving: image only. This may give users 6 saving options. Also, the program includes foreign language fonts that may enable users to save multilingual documents in PDF, eliminating the need to install additional fonts.

Adjusting image compression & resolution - This new and unique FineReader feature should enable users to control the quality and file size of graphic elements when saving in HTML or PDF formats by adjusting photo compression. Plus, users saving in RTF, DOC, HTML or PDF formats can select the image resolution from 72 to 600 dpi, eliminating the need to rescan images.

According to the company, FineReader provides user-friendly tools for every step of the OCR process. The software enables users to convert paper documents with a click of the Scan&Read button. Plus, the Scan&Read Assistant guides the OCR process, prompting users to select preferred settings, which can then be saved to automate repetitive projects. FineReader also features background recognition, which lets users work in another program while running FineReader in the background.

Other new features include:

Full-page WYSIWYG editor - Displays the full document layout as it appears in the source image, improving the ease-of-use and reducing edit time.

Printing directly from FineReader - Enables users to print source images and recognized documents directly from FineReader.

Recognition of multilingual documents - Supports 177 languages and is designed to recognize documents with multiple languages.

Integration with Windows Explorer - Enables users to open documents or batches in Windows Explorer by right clicking on the image file and opening it directly in FineReader.

Pricing and Availability
ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Professional is priced at $149 for an upgrade from any brand of OCR software, including versions bundled with scanners. The software is available now and may be purchased by visiting ABBYY's online store: www.abbyyusa.com or by calling ABBYY's toll-free number: (877) 328-2229. The company also offers a 15-day "Try&Buy" version, which can be downloaded for free from ABBYY's web site, www.abbyyusa.com.

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