Stuff you didn’t know you had

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When I switched to Vista, at least one of the pieces of software I used occasionally got fragged, ReadIris OCR.

It was the free one that came with my OfficeJet G85, but hey, it worked quite well for what I needed, when I’ve needed it.

Anyway, it sort of installs under Vista but then complains about not being able to load FMTSAM.DLL and barfs. And they don’t even give you a proper uninstall for that package. Gah!

So after hacking through Borneo the registry and Program Files to remove the aborted ReadIris install, I went looking for OCR packages, and came across a mention of Microsoft Office Document Imaging.

Sure enough, this is a little “Office Tool” that was bundled beginning with Office 2003, so you very well might already have it on your machine.

It does several things, but the most interesting for me (at least right now), is the OCR capability.

Point it at a multi-page TIFF file (yes, it only recognizes TIFF files, and same wacky proprietary MS format), click the “Send to Word” button and presto-chango, you have text from an image (or scan or whatever).

What, you say, you don’t have your stuff in TIFF format?

Load up Word, paste your images in, select Print and choose the Microsoft Document Office Image Writer printer (at least, in Word 2007, not sure about 2003 for this one):

image 

It’ll generate a multi-page TIFF file as the printout of your document, that you can feed directly into Document Imaging.

And the best part, it seems to actually to a decent OCR.

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