OCR Tools

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Adobe Scan

Adobe is a large multinational computer software company with over 29,000 employees. Its flagship products include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, XD, Acrobat DC, as well as the ubiquitous the Portable Document Format (PDF). Their products are wrapped up and marketed as the Creative Cloud, a subscription-only way of accessing more than 20 desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX, and more.

We are long-standing admirers of Adobe’s products. They develop many high quality proprietary programs. It’s true there are security and privacy concerns in relation to some of their products. And there’s considerable criticism attached to their pricing practices. But the fundamental issue regarding Adobe Creative Cloud is that Linux isn’t a supported platform. And there’s no prospect of support forthcoming.

What if you are looking to move away from Adobe and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not tracked, monetised and attached to Adobe‚Äôs ecosystem. We only recommend free and open source alternatives. Our recommended software don’t necessarily replicate every feature of their Adobe counterparts but they offer sufficient functionality for many tasks.

Adobe Scan provides a portable scanner that recognizes text automatically (OCR) and allows you to save to multiple files formats including PDF and JPEG.

Adobe Scan is proprietary software. We recommend the best free and open source alternatives.


1. gImageReader

gImageReader is a simple Gtk/Qt front-end to Tesseract.

Tesseract is a popular free and open source optical character recognition engine.

gImageReader
Click image for full size

2. NAPS2

NAPS2 is a document scanning application with a focus on simplicity and ease of use. Scan your documents from WIA, TWAIN, SANE, and ESCL scanners, organize the pages as you like, and save them as PDF, TIFF, JPEG, or PNG.

NAPS2 in action
Click image for full size

3. Paperwork

Paperwork is designed to simplify the management of your paperwork. The software lets you scan or import your documents, and quickly find what you want, wrapped together in a GTK interface.

Paperwork


4. Tesseract

Tesseract is an optical character recognition engine originally developed at Hewlett Packard. Besides the OCR engine, the project also provides a command line program.

Tesseract 4 adds a new neural net (LSTM) based OCR engine which is focused on line recognition, but also still supports the legacy Tesseract OCR engine of Tesseract 3 which works by recognizing character patterns.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Adobe's Products
Adobe Acrobat ReaderAcrobat Reader is a multi-platform PDF reader. It lets users view, print, sign and comment on PDF documents.
Adobe After EffectsAfter Effects is digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing software used in the post-production process of film making, video games and television production.
Adobe AnimateAnimate is a multimedia authoring and computer animation. Animate is used to design vector graphics and animation for television series, online animation, websites, web applications, rich web applications, game development, and more.
Adobe AuditionAudition is a digital audio workstation featuring both a multitrack, non-destructive mix/edit environment and a destructive-approach waveform editing view.
Bridge is a creative asset manager that lets you preview, organise, edit and publish multiple creative assets quickly and easily.
Character Animator is software that combines real-time live motion-capture with a multi-track recording system to control layered 2D puppets based on an illustration drawn in Photoshop or Illustrator.
Adobe DimensionDimension is 3D rendering and design software. It's designed to build brand visualizations, illustrations, product mockups and other creative work.
Adobe DreamweaverDreamweaver is a web development tool. It includes a code editor that supports syntax highlighting, code completion, real-time syntax checking, and code introspection for generating code hints to assist the user in writing code.
Fresco is a vector and raster drawing and painting app. It's primarily used for digital painting by artists, illustrators, animators, and sketchers.
Adobe IllustratorIllustrator is a vector graphics editor and design tool. The software lets you create everything from web and mobile graphics to logos, icons, book illustrations, product packaging, and billboards.
Adobe InCopyInCopy is a professional word processor that integrates with InDesign. The software enables editors to write, edit, and design documents.
Adobe InDesignIndesign is a desktop publishing and page layout designing application. The software is used to create posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books and ebooks
Adobe Photoshop LightroomLightroom is a creative image organization and image manipulation. Its main uses include importing/saving, viewing, organizing, tagging, editing, and sharing large numbers of digital images.
Media Encoder is an encoding engine for Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Audition, and Adobe Character Animator.
Adobe PhotoshopPhotoshop is a raster graphics editor with multiple layers, masks, alpha compositing. It edits and composes raster images in multiple layers and supports masks, alpha compositing and several color models.
Adobe Premiere ProPremiere Pro is a timeline-based video editing tool. It is geared towards professional video editing.
Scan provides a portable scanner that recognizes text automatically (OCR) and allows you to save to multiple files formats including PDF and JPEG.
Adobe XDXD is a prototyping tool for user experience and interaction designers. Adobe XD features are used for creating wireframes, prototypes, and screen designs for digital products.
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