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Converting ".tif" format documents to editable Word ".doc" files requires Optical Character Recognition - OCR - services or software.

Is there a way to convert a file received as a .tif file back to a .doc file? That's what it was originally.

Yes and no.

The problem is that your ".tif" file may have started out as a Word document, but it's not a Word document any more.

Not even close.

".tif" files

TIF stands for "Tagged Image Format". As the name implies it's a format for storing images, or pictures, much like the ".jpg" images you might get off of your digital camera.

It's a common file format produced by digital copiers and fax machines. These devices don't transmit documents in their original form, but rather photographs of the documents.

Regardless of exactly how a ".tif" might be created from a Word document it's the equivalent of taking a photograph of the document.

OCR is the answer

OCR stands for optical character recognition and is a process that analyzes a photograph of text looking for things that "look like" numbers and letters, and produces a document that can then be edited.

The good news is that it doesn't matter much whether the image is ".jpg", ".tif" or any of the other photograph or image formats.

The bad news is that OCR is rarely perfect and often quite error prone.

"The problem is that OCR is exceptionally difficult to get right."

I've spoken about OCR recently when someone asked about scanning a document into Excel. OCR software takes a look at the picture of your document, examining the picture of each letter in that document, and attempts to determine what letter that picture represents. Advanced OCR software may even try to automatically figure out where paragraphs are and more.

The problem is that OCR is exceptionally difficult to get right. For example "1" (the number one) and an "l" (a lower case L) look very much alike. If the photo of the document is blurry or distorted, or even if the characters on the page use different fonts and styles, the OCR algorithm can get confused and produce the wrong results. Often close results, but still wrong results.

OCR software and services

A great new on-line solution to getting your TIF image converted into a Word document is BetterOCR. BetterOCR offers both free and paid conversion - the accuracy and speed goes up with the paid options.

BetterOCR accepts not only ".tif", but ".pdf", ".png", ".jpg", and ".gif" files, as well as ".zip" for multiple file submission.

If you're looking for software to install on your machine to perform OCR notable packages include OmniPage 17image and Abbyy Finereader.

(This is an update to an article originally published May 2, 2007.)

Article C3012 - January 22, 2011 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

60 Comments
Kanagaraj
June 8, 2007 11:07 PM

Sir,

I am scaning some text in *.tif file, How can i convert *.tif file word file with out contants changeing

Rina
May 3, 2008 8:17 AM

Do let me know whether there is and free trail software through which i can convert tif files into microsoft waord without changing itts contents & formatting.

Plz help me out

mark
July 25, 2008 10:42 AM

that bit of information was useless. First I did not convert the file to tiff. I have the tiff file already created and wanted to know how to convert it to word. Saying that I have to start at OCR does me no good. Tell me how do i find OVR and give me the steps to convert it using OCR. you just dont leave someone with more questions not even answering the original question

John Staack
November 11, 2008 8:41 AM

I have a tif file of a blue print. How can I select a small portion of it and inlarge that portion?

Vikas Aherkar
December 28, 2008 8:08 PM

some problem in converting the tif image file into word file & then getting the HTML taging .
Is there any free software for that purpose .
please send me the proper solution for that file . its and urgent requirment.

athar
March 11, 2009 10:27 PM

i have to convert pdf to word or tif to word plz help me

Prashanth
March 19, 2009 8:19 AM

I have a .tif file, i want to convert it into notepad .txt extension? How can i do it? Please let me know.

karthikeyan.v
April 11, 2009 2:42 AM

I have a .tif file, i want to convert it into notepad .txt extension? How can i do it? Please let me know

goutam
April 11, 2009 4:49 AM

Sir,

I am scaning some text in *.tif file, How can i convert *.tif file word file with out contants changeing

shafi
April 26, 2009 6:23 AM

I want to convert the .tiff image to a editable word document

S.Subramanian
May 29, 2009 9:40 PM

Hi sir,

please tell me how to compare tif files and notepad files (or) word document files.


Thank you

sathish
June 23, 2009 10:55 PM

sir i want to convert the tif file in to note pad ...how i have to do sir

Same as the article: TIF is a picture, Notepad takes text. You need to use OCR.
- Leo
24-Jun-2009

Nathaira
July 9, 2009 5:05 PM

Would you be kind enough to send me a few links to download OCR Freeware? Please and thanks.

raj
July 10, 2009 9:27 AM

some problem in converting the tif image file into word file & then getting the HTML taging .
Is there any free software for that purpose .
please send me the proper solution for that file . its and urgent requirment.

joe
July 23, 2009 5:47 AM

i read ur article, its really interesting. i need tif to word convertor. can u provide me the link or else where can i get this software?

logu
August 19, 2009 7:42 PM

I have a .tif file, i want to convert it into notepad .txt extension? How can i do it? Please let me know

jilmalika
September 7, 2009 3:23 AM

I HAVE .TIF IMAGE..I WANT TO CONVERT THIS .TIF INTO NOTPAD .TXT OR WORD .DOC FILE

Na nach nachma nachman meuman
December 1, 2009 6:43 PM

Got it! Right click the file and click OPEN WITH and select MICROSOFT OFFICE DOCUMENT IMAGING. Then press the logo with the little arrow and W that exports to Word. Worked great!

Ankit Nagpal
January 17, 2010 4:41 PM

Hi, thanks for all the information. now it is easy to convert any image to editable and searchable doc, pdf, html files using ocr software. however, good quality ocr software are not available for download. The only ocr software I was able to freely download and try was Image to OCR Converter available at http://products.softsolutionslimited.com/img2ocr/index.htm It does a fairly good job of ocr processing.

313624
January 30, 2010 9:43 PM

Hi

Is there will be any difference between the text converted from the image using a OCR technology and normal typed text except for the errors in the text converted using ocr?

rishi
February 18, 2010 8:32 AM

i want to convert tiff image to notpad?
can any one help me

amit
March 11, 2010 1:11 AM

i have 1 file in TIF format and like to convert in txt file format

rusticraj
April 13, 2010 9:50 PM

hi
i have a tif file please tell me [links removed] how can i convert it in notpad ??

Soma Das
April 13, 2010 11:02 PM

I have .tif docs and i want to convert it to .txt docs. How can i do that? I have tried using varios OCR tools but i m not getting any satisfactory results. none of the text is matching from the .tif file to .txt file. plz help me out.

Jaleel
April 28, 2010 10:26 PM

Hi,

I have a tif file in Tahoma format, performing OCR gives junks only, how can i change it to doc.

Rick
May 5, 2010 7:25 AM

I was going to submit a long post to try and help explain why this
simple request is actually quite a complex problem, but let me be
brief instead ;)

There is no way to simply 'convert' an image (tif) into a text based
file (ie doc or txt). The formats are not compatible.

Sorry it's that simple.

You can, however, make a new document and put the picture into it
if you don't need editable text, the other option is that you have
to re-type it with (or without) the 'help' of OCR.

If it's short I would suggest you re-type it yourself, if it's long...

Yes can use an OCR program but you will have a lot of work to do
correcting the errors that the OCR program will make. If you are a
business it may be best to get a proper typist to re-type it for you.

I work in the printing business and I have had to do this and a big
(120 page) document can take 40-60 hours of work after OCR-ing it.
A properyly skilled typest can be faster but then you will
have to re-format as well so it will still take a lot of time.

It is, simply, a very time consuming process as you are creating a
whole new document :(

PS if it some kind of legal document I would suggest that you need
to use a program that will let you insert the tif image into it as
re-creating it can cause serious legal problems if any errors are
caused when it's re-typed.

Yes this is the short post :)

Ankit
May 12, 2010 7:28 PM

Hi, thanks for all the information. now it is easy to convert any image to editable and searchable doc, pdf, html files using ocr software. however, good quality ocr software are not available for download. The only ocr software I was able to freely download and try was Image to OCR Converter available at http://products.softsolutionslimited.com/img2ocr/index.htm It does a fairly good job of ocr processing.

vijay
July 15, 2010 7:47 PM

Hi. the article was good, but i ve another problem. i want to convert a jpeg scanned file to a doc/docx format. is that possible? can u do it?

Same answer. JPG, TIFF, whatever image format you choose.
Leo
16-Jul-2010

Natarajan
July 24, 2010 10:34 AM

The author must be a very good teacher with a passion to teach! Wonderful explanation.

Sunil Chauhan
August 31, 2010 1:27 AM

"How do I convert a French Script MT font.tif" file to a Word ".doc" file or a txt file?":

krishana
September 27, 2010 8:07 AM

hi..

i want read french script mt text from tiff image..

help me//
if u have this type software knowledge send me details

thanks

sathya
September 30, 2010 10:13 AM

"How do I convert a French Script MT font.tif" file to a Word ".doc" file or a txt file?"

Ankit
October 1, 2010 5:54 PM

Hi, thanks for all the information. now it is easy to convert any image to editable and searchable doc, pdf, html files using ocr software. however, good quality ocr software are not available for download. The only ocr software I was able to freely download and try was Image to OCR Converter available at http://products.softsolutionslimited.com/img2ocr/index.htm It does a fairly good job of ocr processing.

rajendraprasad
October 6, 2010 8:14 AM

i would like to know about the software which converts tiff file to word document then we should be able to make changes in word document

Laurence Christenson
October 6, 2010 10:58 AM

Hi Leo,

In answer the the person who asked, "How can I convert a TIF file to a DOC file?" this is exactly the problem I faced. I scanned a 435 page typed document into my computer, ending up with 435 TIF files. My attempts to convert them to an editable document were as frustrating as you describned in your answer. UNTIL...after about three days of Googling, I came across www.convertfiles.com I followed their prompts, uploaded my TIF files by Chapter (15 chapters) and presto I had a highly accurate WORD document that I could edit and work on. Better than any OCR program, of which I had tried at least five. Larry Christenson

K M Siva Somasundaraam
November 9, 2010 12:26 AM

Hi,
i got scanned tiff file i want to make it as editable document in word. i tried to convert by using abbyy fine reader but i can't is there any way to convert plz suggest

uday
November 30, 2010 10:20 PM

Hi, Please let me to know how to convert tiff image file as into the word.doc file. So that I can able to edit the word file.

Please reply me with the positive answer.

Thank you,
UDAY

Please read the article you just commented on. It answers this question.
Leo
01-Dec-2010

Aryan Patel
December 15, 2010 7:05 PM

Hallo lio !!!

just tell me how i can convert a tif file to word file...
i have a big problem in company for this purpose...
if this is possible than tell me which software convertor we can use ???/plz .. i hope u give a mail answer..

Please read the article you just commented on. It answers this question.
Leo
16-Dec-2010

Sarguna Sebastin
December 19, 2010 11:22 PM

Hi, Mr. Leo,
Please let me to know how to convert tiff image file as into the word.doc file. So that I can able to edit the word file.

Regards,
Sebastin

Please read the article you just commented on. It answers this question.
Leo
20-Dec-2010

deepak chouhabn
December 29, 2010 2:21 AM

hello, I've a .tif format image, but i want to convert it into text format I've tried so many software but i m not able to convert the page so plz give me suggestion for that

Please read the article you just commented on. It answers this question.
Leo
29-Dec-2010

Entronix
January 10, 2011 3:01 AM

Converting a TIFF is very easy but u will get only 80-90% accuracy then you need to do manual correction for remaining 10-20% to get 100% accuracy.
If you need converter then you can contact me. (charges applicable)
{removed by moderator}@gmail.com

Mark Jacobs
January 23, 2011 12:17 PM

The best OCR program I've found is ABBYY Fine Reader. The home version costs $49 and you can click on the link that Leo posted. It comes free with many scanners.
If the image is at least 300 dpi and a common font you can expect pretty good accuracy. ABBYY does better with unusual fonts than other OCR programs but expect more mistakes than with normal serif and sans serif fonts.

Mark Jacobs
January 23, 2011 12:19 PM

If you only need it once, you can use the professional version for 15 days for free. http://finereader.abbyy.com/trial/

Bart
January 25, 2011 7:26 AM

Online free converter.. upload the file.. convert.. and have it sent back to you. Should work just fine.

http://www.fileminx.com/

Me
January 25, 2011 9:02 AM

If its short enough I wouldnt bother with the OCR. It would take more time to correct the errors than to type it up by hand.

Very true. Often our fascination with tech and expectation that it'll fix anything causes us to overlook more pragmatic solutions.
Leo
25-Jan-2011

Dave
January 25, 2011 9:18 AM

If you are an Acrobat Pro user the newest version X (10) has excellent OCR capabilities built in.

Ken
January 25, 2011 12:45 PM

Hi Leo, I use an application called Open Office which
is a free version and uses OCR. As an alternative to
Microsoft Word. However images can get confused just as you say, and spoil the final result.

Natalie
January 28, 2011 4:42 PM

My favorite option for free online OCR services is a beta software offered by Ricoh Innovations. You can access it online at: http://beta.rii.ricoh.com/betalabs/content/document-conversion

sree
July 16, 2011 9:21 AM

i want .tif file to a word.doc without mistakes

Good luck with that. OCR is the only solution, and automated OCR is notoriously error-prone. You'd be better off just retyping the document.
Leo
16-Jul-2011

j.arosh
September 20, 2011 4:58 AM

i have the same problem. please help me anyone.

Please read the article you just commented on. It answers your question
Leo
22-Sep-2011

W Bruce
October 7, 2011 12:33 AM

The document is typed using MS Word 2007 then saved as aDoc then emailed as an attachment. I receive it clicking on the atachment, it says the attached file is not an MS Document Image file and has opened the OCR page. I have to request it being sent exactly the same however with the docx extention, then no problem it opens . Isd there a swith or something in the program that I have missed. I have no problem opening the same file on another computer using Vista. Problem is in Pffice 2010 and Windows 7. Any easy answers ease

jaikumar
November 7, 2011 1:43 AM

Hi, Please let me to know how to convert tiff image file as into the word.doc file. So that I can able to edit the word file. i have alson tried with abbyy but its is not recognising the tiff image font. Its very very ugrent for me leo. help me with your answers as soon as possible

Please reply me with the positive answer.

Thank you
jaikumar

jaikumar
November 7, 2011 3:37 AM

Hi, Please let me to know how to convert tiff image file as into the word.doc file. So that I can able to edit the word file. i have alson tried with abbyy but its is not recognising the tiff image font. Its very very ugrent for me leo. help me with your answers as soon as possible

Please reply me with the positive answer.

Thank you
jaikumar

jaikumar
November 7, 2011 4:52 AM

i have tried converting tiff image file having text written with hand by abbyy
to .doc but it is not recognising the text showing, some symbols .doc files can plz help me with software that will help me to solve this problem

Mark J
November 7, 2011 1:28 PM

@Jaikumar
If ABBYY won't recognize it, it may be that the font is from a language you haven't yet selected in FineReader. You can try clicking on Tools then Language editor and make sure you have the language checked that you want to OCR. If this doesn't work it's possible that the resolution is too low to work.

Sabir
November 18, 2011 11:19 PM

Mr. Leo
I want a gif file converter software that convert in word plz suggest me

Mark J
November 19, 2011 2:08 PM

@Sabir
It's basically the same answer for gif, jpg, png and tiff. OCR is the answer

Pavan kumar
January 6, 2012 1:04 AM

How can i convert omnipage image doc to word(editable text).

Mark J
January 6, 2012 1:15 AM

@Pavan
Omnipage is an OCR program which converts images to text, so you would need to have the Omnipage program to be able to do that.

Peter
July 20, 2012 7:42 AM

OmniPage is also available as a cloud service for developers. You may download the SDK and evaluate the service.
https://portal.nuancecomputing.com

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