Not every document that has been typed out or written has been neatly uploaded to the Internet. Things such as handouts from your teacher or professor may be hard to read physically, or you may be worried about misplacing them despite their importance. Documents from a co-worker or your boss that were given to you physically but also need to be emailed or otherwise handled electronically can also be a huge inconvenience if they cannot simply be scanned, as the text may need to be cited, copied, or pasted. This is where optical character recognition technology comes in.

OCR enables documents that exist physically to be converted into a PDF readable by software such as Adobe Reader or your web browser of choice. Not only that, but you can select text as if you typed out the document then and there yourself! Outside of dedicated software like ABBYY FineReader, OCR is a feature that exists in software such as Evernote and Microsoft Office OneNote.