[Athen] Scan to Readable PDF Question

Sean J Keegan skeegan at stanford.edu
Fri Sep 21 15:11:51 PDT 2012

> He has asked me about scanners that scan text directly into
> readable PDFs. Does anybody know if this exists? Does Zoom
> Text have OCR built into its code?

Have you looked at any of the Canon Canoscan LiDE scanners? Based on the
documentation, I believe you can "scan to PDF" which will do some OCR
during the processing (the OCR happens on the user's computer). See:

Brother also makes a desktop model that offers OCR functionality:

That being said, most people I encounter prefer to purchase a scanner
and then purchase a separate OCR program to support the conversion
process. In part, the OCR application that comes bundled with scanners
is a bit limited and may not offer the best recognition capabilities.

Adobe Acrobat Professional does have some OCR functionality built into
the application. That may be an option as well, although I have
sometimes had issues with the recognition accuracy depending on the PDF.

Does your friend have access to the Internet? If so, one option may be
to obtain a scanner and then submit documents to an online OCR system to
obtain a text-based PDF. One service is called Sensus Access
(http://sensusaccess.com) and the results are returned to your e-mail
inbox (I know the OCR engine is the Abbyy Recognition Server - very high

At this time, the desktop ZoomText application does not have a built in
OCR engine for PDF documents.

Take care,

Sean Keegan
Associate Director, Assistive Technology
Office of Accessible Education - Stanford University

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