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Utilities software Reviews
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Nuance OmniPage Ultimate review

£170 for the full version, and £90 to upgrade

Manufacturer: Nuance

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

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 Ultimate review

OmniPage Ultimate doesn’t instantly grab you as a massive step forwards. Our main reservation about OmniPage has always been its interface. It’s not it lacks versatility or features; only that it’s simply not user-friendly. See all OCR software reviews.

And on this score, little has really changed. The main screen still proves rather austere and forbidding. OmniPage is a consistent package once you get the hang of it, and its workflows remain a powerful method of creating jobs that can apply to the source material the exact tools you wish, and in the order you wish. Take a look at IRIS Readiris Pro 14 review.

However, you will need to be prepared to explore the program’s many menu options in some depth in order to feel comfortable with the main interface. Informative help files are there to assist with this. See all software reviews.

The choice of views (including the dual-view page image and text editor) works as well as ever, and it remains very easy to manipulate and make corrections. But newcomers would probably prefer something a little brighter and zippier.

For such people, help may be at hand. OmniPage Ultimate offers multiple ways of working with data. Rather than firing up the main program, you might instead load LaunchPad. This is an iPad-style front-end with large bright icons.

Selecting these allows you to specify what you want to convert (a magazine article or a spreadsheet, for example), what you want it turned into (a searchable PDF, perhaps, or an ebook file); and then where you’d like it stored.

The interface is cheery and quick – its speed means that it’ll appeal to more than mere OmniPage apprentices - and it even has a few options at the bottom to let you tap into some of OmniPage’s more advanced features.

It’s still no substitute for a main interface that’ll be prepared to guide you by the hand should you feel out of your depth. But as a swift means of firing up jobs, LaunchPad works.  

OmniPage isn’t just aimed at individuals, though, and the DocuDirect segment can sit on an office network, orchestrating jobs and automatically sending them to the right place.

This is particularly useful when there’s a basic scanner attached to the office network – DocuDirect effectively gives the scanner a more sophisticated software interface that allows its capabilities to be controlled more directly.

Indeed, OmniPage’s batch processing is excellent, allowing you to even reschedule a significant workload so that it gets processed at a later, more convenient time.

Cloud access is the slickest we’ve seen on any program, and the Nuance Cloud Connector lets you drag files to and from ‘the cloud’ as easily as though you were copying them to another drive on the computer. Conversion of files is seamless, making documents ready to use in another service.

Ultimate has increased support for ebooks, and you can turn documents into ePubs for use on a variety of ebook readers, including the Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader and the iPad. (Note that ePub files won’t work on Amazon Kindles, however.)

OmniPage is now better able to scan from camera images, and where there’s text in the image, it does a very reasonable job of converting it.

We didn’t detect the 25% performance increase stated by Nuance, but the software is definitely more comfortable with camera shots. The software can also read out documents, or turn them into MP3 speech files. This is an interesting idea, and the accuracy of the spoken text itself is pretty good.

The feature does tend to simply read from left to right, so columns and tables can prove problematic. Nonetheless, if you need documents dictated to you (through an MP3 player, for instance), it’s a fast and relatively easy solution.

OmniPage has long been renowned for the accuracy of its text recognition, and the latest version can do little to bolster an area that it already excelled in.

Whether dealing with tricky pages of dictionary entries, or pages with multiple footnotes, the program passed our tests with flying colours.

Conversion of PDF files to searchable versions has been enhanced with the use of eDiscovery, a method of looking more closely at files to determine what needs to be turned into text and what should be left unconverted. It’s relatively fast too, as it was in OmniPage 18.

Nuance OmniPage Ultimate Expert Verdict »
Microsoft Windows XP/7/8
2.7GB drive space for everything
1GB RAM (2GB recommended)
1GHz Intel Pentium
2Mp digital camera with auto-focus needed for camera capture
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 6 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

OmniPage is a powerful package for serious users. We’d like to see an alternative interface more attuned to the relatively inexperienced. For power users, though, OmniPage is now better than ever, and is quite probably the best OCR package on the market. Its many strengths include its cloud features and the DocuDirect program. Ultimate isn’t as expensive as OmniPage 18 was on its release, but we would still like to see it improve on the £170 price tag. Some compensation may come from the inclusion of file organiser PaperPort Professional 14 (selling for around £80) and PDF Create. Nonetheless, those who just want OmniPage itself may want to wait for the price to drop to make it become a truly compelling choice.

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