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mj_

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2017
1,240
809
Austin, TX
I have to regularly (~2-3x per month) scan documents and save them to my Dropbox or Documents folder. These documents range from simple black/white receipts to invoices in color, vehicle inspection reports or letters sent by various government agencies. Three features are of major importance to me: a great OCR text recognition, automatic deskew and orientation (landscape/portrait), and manual duplex scanning.

So far I have used Acrobat Pro 9.5.5 for this purpose. Unfortunately, it is no longer supported on macOS Catalina, and I am forced to look for an alternative. I've considered purchasing Acrobat Pro 2015, 2017 or DC but am somewhat unwillig to pay $450 for a perpetual license or $15 per month for a subscription given that my requirements do not justify spending that much money. I've also looked at various alternatives sold through Apple's Mac App Store. PDFScanner does everything I need, at least on paper. Unfortunately, its OCR detection rate is abysmal and it not only recognizes less than half the text on a well-readable document but also misreads what little text it attempts to recognize. PDFelement 6 Pro fails to scan using my Brother DCP-L2540DW scanner (Failed to open a session on the device (-9921)). PDF Reader Pro has pretty decent OCR functionality that is very close to Acrobat Pro, however the workflow required to produce a single searchable multi-page PDF file is as crackbrained as can be, and the resulting PDF files are ginormous (4MB per page instead of ~200-500KB). I would also like to avoid dedicated OCR applications since that would require a multi-step process (first scan, then OCR, then export to new PDF, then delete initial PDF).

Any suggestions?
 

maverick28

macrumors 6502a
Mar 14, 2014
513
274
If you want decent quality you are bound to look for standalone applications. I use FineReader and find it pretty solid. It's easy to use, it's capable of recognizing virtually every language, including formal ones.
 
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bernuli

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2011
648
358
I paid for 2015 and 2017. Did not like either compared to what I had been using, Adobe Acrobat Pro 11.0.23. 2015 and 2017 were worse at OCR while producing larger file size PDFs. Also, Apple Script was completely broken in 2015 and 2017 so my workflow was compromised. Combine this with a dumbed down interface that did not work for me, I gave up.

I went with VueScan which is a better investment I think in the long run.

VueScan is faster for me as I can scan the entire flatbed once, then crop and save a PDF file with OCR. Whereas with Acrobat 11 2015 and 2017 it was always a preview scan first, then crop and recan. So less time with VueScan.

https://www.hamrick.com/
 
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mj_

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2017
1,240
809
Austin, TX
Thank you @bernuli, I absolutely agree. Since I'm already paying for Photoshop & Lightroom I decided to download and install the Acrobat Professional DC trial to give it a go, and the results were abysmal. The user interface looks like it's been designed by and for teletubbies on LSD and OCR is less accurate and much worse than with the ten year old Acrobat Professional 9. I have no idea how they did that but scanning the exact same document with Acrobat 9 and Acrobat DC was like night and day. Most of the text did not get recognized with DC whereas 9 had no isses whatsoever. Like you said the resulting PDFs were also much larger than with the older version. In all fairness it did offer some features that version 9 does not yet have, such as automatically allowing me to edit recognized text.

However, since every alternative I looked at, including VueScan, FineReader, and many others, offered worse OCR than the ancient Acrobat 9 I have decided to run my Windows Version of Acrobat Professional 9 (I own CS4 for Windows and macOS) in a Windows VM on my Mac whenever I need it for the time being. It's a bit of a hassle but gives me the best results and usability.
 
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bernuli

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2011
648
358
Yeah I was SO disappointed with every acrobat pro after 9. I pad the 500 bucks and was excited to install 2015 thinking I was “upgrading”. And it was a letdown. Then I upgraded to 2017 and again, worse than 9.

Good idea on the VM. I might do that as well and keep V9 in service. Prob a good idea to keep consistent with my current lot of PDFs.




Thank you @bernuli, I absolutely agree. Since I'm already paying for Photoshop & Lightroom I decided to download and install the Acrobat Professional DC trial to give it a go, and the results were abysmal. The user interface looks like it's been designed by and for teletubbies on LSD and OCR is less accurate and much worse than with the ten year old Acrobat Professional 9. I have no idea how they did that but scanning the exact same document with Acrobat 9 and Acrobat DC was like night and day. Most of the text did not get recognized with DC whereas 9 had no isses whatsoever. Like you said the resulting PDFs were also much larger than with the older version. In all fairness it did offer some features that version 9 does not yet have, such as automatically allowing me to edit recognized text.

However, since every alternative I looked at, including VueScan, FineReader, and many others, offered worse OCR than the ancient Acrobat 9 I have decided to run my Windows Version of Acrobat Professional 9 (I own CS4 for Windows and macOS) in a Windows VM on my Mac whenever I need it for the time being. It's a bit of a hassle but gives me the best results and usability.
 
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mj_

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2017
1,240
809
Austin, TX
While it looks interesting it is not at all what I am looking for ;)
Neat technology though.
 
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