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Introduction to OCR and Searchable PDFs

Learn OCR best practices and how to begin an OCR project using ABBYY FineReader, Adobe Acrobat Pro, or Tesseract with this guide.

How and Where to Get Access to ABBYY

The Scholarly Commons (Room 306, Main Library)

  • You may access ABBYY FineReader at any time during open hours in the Scholarly Commons: Library Hours

Information about purchasing ABBYY FineReader 12

On your own

Buying the software:

The software is not available from the University of Illinois WebStore. The standard packeage of ABBYY FineReader software is available online from the developer for $199 at


System requirements for PC:

  • Microsoft® Windows® 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 or Microsoft Windows Server® 2016 / 2012 / 2012 R2 / 2008 R2 
  • For working with localized interfaces corresponding language support is required
  • PC with 1 GHz (or faster) x86 or x64 processor with SSE2 instruction set
  • 1 GB of RAM (4 GB is recommended); in multiprocessor systems, an additional 512 MB of RAM is required for each additional processor
  • 1.2 GB of hard disk space for typical program installation and 1.2 GB free space for optimal 
 program operation
  • Video card with 1024x768 resolution or higher
  • An Internet connection is required to activate your serial number.
  • Keyboard, mouse or other pointing device

System requirements for Mac:

  • ABBYY store - macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS 10.14 Mojave, macOS 10.13 High Sierra, macOS 10.12 Sierra
  • Apple Store - macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS 10.14 Mojave, macOS 10.13 High Sierra, macOS 10.12 Sierra
  • A Mac computer with Intel Processor
  • Hard disk space: 1.5GB for typical program installation and additional 1GB for program operation
  • Keyboard, mouse or other pointing device
  • Supported with Image Capture application (ICA) scanners and MFPs (see list on the Apple website) cameras and smartphones

Any unique hardware requirements or mandatory accessories:

You must have a scanner of high enough-quality to capture the details needed for OCR. The ABBYY website lists scanners that have been tested for use with the software.

Using it in a lab:

This software is currently not available for use in any University of Illinois all-purpose computer labs, but is available for use in the Scholarly Commons.


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