For the average user, the OCR (optical character recognition software) that comes bundled with their scanner is more than enough for most of their needs. In fact, chances are they’ve already been given a version of OmniPage, so there’d need to be a very strong reason for paying full whack for a package such as OmniPage Professional 16.0.

OmniPage Professional 16.0 is aimed at people working in professions where a huge amount of documentation has to be converted into an electronic, editable format - taking text from scanners, PDF files and camera images that are then output to text documents and the like. OmniPage Professional 16.0 is multilingual as well, and can recognise and work with over 100 languages.

Nuance claims to have improved OmniPage Professional 16.0's accuracy by 27 and speed by up to 46 percent. Although unable to verify precisely these claims, on the right computer OmniPage Professional 16.0 is both fast and accurate, and does an excellent job of retaining the original formatting. While this is the core feature, probably the most remarkable improvement is the addition of what Nuance calls 3DC scanning, whereby images taken with a digital camera can be automatically skewed for improved results. As taking images from a camera speeds up the whole process of converting documents, this alone is one reason to upgrade to OmniPage Professional 16.0.

OmniPage Professional 16.0's third method of input, from PDF, works well – despite the occasional error message (which appeared to have no effect on final character recognition and output). And OmniPage Professional 16.0 not only converts files into editable text but, with the inclusion of PDF Create! 4.0, can also take your own documents and turn them into PDF files for distribution. It's certainly not as sophisticated as Acrobat – but OmniPage Professional 16.0 is extremely easy to use and handy for processing batch jobs.

The addition of PaperPort 11.0 means that you have greater control over managing documents: it organises files from within OmniPage Professional 16.0 and also allows you to annotate documents and PDFs for indexing. For the average user, PaperPort is overkill, but for professionals handling huge quantities of documents it’s a useful tool.

When using OmniPage Professional 16.0, you can choose from several views depending on your familiarity with the program, and the improved Workflow Assistant means that plenty of complex (and tedious) tasks are now performed with a single button press from within OmniPage Professional 16.0 or on your scanner. Add support for Office 2007 and this is the best OCR software around.

OmniPage Professional 16.0: Specs

  • Intel Pentium III or AMD Athlon
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 150MB hard disk space
  • compatible scanner or digital camera
  • IE 5.5 or higher
  • Intel Pentium III or AMD Athlon
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 150MB hard disk space
  • compatible scanner or digital camera
  • IE 5.5 or higher

OUR VERDICT

Accuracy and speed are most important, and in these areas OmniPage Professional 16.0 performs very well. However, it is the inclusion of so many features – covering every aspect that advanced users may wish to consider – that makes OmniPage Professional 16.0 so appealing. For those who do not need PaperPort or batch processing, OmniPage Professional 16.0 retails for £80.

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