How to Get Free Text Recognition (OCR) For Documents That Matter

30 January 2022 by UV eDiscovery OCR

Takeaway: Repurpose GoldFynch’s inbuilt OCR tool for free text extraction from priority documents. You’ll get 512 MB of free storage space for files that need to be OCR’d, and you can add/delete files indefinitely, at no extra cost. And for more storage, you can upgrade to a paid plan with an all-inclusive subscription fee starting at $10 a month.

Optical character recognition (OCR) dramatically speeds up eDiscovery.

To a computer, a scanned document isn’t really a text file. Instead, it’s a digital photograph of the original text. To make that text ‘searchable’ (i.e., where you can search it for keywords, names, dates, etc.), you’ll need to convert it into a computer-readable form. One option would be to re-type (and reformat) the original document. But this isn’t practical when you’re dealing with tens of thousands of documents over many years. That’s where optical character recognition (OCR) comes in. It’ll use smart algorithms to process pages of scanned material (from PDFs, JPEGs, etc.), and convert them into computer-friendly text.

The thing is that OCR can get very expensive – much more expensive than the price you see up front.

Buying and using quality OCR is expensive. You’d first need to license the software, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on how much data you’ll be licensing for. Next, you’ll need to buy/rent the right hardware, hire a consultant to set it up (e.g., develop templates based on the document types you work with), and pay for someone to manage/service your new setup. Finally, if the software isn’t accurate enough, you’ll need a revision team to fix the errors. The result? After just 4 years of using the software, you would have paid up to 20 times its market price.

But there’s an affordable solution: Use pay-per-use software that offers inbuilt OCR.

We’ve seen how in-house OCR costs a lot to set up, run, and maintain. Instead, if you use Cloud-based OCR, someone else runs the software, and you’ll access it via the internet. So, it’s a pay-per-use business model that gets rid of all the collateral costs. Here’s where applications like GoldFynch can help. GoldFynch was originally designed for eDiscovery, so it has inbuilt OCR designed for high-value documents that you can’t afford to mess around with.

You can use GoldFynch’s OCR tool in 3 quick steps.

Here’s how to use GoldFynch’s OCR tool:

  1. Log into GoldFynch. Since it runs in the Cloud, you won’t have to download or install the software. Just go to the GoldFynch signup page, finish the quick signup process via your email address (no credit card info needed), and get instant access to GoldFynch.
  2. Drag-and-drop files into GoldFynch. To upload files to GoldFynch, simply drag and drop them into your web browser. GoldFynch will take things from there. It’ll automatically extract text from your scanned PDFs, JPEGs, etc., and you’ll be able to find keywords using GoldFynch’s search engine.
  3. Review the extracted text. Go through your documents page by page, or use GoldFynch’s convenient dashboard to overview your files. You’ll be able to see things like how many documents you’ve uploaded, the proportions of different file types (e.g., PDFs vs. JPEGs vs. TIFFs), how much space they take up, any processing errors you should review, the various file families in your case, etc.

The best part? You can use the tool for free.

With GoldFynch, you get 512 MB of free online storage. So, you’ll be able to upload and OCR 512 MB of data immediately. Now, if you need OCR for larger data volumes, you have two options. You could delete some of your old files to make place for the new ones. (This means the service stays free.) Or, if you don’t want to delete files, you could upgrade your storage by paying an affordable, all-inclusive monthly fee. (Prices start at just $10 for 1 GB of storage.)

Also, GoldFynch bypasses some of the usual pay-per-use problems.

GoldFynch streamlines OCR so you can bypass annoying sales and marketing calls. You can see GoldFynch’s prices up front, which means you won’t need to contact vendors for quotes or demos. And unlike outsourcing OCR, you won’t have to wait weeks for vendors to process your data.

And GoldFynch is accurate, too. It handles all the OCR heavy-lifting behind the scenes to give you consistently reliable text extraction.

The OCR process gets quite complicated. Your software has to convert the scanned ‘digital photo’ of your text into a bitmap image – i.e., a grid of dots and spaces that recreate the scanned page. And then it translates those dots/spaces into ASCII text – i.e., a text format that computers can read. Obviously, there’s a lot of translation and character matching to this, so unless the OCR algorithm is just right, you’ll get many mistakes. That’s why GoldFynch is designed to minimize these sorts of translation errors, giving you consistently accurate OCR.

Also, remember that GoldFynch is about more than OCR. It has a suite of other tools to help speed up eDiscovery.

GoldFynch is a complete eDiscovery solution, which means it has more than an OCR tool. For example, it has a powerful search engine that can pull up hard-to-find files and keywords. You can then tag similar documents, redact sensitive information, and leave notes, annotations, and comments for your team. And once you’re done, you’ll be able to produce your files in a range of formats.

There are other reasons you might like GoldFynch, too.

We designed GoldFynch to be the kind of easy-to-use, affordable eDiscovery tool that small and midsize law firms need. Here’s why GoldFynch might interest you:

  • It costs just $10 a month for a 1 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know what you’re paying for exactly – its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (1 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB), without adding a credit card.
  • It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
  • Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.

Want to find out more about GoldFynch?