Note: The quality of the OCR conversion process will largely depend on the quality of the scanned image and the clarity of the characters of that image.
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The conversion process from scanned PDF to .doc should happen almost immediately. However, the conversion process may vary depending upon such factors as: (1) the size of the PDF and (2) the number of other conversions in queue. For an average size file, the conversion should be completed in just a few minutes.
No, they are not. PDF documents can be created in a variety of ways. The 2 main methods you will commonly come across are PDFs created by an electronic source and PDFs created by scanning in paper documents. This results in a “native” PDF and a “scanned” PDF, respectively. This is important because the way a PDF is created has an impact on how you can interact with the PDF content later on.
As noted above, there is more than one way to create a PDF document. You can create PDFs from an electronic source. These are known as "native" PDFs and are generated from digital file formats, such as an MS Word document, a computer generated report, or an MS Excel spreadsheet. They have an internal structure that can be read and interpreted. These "generated" PDF documents already contain characters that have an electronic character designation. As such, conversion from such a PDF can rely on these electronic character designations and provide reliable output.
PDF documents can also be created by scanning a paper document into an electronic format. This is done by using a scanner, or similar machine, that takes an image of a document and then stores this image as an electronic PDF file. What a “scanned” or “image” PDF document represents is really just a “picture” of the words contained within that document. A scanner, or photocopier with scanning capabilities, does not recreate each character of every word when it creates this scanned image, rather, it simply takes a “snap-shot” of the image. This snap-shot is then turned into a PDF document by software that integrates with the scanner or photocopier – the result is a “scanned” PDF document.
The text of a scanned PDF cannot be edited or searched. In order to edit a scanned PDF document, Optical Character Recognition software is required to electronically identify each character on a page and then convert it into a useable format. Essentially, what it does is extract text from an image.
There are a few ways to visually distinguish which type of PDF file you have.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a visual recognition process that turns printed or written text into an electronic character-based file. In order to convert a scanned document into an editable format, OCR software is required to analyze the “image” of each scanned in character and match it to an electronic character-based file.
A document that is scanned and converted into a PDF document provides the basis for which character recognition software may interpret each character image on the PDF and assign it an electonic character-based file that can then be entered into an editable format, such as a Text or Word document.
There are issues that can affect the quality of the OCR output, such as poor image quality of the scanned document, a mixture of fonts used in the scanned documents, the italicized and underlining of fonts, all of which can blur the quality and shape of the individual characters. Because of this, it is much more difficult to ensure that the character that is “recognized” by the OCR software is the character on the scanned document.
There are a variety of scan to PDF software on the market today that can assist with this. If you’re looking to convert to formats other than word, a program like Able2Extract Professional v.10.0 can help. It contains advanced OCR technology which is used to accurately extract the information in scanned PDFs.
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