computer scanning

Anyone with any computer knowledge can you answer this question?

Is it possible to scan in a document and have that scan be turned into a word processing file? I have to complete an extensive application and I would really like to find a way to put it into a word processing program before I begin rather than just using a typewriter.


With your scanner you should have got some form of OCR software (Optical Character Recognition)

If not do a search on google something like “free OCR software”
Now I am going to post this and see how many people posted before me.

Will it be handwritten BTW?

Textbridge came free with my scanner. It works.

lobsang, it will not be handwritten. It specifically can’t be handwritten which is why I have two options: use a typewriter or find some way to get it into a word document. The file I’m trying to get is actually available online but it comes onto my computer as a PDF through Adobe Acrobat.
My best suggestion thus far has been to insert it as a picture file into either Word or Powerpoint and try to type over that. While that does technically work, it would also be extremely cumbersome and it loses a bit of its sharpness from the original as it’s two removed from it.

Your suggestion of Gogling OCR is interesting and I’m looking into it. I’ve heard, however, that even the best of them can transpose letters or not work properly. I can only imagine how top of the line a free version would be in this regard.

Thanks for the suggestion though. I’m going to go look at it now.

Do you want the exact position of everything to match?

I thought OCR was quite good these days, reproducing not only the text but the appearance of a scanned document. Even if there are errors, I’d imagine correcting them would take considerably less time than typing it in manually.

I am a bit confused that you mention using a typewriter. Can’t you type it into a wordprocessor manually6?

Yes, it’s very much possible.

I’ve found Abbyy FineReader Pro to be very effective:

And here’s exactly what you’re looking for:

Scan the form in. Fill it up. Print it out or email it.

Form Pilot is a form fill software. You will be able to fill forms on your computer instead of using a typewriter. You may use preprinted or blank paper forms.

That was my first reaction (and I composed a reply about copying and pasting the text from the PDF file, but interrupted the “submit” - it may still show up in this thread, alas!), but then I realized that he’s referring to a form, with boxes to be filled in, which is a very messy proposition.

Trying to get a WP program to print out the answers in exactly the right places so that you could print onto the form would be almost impossible. And simply copying and pasting from a PDF won’t preserve the “form” aspects of it (you can drag in the text that way, but not the boxes, the positioning, etc.).

I’m not sure most “came with the scanner” OCR programs would do a creditable job with it, either, but I haven’t used one in a while, so maybe the newer versions are more “form-savvy.”

Sounds like xash has the best solution so far.

Hell, if faced with this problem myself, I’d be hard-pressed to find a typewriter to use to fill in the silly form. I can’t remember the last time I saw a typewriter!

Enderw24, if it’s already in the .pdf format it’s probably possible to fill it in directly using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The Adobe Acrobat Reader allows you to fill in and print .pdf forms from your computer. The full version of Adobe Acrobat allows you to fill, print, save and email .pdf forms.

Try this form for an example of a.pdf application form that can be filled in directly using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader:

When you click in the text areas in the above form you’ll notice that you can type in the answers.

If you have time you can email me a link to the form you’re trying to fill and I’ll let you know if you can fill it directly on your computer.

Ahhh it makes sense now!! The using the typewriter to type on the printed out document.

I thought the OP meant reproducing the document using a typewriter.

Early Out yes, that’s exactly it. Sorry if I wasn’t clear beforehand. I have an application that requires the form itself to be intact but I don’t actually need to type the form, just its answers.

xash, that’s an interesting second website. The guy looks like he’s secretly feeding his babysitter’s body into a shreader in one of the middle panels. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a lazer beam shooting right out of his eyes onto the computer on the next panel.

Well, that depends upon how the PDF was created. Forms you download from the IRS, for example, do allow you to fill them in and print them (but not save them once you’ve filled them in, annoyingly!). But I’ve seen lots of PDF forms that weren’t created in such a way that you can “fill in the blanks” (probably created by people who don’t really understand what they’re doing, alas).

If you’ve got one of the PDFs that will let you fill it in, it’s immediately obvious - open the form, and try to click on one of the fill-in boxes. If it’s a PDF that will allow data entry, you’ll be able to type in the box - if not, you won’t.