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Data Capture vs OCR Software

Question asked by c2m2e on Jan 23, 2013
Latest reply on Jan 23, 2013 by Stephen Huston

I’m appealing to all my techie contacts for help with finding the right software to solve a problem. I don’t know if one software product can accomplish the two tasks we need done, but I think I’m looking for either an OCR product or a Data Capture product or both.


The first task we need to address is taking existing PDFs and getting their data match imported into our FileMaker Pro database. I’ve experimented with OCR software (ABBYY FineReader Express for Mac) to get the PDFs converted to Excel spreadsheets. The problem is, while it works fine with PDFs already in a table or spreadsheet type format, it doesn’t work well with PDFs in other formats. For example, we have tradeshow attendance directories that are laid out in non-uniform columns. Using the OCR software leaves the city, state, and zip all in one cell as well as the first name, last name, and title in one cell. This won’t work for database importing (unless there is a way around that).


The second task we have is similar, but I don’t think OCR software will work. We have access to web-based membership lists we also want to match import to our database. They can’t be downloaded and printing as PDF leads to the same problem as above. I’m not experienced with data capture software but from what I’ve read it seems like it could work. I just can’t find one for Mac with a demo that I can test. ListGrabber ( looks like the right type of product, but they don’t have a Mac version.


I would greatly appreciate any insight or suggestions!


Many Thanks!