Free ABBYY Screenshot Reader!

Software Description

The following is a description of ABBYY Screenshot Reader, as per the developer:

Create your own “snapshots” of images and texts from opened documents, file menus, Web pages, presentations, or PDF files with just several clicks.

ABBYY Screenshot Reader creates copies of images which you can easily cut and paste from your clipboard to Microsoft® Word, Excel®, PowerPoint® or graphic files. You can use Screenshot Reader to select and copy pieces of text from images, flash files, PDFs, and other image-based files, and convert them into true text which you can edit or insert into another document.

Capture Image Screenshots

  • Capture a part of the screen and save or share
  • Send a screenshot of an error message
  • Insert a screen image in a presentation, report etc
  • Use screenshots to compile instructions and guides

Turn Screenshots into Editable Texts

  • Insert information into a report
  • Easily print driving directions
  • Save lists from a website into an Excel file
  • Cut out a piece of text from a graphic file

Support of multiple languages

  • 15 interface languages, including Chinese, Brazilian, Portuguese, Japanese
  • Extracts text in 179 languages
  • Converts texts of the main modern character sets – Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Chinese

dotTech Advice

ABBYY Screenshot Reader is an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) program. ABBYY has a reputation for making excellent OCR programs. I had a mind to recommend ABBYY Screenshot Reader just based off the company’s reputation, without testing it; they are that good. However, I did my due diligence and took ABBYY Screenshot Reader for spin. My findings surprised me, and not in a good way.

First of all it must be mentioned ABBYY Screenshot Reader… is a screenshot reader. It takes screenshots and conducts OCR on them. That means ABBYY Screenshot Reader conducts OCR on one image at a time, and only the area that you specify. If you have documents of scanned pages that you want to OCR, ABBYY Screenshot Reader is not the program for you. This is how ABBYY Screenshot Reader works.

First you specify what you want ABBYY Screenshot Reader to do:

  • Send Text To Clipboard/Microsoft Word/File
  • Send Table To Clipboard/Microsoft Excel/File
  • Send Image To Clipboard/File/E-mail

The first two set of options is OCR; the screenshot you snap will be OCR’ed and the text or table found in the screenshot will be sent where you selected. (The text within tables is OCR’ed and the whole table structure is kept intact.) The second option is simply the traditional screenshot functionality you find in any screenshot taking program.

After you have selected what you want to do, you have to select how you want to take the screenshot. ABBYY Screenshot Reader offers four ways to take a screenshot: Freehand rectangle, selecting a specific window, screenshotting the whole screen, or timed (five second delay) whole screen.

The third step is selecting the language of the text you are about to OCR. By default the language is set to English but you can change it and pick any of 179 languages; there is an “autoselect” option if you aren’t sure which language to pick. In regards to the languages, 179 is a large number; but most of the 179 languages are ones that use the Latin alphabet (e.g letters A-Z). In addition to languages that use Latin character sets, ABBYY Screenshot Reader supports languages that use Greek, Cyrillic, and Chinese letters. Between Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Chinese a good majority of the world languages are covered; the most notable languages missing are the ones that use Arabic/Farsi character sets.

After you have made all three selections above, it is time to take your screenshot. You can either click on the screenshot button or press Alt + Enter on your keyboard to initiate the process. Once you snap the screenshot, ABBY Screenshot Reader goes to work. It works fairly quickly.

It isn’t the usability aspects of ABBYY Screenshot Reader that I find disappointing, although the lack of varied screenshot selection tools (such as scrolling window), lack of keyboard shortcuts customizability, and the lack of ability to OCR an imported image (as opposed to only screenshots) does disappoint. What disappoints me most is OCR quality.

ABBYY Screenshot Reader works very well on standard, machine-generated, serif and sans-serif text. However, most all OCR software work well with these types of text. Maybe it is the ABBYY name but I expected Screenshot Reader to work well with more than just machine-generated, typed text; I expected it to work well with stuff like handwriting-like text. Not necessarily the chicken scratch I call handwriting but text generated using handwriting-simulating styles such as Freestyle Script font. For handwriting-like text, ABBYY Screenshot Reader fails — hard. The irony here is one of my tests of Screenshot Reader was trying to OCR a banner on ABBYY’s website, which states ABBYY Happy New Year Holidays! in semi-handwritten-like text (the ABBYY part is in blocky text not handwritten-like). This is what ABBYY Screenshot Reader OCR’ed it to: ABBYY H^pp-y AW^W HoUAcaj^.

Of course it should be noted Screenshot Reader is one of ABBYY’s entry level OCR software, normally costing $29.99. So it goes without saying Screenshot Reader isn’t as good as ABBYY’s higher-end OCR programs, such as ABBYY FineReader. However, call me bias, but I expected more of ABBYY Screenshot Reader even if it is entry-level. As it stands the only selling point of ABBYY Screenshot Reader over competing OCR programs (like gImageReader/Tesseract) is the ability to OCR tables and support for non-Latin languages. Other than that, ABBYY Screenshot Reader is fairly ordinary. Get it if you want but don’t expect it to work miracles.

Freebie Details

ABBYY Screenshot Reader is being given away in a promotion sponsored by ABBYY themselves. I could not find any specific information on if this is a time-limited promotion or not; it probably is so grab this while you can. Also, there is no information on if you can install/reinstall this at a later date.

To grab ABBYY Screenshot Reader, do the following:

Version being given out for free: v9.0.0.1331

Free updates: Unknown

Free technical support: Yes

Supported OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Win7/Windows Server 2003

Download size: 154 MB

  • Download and install ABBYY Screenshot Reader.
    • Note: Be patient with the download; it is very slow. Their servers must be hammered.
  • After installation, run ABBYY Screenshot Reader.
  • When you run ABBYY Screenshot Reader you will be asked to register it. Registration is a fairly easy process but if you are confused, look at the screenshots below (follow the red arrows, boxes, and text):

  • Enjoy!

If you have trouble getting ABBYY Screenshot Reader for free, post below and other dotTechies or I will try to help.

Thank cmpm and Jeanjean!

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34 comments

  1. Bonnie

    My lap top is telling me that Abbyy screen shot reader will be terminated and to contact the RPC server to solve this issue.
    Why is it being terminated? and How do I contact The RPC server? I guess It was in my lap top when I got it. I did not down load it. Do I need it to run my programs properly?

  2. Dr Nitin

    Dear Ashraf
    The Abbeyy Finereader software is available for free download over the net since last 1-2 years (The same version). If one googles the correct keywords then not only Finereader but other products from Abbeyy (PDF Transformer etc) are also available for download(of course older versions)
    Dr Nitin

  3. Rob (Down Under)

    @Patara:
    Thanks for the feedback on 32 & 64
    Perhaps there are tips you could pass on for Ebony ?

    Which email program do you use ?
    Even though my flat is an Elephants Graveyard of dead PC’s, I have managed to transport my main OS intact from PC to PC.
    I have been using Thunderbird since 2005, and all those emails are still in my current Thunderbird
    My Inbox has 16,000 emails.
    I am using the latest version of TB, and it never crashes. Even when FF’s multiple Tabs are making my PC groan very slowly.
    And this latest version of TB, even OFFERS to compress things for me. It just asks me every so often, would I like a compress.

  4. Patara

    I found a good use for the Abbey Screenshot Reader. At times my mail program crashes and there is my long email ready to disappear forever. It shows faded on my screen with message that WLM has to close.
    I capture the email with Abbey and send to Word. Get near perfect result with only a few letters needing fixing against me having to write out email again, let alone remember what I had said.

    Re 32 bit program on 64 bit computers, yes they do work. I have 2x 64 bit Win7 computers and do not have any 32 bit programs that won’t work, even the old ones.

  5. Rob (Down Under)

    @ebony:
    I haven’t researched 64 bit much, as it will be a long time in the future before I get a 64 bit machine.
    Surely one can run 32 bit applications in 64 bit machines (This is Rob asking the world, or Bill Gates) ?

  6. ebony

    @Rob (Down Under):

    I ran the instmsiw.exe and got this error message.

    “Wrong OS or OS version for application” I am Running win7 64

    Guess that is my answer. Sigh

    Well at least now I know. But to answer you question, got this in a giveaway a while back.

    Thanks for putting me on the right track.

  7. Rob (Down Under)

    @ebony:
    Do you have a download link for that program, so any of us can go through the first steps, up to the point of your error.
    Is it a free version ?
    Is it a purchased version Trial ?
    Or is it a version that you paid for and downloaded ?
    If it is not the latter, then one of us could have a look.
    If you are pasting a URL then replace
    . with space DOT space
    That avoids possible long delays awaiting your post getting moderated.

    Also details about your PC (32 bit) and OS (XP Win7 32bit or 64bit) might be beneficial.

    PS Just had another look at the Files in your zip.
    MSI is a setup program that developers use to create an installation ‘program’
    Also I recall getting a similar error when I tried to run s setup.exe which was meant to be called by a front end program.
    I reckon you are meant to run
    instmsiA.exe
    or
    instmsiW.exe

    Also you could try double clicking autorun.inf to see what happens
    If that does nothing, then open that file in Notepad, and paste the contents for us.

  8. ebony

    This is a prime example of how I use the fine reader.

    Situation attempted to install a program called FINEREADEROCR.

    Extracted the zip file and got these files

    1033.mst 3 584
    1049. mst 131 584
    autorun.inf 44
    Datal.cab 62 171 875
    instmsiA.exe 1 1 708 856
    instmsiW.exe 1 822 520
    Settings.prt 1228
    setup.exe 390 432
    setup.ini 286
    Sprint.ico 8 478
    Sprint.msi 1 577 984

    clicked on the setup exe and got this error msg.

    Initialization file of the setup program not found.
    Please contact your system administrator.

    Since I have no idea what the error msg means. I am basically stuck.
    With the help of screen shot reader, I am now able to show my entire situation without trying to figure out how to word it.

    Can anyone help? Is there a solution or should I just delete this file?

  9. Jeanjean

    Only a few of you will maybe be interested, but I use this program (notably) as follows…
    I go to the corner library (I have the time, I am retired) and I there rent some trip guides concerning the places that I would like to visit. I do a scan of entire pages and a PDF-file that I preserve just in case …
    Before to leave on a trip, I collect only the useful texts (places to visit, restaurants, coffees, etc) in a DOC while using ABBYY Screenshot Reader.
    I could buy a guide of course, but the comparison of the data of several guides bring often explanations.
    It is necessary well heard to reread and correct, but this is the case for all the OCR, no?
    After trying several (free or giveaways), it seemed to me that the result of ABBYY producs (I have also “Fine Reader”) was the most satisfactory one.

  10. Rob (Down Under)

    @ebony:
    An error Msgbox/Dialog is a good example.
    When that appears, you may wish to pass the message on to a friend.
    Normally you cannot select the text appearing in the msgbox, so you only have a couple of choices –
    – Screen print the msgbox (giving you an image file)
    – Write down (or type) the error description
    If you had OCR software, you could tell that program to look at the text (which is just an image), and it will study the image looking for what might be text. It then has to decipher the (text) image, and convert it to real text, that can be copied and pasted
    Rob
    PS Just read your latest post.
    I do not believe that Ctrl C captures an image of your full screen.
    The Print button on your keyboard does do that (places an image of the screen into the clipboard)

  11. ebony

    @cmpm

    I wholeheartedly agree. That is exactly how I want to use it and that is mostly the only time I need to do a screen capture.

    @Rob
    A control C will capture the entire screen and save it as a jpg, but sometimes I just want the info in the error message box but now I have a file that I cannot upload to the site for help. Control C is good but not in case of the error message box. I have often wondered about that darn box and why I cannot grab what is inside of it. hehehhe

    @Ashraf

    Yep this is my kind of price. I do not pay for SW that does not was my car. LOL

  12. ebony

    @Ashraf

    You stated “It takes screenshots and conducts OCR on them. That means ABBYY Screenshot Reader conducts OCR on one image at a time, and only the area that you specify. If you have documents of scanned pages that you want to OCR, ABBYY Screenshot Reader is not the program for you.

    I THINK my confusion comes from the fact that I cannot wrap my head around the difference
    between screen shot and OCR. Are they one in the same?

    In what situation is OCR needed? I guess I could read/research it but it is easier and more fun to bug dottechies. rofl

  13. Rob (Down Under)

    Some of you appear to desire OCR for copying error message dialogs as plain text ?
    Here is a tip that you may care to use instead.

    When the dialog has focus, press Ctrl C which will place the text into the Clipboard for you.
    If that does not work, then try Ctrl Insert

    Rob
    PS This is from my memory (AGH!)
    Where is there an error message when you need one (to test my memory)

  14. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @ebony: Your comment suggests you understand ABBYY Screenshot Reader well — how are you confused?

    @Finell: I would love to see a comparison of the two.

    @cmpm: You are very right. Looking at ABBYY Screenshot Reader in that light makes it useful as a freebie. However, would I pay $29.95 for use as a troubleshooting tool? Hmmm, probably not.

    Thanks for the feedback. Oh and for tipping me off to this freebie. :-)

  15. cmpm

    This Screenshot tool is mainly for grabbing text that can not be copied and pasted.

    The main use, as I see it, is for error, or other messages generated by Windows or a program.
    Which are usually not in hard to read text, like your example Ashraf.
    You are correct, it will not grab certain fonts accurately.
    Of course you can use your SC tool of choice to make a png, jpg or other pic type.

    It helps if you are diagnosing or discussing a problem or event, and would rather grab the text,
    instead of a larger pic of the message, that you would need to upload.
    Saving time uploading a pic to whatever helper you are communicating with on the net.
    Some sites will not take uploaded pics, not many, but a few.

    It’s a lot faster to copy and paste text,
    then to do a SC pic and upload a larger file to your site that is helping with a problem.

    It’s a keeper imo, and useful in certain situations.

    Peace.

  16. Finell

    @Frank: I don’t know that program. I’ve heard of Babylon translation programs. Is it the same company? If you have the program, please do a comparison with the ABBY screenshot reader and let us know the results. Thanks.

  17. ebony

    I am soooo confused regarding the OCR part.

    I like this tool because it will allow me to capture error messages to cut and paste here which will help me express a question or situation I need help with.
    When I do a screen capture and save it, I cannot figure out how to get it to this site and include it in my message. It serves the purpose for me.

    I particularly like the fact that I can send the capture via email and it is most convenient that it resides in my tray so I do not have to look all over for it when I need it.

  18. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Emrys: You are welcome! Don’t worry you aren’t too thick. :-)

    @Check: Well I’m glad my word means something. :-) Thanks for your feedback on the experience with this soft!

    @Finell: This is true, lower DPI does make screenshot OCR harder. However, that isn’t an excuse for poor performance because quality OCR is still possible.

    @Frank: Case in point. (Disclaimer: I haven’t used Babylon myself so I can’t vouch for its quality. I am just proving a point.)

  19. Finell

    Remember that recognizing text from a screenshot is much harder for software than recognizing scanned text. Scanned text is typically at least 300 dpi. When scanned text drops below 200 dpi, OCR results get pretty poor. Screenshot resolution is the resolution that the video driver delivers to the monitor, maybe 72 dpi. Also remember that resolution is proportional to the square of dpi (or ppi). So, 150 dpi is 1/4 (not half) of 300 dpi; 75 dpi is 1/8 of 300 dpi.

  20. Check

    I have used it for some time and agree with Ashraf – the OCR is not excellent.

    I use it for capturing a sentence every now and then when graphics have been used for text. On balance, Abby saves some typing as it gets some of the letters right. However, the product is certainly not a good advertisement for their other products.

    In fact I was put off even considering their other products, but in view of Ashrafs positive mentions about their reputation will have to take another look!