We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Utilities software Reviews
15,669 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

ScanSoft OmniPage 15.0

£90 inc VAT

Manufacturer: ScanSoft

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

It might not seem like it, but OmniPage 14.0 came out almost two years ago. Arguably, it is the flagship OCR (optical character recognition) product on the market, and this version looks good enough to continue that trend.

It might not seem like it, but OmniPage 14.0 came out almost two years ago. Arguably, it is the flagship OCR (optical character recognition) product on the market, and this version looks good enough to continue that trend.

So what's new in the fifteenth iteration of this venerable institution? Many of the benefits are subtle improvements rather than anything groundbreaking. Then again, previous releases didn't leave all that much room for improvement. ScanSoft reckoned OmniPage 14.0 provided 99 percent accuracy, while its successor offers '99+ percent' – which, let's face it, sounds marginal. Nevertheless, there is a veritable laundry-list of tweaks and extras in this release.

Ready, SET go

First, there's SET – short for scanner-enhancement tools – which lets you revisit less-than-perfect scans and improve their quality prior to OCR-ing. This is a real time-saver. You can now associate a complete scanning process with the button on your scanner. Likewise, the Document Workflow Wizard will automate complex document conversions and store them as repeatable batch jobs. It can even read barcodes on cover sheets to trigger the appropriate batch process for conversion.

You also get better font matching, layout learning and a faster OCR engine, which makes use of Intel hyperthreading and dual-core technology if it finds it. Last but not least, you also get copies of PDF Create and PDF Converter thrown in.

The interface retains the familiar tri-pane arrangement, with source thumbnails on the left, a central recognition panel and an output text panel on the right. The SET toolbar occupies a vertical strip next to the thumbnails. The OCR process remains a deceptively easy three-click task. Once the document has been passed through the scanner it is zoned and scanned. Rarely does the zone-identification process get it wrong, correctly recognising graphics and columns, which are then replicated in editable form. Likewise, proofing the result is as easy as falling off a log.

Vanilla essence

As is usual, there are two retail versions of OmniPage 15.0: the £90 plain vanilla version and the Professional flavour, which carries a significantly heavier price tag. Clearly you won't find some of the more exotic features of the Pro version in the entry-level edition, and you lose features such as digital-to-digital-document conversion, fillable forms, XML and e-book support, wider batch job controls, Sharepoint 2003 integration and barcode driven workflows, all of which would find favour in the corporate workspace.

We suspect – nice though these features are to have – most OCR users probably won't notice their absence. In any event, only hard-core OCR types with serious conversion workloads would be prepared to fork out £435 for a tool such as this.

OCR accuracy claims

ScanSoft actually claims its latest OmniPage release is 15 to 25 percent more accurate than the previous one, and up to 50 percent less likely to stray from accuracy than its rivals. As we've seen, version 14.0 was already 99 percent perfect, so where do these bold figures come from? Actually, they are more usefully viewed as reduced inaccuracy scores. If, for example, version 14.0 made 10 errors per 1,000 words, and the new release made only seven, then it would have reduced inaccuracy by 30 percent – but the overall accuracy, at 99.3 percent, is not significantly improved. But 30 percent of anything sounds much better than 0.3, doesn't it? That's not to decry the accuracy of OmniPage 15.0. It is undoubtedly excellent, probably the best on the market, although the new ABBYY FineReader will give the entry-level version of OmniPage 15.0 a run for its money. But even the improvements it offers are probably not enough to get version 14.0 users to upgrade.

OmniPage Expert Verdict »

500MHz Pentium III processor
Windows 98SE/Me/2000 SP4/XP Professional
200MB hard disk space
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 9 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

OmniPage continues to rule the OCR roost. With nigh-perfect recognition scores and format retention, it's getting ever harder for ScanSoft to squeeze any more accuracy out of this product. The Pro version is destined for heavy-duty corporate chores and so comes appropriately equipped. The standard version lacks these bells and whistles but overall accuracy is not compromised.

  • Nuance Omnipage Pro 17 review

    Nuance Omnipage Pro 17

    Omnipage Pro 17 offers industrial-strength OCR (optical character recognition) for office environments, but it comes at a premium price.

  • OmniPage Professional 16.0

    OmniPage Professional 16.0

    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.

  • Nuance OmniPage Ultimate review

    Nuance OmniPage Ultimate

    This Ultimate edition of Nuance’s OmniPage is the successor to version 18, so you might think there wasn’t a great deal more that such programs can offer. Actually, there is, but can this software fullfill the need? Read our Nuance OmniPage Ultimate review to find out more.

  • Nuance OmniPage Professional 18 review

    Nuance OmniPage Professional 18

    Nuance OmniPage Professional 18 is the latest and greatest version of Nuance's best software for OCR - the optical character recognition of scanned text pages.

  • ABBYY FineReader 9.0 OCR software

    ABBYY FineReader 9.0 OCR software

    Users needing an OCR program to handle a large number of documents will appreciate ABBYY FineReader 9.0.

IDG UK Sites

LG G4 Note UK release date and specification rumours: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 killer could be the LG 3......

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model