OCR and weak AI

@bws950

Why dont you try the demo?

ABBYY’s separate application in conjunction with DT3

A little, however, I need to buy a newer version

DT3’s inability to correctly identify columns of text

It will probably do a better job automatically, however, if not you can select columns as separate blocks of text through the GUI. Most docs have the same columns on each page to could reuse for the whole or most of the document.

but assumed that since DT3 and DTTG already use the ABBYY SDK, I wouldn’t get improved results.

This is not the case. Because you can help finereader by selecting blocks of text, images , equations (as images. This is a god send as the SDK in DEVONthink will always try to convert them to text which it cannot do) and tables before starting the OCR process. Things like making a PDF searchable you get to spellcheck and make corrections before saving; and add new words to the dictionary. This means overtime results can improve. You can also train Finereader to recognise new patterns and there are also some image processing options which include de-skew and straighten lines to get better results.

When converting to different formats such as PDF, Word, excel etc it can do a better job in making the formatting of the page layout match the original. It can try to match fonts to those system installed as well.

come up with workflows to solve problems
Well it’s a separate program and the best results may need some manual input. You could OCR in DEVONthink to get basic search etc then when you need to use the document run it through finereader to get the improved OCR results you will need to save over the same file to keep the item details in Devonthink attached.

You could use a workflow of tags and reviewing reminders to organise the process e.g tags for SDK OCRed and Finereader OCRed, Todo etc. Or you could do it as a part of importing images and documents e.g have an inbox for finereader on your desktop and after OCRing save to the inbox folder of DEVONthink for filing in DEVONthink later.

The windows option does offer some better features
see comparison chart https://pdf.abbyy.com/pricing/
I haven’t tried running the windows version on windows 11 arm in parallels yet.

(I wonder why Apple hasn’t released its iPhone OCR as a separate Web utility?

Because it uses the neural engine on the device and Apple’s privacy commitment means that this doesn’t send any data to the cloud its all done on device.

@bws950

Also take a look at Mathpix the web and iOS/iPadOS app versions can convert PDFs (not just equations to LaTeX) into several different file formats.

Thanks very much for this – I’ll give the ABBYY application a try and see if I can come up with a workable document flow.

Apple’s OCR (rather: its Vision framework) is scriptable using the ObjC bridge, so you can use it in stand-alone scripts or integrate it with DT or whatever.

However, in my experience it is less reliable than for example Abby’s technique: it has problems to recognize text on the same line as such, which results in scrambled text.

I used to use an older version of the stand alone Abbyy Fine Reader for Mac with a great script from a user on the forum with very good results. Since I upgraded to an M1 Mac and the latest version of FineReader, which is no longer scriptable, I just use the Abbyy OCR engine in DT for the convenience.

Here is a link to the other post with the details: Script to OCR PDFs with the latest FineReader - #16 by sawxray

I did some testing.

  • All Document are OCRed under DEVONthink 3 for search etc and tagged as basic-ocr
  • Any significant annotations that need to be taken or conversion I would run them through Abby Finereader for Windows. You do get better results but it is time consuming but still way more productive. Tag as full-ocr

I personally think Abby finereader for Windows is better than the Mac version.
The windows version seems to work fine on Windows 11 for ARM and Parallels.

That’s a shame the latest Mac version doesn’t even support Shortcuts which can be called from an AppleScript.

Yes, the Windows version is indeed more full-fledged than the Mac version.

Fine reader 15 for mac
says

HOW TO JUDGE A PAINTING
By ALBERT C. BARNES
Dr. Barnes is well known as a collector. His home at Overbrook. Pa., contains the most comprehensive collection of modern pictures in America. It includes fifty Renoirs. His opinion should be of exceptional interest. —ED. NOTE.

and

Devonthink 3.8 reads it as

HOW TO JUDGE A PAINTING By ALBERT C. BARNES

Dr. Barnes is well known as a collector. His home at Overbrook. Pa., contains the most comprehensive collection of modern pictures in America. It includes fifty Renoirs. His opinion should be of exceptional interest.—ED. NOTE.

source obtained from Google Books p217

Google books ocr layer is missing its spaces.

what would be useful is the ability to correct the underlying text layer particularly before making a pdf. This feature is apparently unique to the windows version. You can’t really text mine a document if it has spelling errors.