On OCR

In recent weeks I've been mucking with scanners and OCR and because I have, a question from user idontwannatype in Macworld's OS X forum, caught my eye. Reader Wannatype types:

"I have an iMac with Panther operating and just purchased the Canon LiDE 80 scanner. I also have Omnipage Pro X but cannot get them to talk to each other yet. Does anyone have experience in getting them to work easily together? I scan a lot of multiple page documents and seek an elegant solution."

A quick look through ScanSoft's website reveals the company hasn't exactly lit a fire under its OmniPage Pro X team in recent months. The program was last updated in January 2001 and, I regret to report, its installer isn't hip to Jaguar much less Panther. If you'd like to try to install OmniPage Pro X, you're welcome to try the convoluted installation process outlined in this document.

Once you install the program you may find that it still won't work with the scanner -- after all, a lot has changed in the Mac OS since OmniPage was last updated.

If you can't get it to work, I'd take a look at the competition. That competition currently consists of exactly one program -- IRIS' Readiris Pro 9. I've tested it under Panther and it works. Like other OCR applications, it requires a fair bit of fiddling to correctly recognize a document, but if you've got the time, it's up to the job.

  
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