The best things in life are free, as the song has it. In software terms, it’s also when they work faultlessly and with minimal labour. Here are two fine examples that came my way recently and which I recommend without hesitation.

Online OCR courtesy of

Online OCR courtesy of

From time to time — possibly rarely — you have a photograph that contains text and you want the text extracted into an editable form so that you can use it elsewhere. Maybe, like me, you no longer have a separate OCR software package installed. If that’s you, then make use of

It couldn’t be simpler:

  1. Upload your image file (15Mb max file size).
  2. Select the language being worked on.
  3. Select what format the output file should be (Word, Excel, plain text).
  4. Hit the Convert button.

You will be provided with your chosen file ready to download and a text field containing the extracted text. I’ve used it several times and it’s been first rate. A time saver. Bravo! Use to convert scanned PDF and images to editable text. Their service is free for 15 pages per hour of single-page input files and images. You will need to register for multi-page PDF file-processing.

Online file conversion from Zamzar

Online file conversion from Zamzar

Zamzar offers a similarly easy service, but this converts files from one format to another. Ring the changes between PDF, Word, Excel, FLAC, DOC/X, MP¾, WAV, JPG, XPS, PNG, DWG, GIF, VOB, EPUB, PPT file formats — and a bewildering array of other formats.

  1. Select your files to be converted.
  2. Choose the format to be output.
  3. Hit the Convert button.

Your converted files will then be instantly available. You will not be disappointed. They are also local to me, just round the corner in Steyning. Bravo once more! Occasional file conversions are free. Regular or bulk processing with email notification and personal inbox management is available with a range of monthly subscription plans. They can handle huge files.