Review: Word Scan offers OCR support for your iPhone, though with some caveats | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Review: Word Scan offers OCR support for your iPhone, though with some caveats

Scan documents and signs to transcribe them into your iPhone.

Word Scan is an OCR scanning tool for your iPhone that allows you take photos of signs or documents and transcribe them into traditional text for copying and pasting. The tool is well created and works seamlessly so that you can quickly take photos, scan them, and copy/paste the text; but like most OCR tools, there are issues with accuracy that can slow down or even completely undermine the usefulness of the app.

After installing and opening Word Scan, your first task is to take a photo. The app doesn't guide you in this but there are few options to choose from so finding the button to take a new image is fairly quick and easy. Tap the big plus button, take your photo, and it will start to scan the image for text. It goes through three or four passes, taking about five seconds total to scan it before giving you the text. This is where problems can crop up because even with solid lighting and perfect steadiness, the OCR may not get all of the text accurately. Contrast is important, too, so colored text or grayed paper can be hard to read.

Nonetheless, the OCR tool here is a great product of technology. It works quickly, the text is about 75 percent accurate in our tests (more so with high lighting directly on the paper and careful retakes of images) and the interface is smooth and easy to use. While this won't serve as a permanent scanning tool or a replacement for desktop OCR software, it can work well as a starter for mobile OCR operations.

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