Readiris Pro 6

You may have trialled the free seven-language version 4.17 provided on the October PC World cover CD. Version 6 has a few new features: colour scans, speckle removal, and recognition of more languages. It can rotate images and even remove skew when your document isn't straight. The software has a simple interface and integrates well with scanners. If it doesn't recognise your scanner, it will call up the scanner's own interface.

Readiris tries to enhance speed and accuracy by learning fonts and printing oddities. This works outstandingly on long documents in one font, but actually slows you down with those tricky ones which change font frequently; even bold text can appear to the software as a different font. On startup, you choose a "font dictionary" which is subsequently modified by your feedback.

The confirmation dialogue is still plagued by a lack of proper context display. The graphic of the word being processed is shown nice and big, with the already completed text in the window behind . . . but the material ahead is not shown.

A "connect" facility is provided to send the document straight to Word or to Excel for spell-checking and reformatting. The file has to be saved to disk first to be used in Star Office. The WordPerfect import utility was not tested.

Readiris will include graphics within the layout, and tries to recognise tables and format them correctly. If you disagree with its colour-coded classifications, you can draw your own box around parts of the page and tag them as tables, graphics or text.

Readiris has the same difficulty as any OCR package with non-standard tables and handwriting fonts. In long documents, though, it beats the opposition in speed and accuracy, and for non-English languages it is the only choice. For Chinese and Japanese fonts you will need to buy an extension pack from the producer, IRIS.

Readiris Pro 6

Price: $349

Supplier: The Image Depot

Phone: (02) 9337 1671

URL: www.readiris.com

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