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Online OCR for PDFs, Microsoft Office Files, and Images

by Hung Nguyen

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Italian and Portuguese.

The Smallpdf online OCR converter can help you convert and process various file types to an editable document.

There are many instances where you may receive a file that you cannot edit—scanned versions of paper documents, raw images, digital screenshots, and so on.

In such cases, you can use our OCR tool to extract the content from your digital document to an editable file, either PDF or one of the many Microsoft formats.

How to Use the Smallpdf Online OCR Tool

  1. Open the online OCR tool. 🛠

  2. Drag your file into the drop area. 🗂

  3. Choose the output format. 👉

  4. Opt for the option to ‘convert with OCR.’ 👉

  5. Choose the document language. 🗣

  6. Wait for the software to process your file. ⏳

  7. Download the editable document. 💻


How to use Smallpdf to run OCR and extract content from your files into an editable document.

Which Formats Are Available?


We currently can accept the following types of files as input:

  • PDF

  • Word

  • PPT

  • Excel

  • JPG

  • BMP

  • GIF

  • TIFF

If you have, let’s say, a PDF file that you wish to convert to an editable text-based document—upload the PDF to the online OCR, click ‘Word,’ choose to use OCR, and transform your file.

If you want to have the file as a PDF, in a condition that allows you to copy and analyze the content, you can head back to the tool, upload the new Word document, and save it back to PDF format.

Similarly, once you convert a scanned document to PDF document, you can use the tool again to convert it to other formats where you can edit the content, e.g., a PPT presentation or Excel spreadsheet. It’s up to how you want to format the data within each document.

Moreover, feel free to run our OCR software over images. Screenshots are common files to get passed around—and senders usually do not think of how the recipient can use such documents. For example, once you convert a PNG screenshot to PDF, you can even convert it to Excel format, if you require to add further data entry to the document.

Free Online Optical Character Recognition


The standard conversion of document formats is free for anyone to use. For the OCR technology, you can sign up for a two-week trial of Smallpdf Pro, which will grant you instant access to this tool.

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and describes the process where we translate character images from your uploaded file into machine-encoded text. By doing so, we can even recognize text and extract typed handwritten or printed content from physical journals into an editable digital document.

As the most popular PDF software, we want to enable access to OCR online for anyone that requires this technology. Depending on your flow, you can pick one of 11 available languages, which will help us understand your files’ content better and perfect the accuracy of the conversion process.

Once you use our free online OCR to convert images to PDF or extract text from scanned PDF to another format—remember to check out our suite of 20 other online tools. We can merge image files for you, electronically sign PDF contracts, and shrink files into smaller sizes—for ease of sharing.

Hung Nguyen
Hung Nguyen
Senior Growth Marketing Manager @Smallpdf