I have used plenty of OCR software, mainly those shipped with scanners, but this software provided a more accurate interpretation and made it easy to paste and include pieces of the scanned document into my document. With the default settings, I was able to select and copy black (English) text from salmon-colored paper with minimal corrections.
Used Daily (Never Though I Would)
This app does one very cool thing: It snips anything on your screen and turns it into text that you can paste into another document. The OCR is pretty good, but you have to proofread carefully. I use this all the time for legal work when I receive a PDF that I need to extract a small part of to use elsewhere. I use it almost every day, but I only bought it because it was on sale. I own Adobe Acrobat and could OCR the entire document, but I don’t need all of that. (And Adobe’s OCR is worse and it crashes frequently.) I really never thought Condense would be this useful, but it is. I gave it 4 stars because the OCR makes some error each time I capture something. The directions say to zoom in and make the words bigger before clipping to improve OCR. I should try that more often. Watch Apple make this ability part of Preview some day (if the get the rest of Preview 8.0 working first).
Works far better than you’d expect
I’m amazed at the negative reviews of this app, which are apparently from people who haven’t taken the time to explore its capabilities. Like any tool, it takes time to learn how to use it properly, and to recognize its limitations. These limitations are not the fault of the developer; they are inherent in the screen and formatting. Here’s some tips: - When I OCR a page on my ScanSnap scanner, I do so at 200 PPI or more, and OCR works almost perfectly. My iMac’s screen has a resolution of 109 PPI, and Condense STILL works quite well. Objectively, this is surprising. It is a credit to the developer that it works at all! - The new Retina iMac is 218 PPI. That’s four times the area resolution! Obviously this app works best with a Retina display, since the fonts are more crisply defined. (A 13-inch MacBook Pro is even better, at 227 PPI). - The OCR engine gets confused by underlined text, as are used in many links. Makes sense - the underline runs into the font’s descenders. There’s not much the developer can do about that. Cut him some slack. - Serif fonts seem to work a bit better than Sans Serif. Of course, you seldom have any option when OCRing text… - Like with any scanner, the smaller the font, the poorer the OCR. But on a Mac, one can generally expand the text quite easily. Use Command + in Safari, or just use the Reader function. The OCR will improve significantly. Finally, don’t ignore the multi-language capabilities. My wife is a super-knitter and often uses German or Japanese patterns. Being able to OCR some of the instructions and use Google Translate to read them is very cool. Wonder if she’s interested in my getting a Retina iMac - purely for her patterns, of course…
Worked for me
I had a bunch of images of text from the CRT of an ancient IBM PC that I shot on my cellphone. I had tried several OCR-capable programs, including even PDFPen, but no luck. Luckily I saw David Sparks’ review of this program, and with more hope than expectation, I gave it a shot. I’m glad I did. Watch the video at condenseapp.com to figure out how to rotate the text — that part of the UI wasn’t intuitive.
When we think we have discovered and invented everything to facilitate our daily tasks, I found this amazing application. Congratulations on creativity and for facilitating part of my tasks.