Free Giveaway – ABBYY Screenshot reader performs on-screen Optical Character Recognition


Ever wanted to edit or use some on-screen text from a PDF or any other source, only to find that for whatever reason you couldn’t do it? (say, the text was in fact an image, or the clipboard was disabled, or whatever reason).

If so, then check out AABBYY Screenshot reader, a nifty screenshot-to-text OCR conversion tool that is available for free for a limited time through the Christmas season.

This software lets you take a screenshot of anything on your screen, converts the screenshot to text, and then sends it as editable text to the clipboard, text editor, or the MS Office application of your choice. Supports multiple languages.

This program is very nicely done and can be extremely useful at those times where you have something staring in the face but refusing to be appropriated as text.


  • It is perfectly suited for the occaisional ad-hoc application of OCR (Optical Character Recognition).
  • Supports multiple languages: a ‘whopping’ number of them, in fact. Including languages wit non English characters.
  • Recognition quality: is excellent
  • Can take it’s own screenshots: even delayed-time screenshots
  • Can handle tables: both as input and output to Excel


  • Huge download (~155 megs); not sure why that is
  • The screenshot engine desperately needs a magnifying function.

The verdict: a very  nice program overall. If you need more extensive OCR for more than the occasional snapshot check out Freewaregenius’ previously published article: “How to extract text from images: a comparison of 10 free OCR tools”.

Note that the program will require online registration with a valid email address.

[Thanks to reader Panzer for the tip about this program]

Go to this page to download (~155 megs).

  • Weiting Ni

    I have been using JOCR for capturing text from images. it is a little program that can capture an image from any part of the desktop and perform ocr. It is free but requires that Microsoft Office 2003 or higher be installed.

  • Hi,

    Good find. I have been using this program for about 2-3 years, especially for fair use pics on google books and .. many other places as well.

    This program is a gem. At the normal price of about $10 it was an incredible value, As a free program, so much the better. We have discussed it a bit on Donationcoder.

    Why a big download ? I will conjecture that any good OCR engine is going to be rather involved. After all, it is not a trivial enterprise to do a good job reading a picture for text and doing a conversion. The program works with no lag at all on my XP system, it might take five seconds to convert a significant text section. Of course, weird fonts from old books, small footnotes, and such will not give the same results as text more normal.


  • Doug A

    I’ve also been a long time user of this program after getting it free with purchase of some of their other products. Abbyy’s OCR engine is one of the best out there, and I can highly recommend their products. I went to the buy now section of their website, though, and the price of this product alone is now $29.99, which I find a little steep. So, take advantage of the free offer!

    • Yco

      Hello, gents,

      I just found this page. There is no option to download Abbyy Screenshot Reader for free, anymore. Could you send me link for its free downloading? Thank you.

  • Nathan

    It’s a shame their is no mac version 🙁 that is why I developed my own piece of software called “Screenshot to Speech”. It not only extracts text for you to copy, it can also read it to you using text-to-speech technology. You can find it in the Mac App Store.