ReadIris Pro V12 

With most All In One or Multi Function units coming with bundled OCR software, is there still a place for a standalone suite not tied to a scanner. For any user who takes time to train for near perfect results the answer is yes.

This is in fact more than just ReadIris as it has other items included the most useful is likely to be CardIris that can scan, read and store information from business cards.

I installed everything and ten minutes and three installations later I was 2100MB of hard disc space down. Assuming you want it to scan in English you have to install English USA but I was relieved to find internally there is a setting for English UK as without this it would be close to useless as so many words are spelt differently.

When you open ReadIris 12 the first screen you get is the option where you choose where you want to scan to. The choices are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Open Office or an E-Mail. There are also two archive options XPS and PDF. Once inside there are other options such as WordPerfect and even WordPad.

Then you get a screen offering more than 250 scanners – it is intelligent enough to know which you have installed – and highlights it.

One of my first tests was to give it a .TIF file already scanned as an image. To make like harder I had scanned the page upside down and while it was read in this way almost before you could focus it had turned it the correct way and outlined all the paragraphs.

Press the OCR button at the top left of the window and after checking a few facts with you it is OCR’d and my one page document became editable text in just a few seconds. Best of all the formatting and layout remained, often with the cut down OCR software provided with scanners or All In One units you just end up with a long string of sentences. You even keep paragraphs if you choose to OCR to an application in RTF format such as WordPad.

One of my more interesting tests is with a page laid out with graphics beside the text and this worked well even in the RTF format where of course you just got the text paragraphs.

In total I gave it around twenty different documents some scanned and some were already saved documents. I could not find a single error even with less common items such as ½ © ® and the € symbol to give just some examples that often fool the cut down products.

Of course should you find a character that does give problems you can teach it. However in all my tests the OCR action was just a matter of seconds as against far longer periods with the various cut down versions.

As with almost all products nowadays there is a ‘Wizard’ that can be accessed from the front menu or even be set to open on startup.  This does a very good job and unless you are sure you know better then let it do its thing you can always compare by doing it yourself just to see which gives the better results but with standard scanning it is unlikely that you will outperform it.

While this review is about ReadIris in the package is a very nice product called CardIris that scans your business cards and while it is not foolproof the likehood is that it will be more accurate than you will be transferring information by hand. The version provided is CardIris4LE (limited Edition) but it could save lots of frustration for anyone who is not a perfect typist. The only real problem is with the hundreds of different ways that business cards are laid out and not with the OCR.

Doing my Internet searches found ReadIris 12 Professional at a best price of £74.99 from the first link below and this includes free delivery.

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Comment by Robert Jeffries, 2 June 2010 20:55

What a gifted author.

Thank you

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