How to Turn a Scanned Doc into a Microsoft Word Doc

616935 How to Turn a Scanned Doc into a Microsoft Word Doc

Scanning documents is a great way to create digital copies for archiving or sharing. However, often the resulting scanned PDF or image file is not editable. To be able to copy, edit, reformat, or reuse the text from a scanned document, you need to use optical character recognition (OCR) to convert the scan into an editable Word document.

In this step-by-step guide, I will show you three easy methods to turn your scanned document into a fully editable Microsoft Word file on both Windows and Mac devices.

Method 1: Use Microsoft Office Document Imaging (Windows Only)

Microsoft Office Document Imaging is a free scanning and OCR tool included in some versions of Microsoft Office. Here is how to use it:

Step 1: Scan the Document

Use your scanner to create a digital scan of the document. Make sure to choose a high resolution and straight scan for best OCR accuracy. Save the scanned file as an image such as JPG, PNG, or TIFF.

Step 2: Open Microsoft Document Imaging

Search for “Microsoft Office Document Imaging” on your Windows computer. Open the scanned image file in Document Imaging.

Step 3: Copy and Paste into Word

With the image file open in Microsoft Document Imaging, press Ctrl+A to select everything. Then press Ctrl+C to copy it. Open a new blank Word document and press Ctrl+V to paste the contents. This will run OCR and convert the scanned image into editable text.

Step 4: Edit and Save as Word Document

The OCR conversion may not be 100% accurate. Review the pasted text in Word, correct any errors, and edit or format as needed. Finally, save as a Word document for future editing.

Method 2: Use Microsoft OneNote (Windows, Mac, Mobile)

OneNote has a built-in OCR function that lets you scan documents directly into an editable Word file.

Step 1: Scan Document with OneNote App

On your mobile device, open the OneNote app and select the “Documents” option. Take a clear photo of the document you want to scan and let OneNote crop and enhance it automatically.

Step 2: Export Scanned File to Word

In OneNote, tap the document image and select “Export”. Choose Word as the export format. On Windows or Mac, right click the inserted image instead and choose “Copy Text from Picture”.

Step 3: Paste into Word and Edit

Open a blank Word document. Paste the contents extracted from the OneNote image and edit as needed. The OCR conversion may not be 100% accurate, so review and correct any errors.

Method 3: Use Free Online OCR Tools

If you don’t have access to Microsoft’s built-in OCR tools, there are many free online OCR converter sites you can use:

Step 1: Upload Scanned Image

Go to a site like PDF2Go, SmallPDF, or FreeOCR. Upload your scanned image or PDF document.

Step 2: Run OCR Process

The website will automatically run OCR on your uploaded scan and extract the text. Wait for the process to complete.

Step 3: Download Converted File

When the OCR processing finishes, download the extracted text as a Word document. Review and edit as needed to correct any recognition errors.

Tips for Best Results

Follow these tips when scanning documents to get the most accurate OCR results:

  • Scan documents at 300 dpi or higher resolution
  • Use black and white mode instead of grayscale or color
  • Make sure the scan is straight and centered
  • Scan typewritten or high quality printed pages
  • Avoid scanning handwritten documents
  • Select the correct OCR language for non-English text

With a properly scanned document and a good OCR tool like those covered above, you can easily convert paper scans into editable and reusable Word files. The editable Word documents can then be used for a variety of purposes from copying text snippets to completely revising and reformatting the contents.

Converting Scans into Searchable PDFs

In addition to converting scans into Word docs, you may also want to turn your scanned images into searchable PDF files.

Searchable PDFs preserve the original formatting of the document while still allowing you to select, copy, and search the text contents. Here are two easy ways to make scanned image PDFs searchable on both Windows and Mac:

Use Microsoft OneNote (Windows, Mac, Mobile)

Microsoft OneNote, covered above, can OCR scans and export them as searchable PDFs:

  1. Import your scan into OneNote using the mobile app or desktop program.
  2. Right click the inserted image and select “Copy Text from Picture” to run OCR.
  3. Right click again and choose “Export”.
  4. Export as PDF format. The exported PDF will contain searchable and selectable text.

Use Adobe Acrobat (Windows, Mac)

Adobe Acrobat Pro has excellent built-in OCR capabilities:

  1. Open your scanned image PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Click on the “Text Recognition” option in the right pane.
  3. Acrobat will automatically OCR the scan and make the text searchable.
  4. Save the changes to retain the searchable text.

Following these sets of instructions, you can easily convert paper scans and images into editable Word docs or searchable PDF files. This allows you to reuse and work with the text from scanned physical documents in your digital workflows.

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