To be truly paperless, you sometimes have to resort to more and more esoteric software programs. “The Cloud” used to be fringe, now it’s mainline, and one of the tools that helps us save paper and the cost of printer cartridges
But more than being paperless…some of these digital helpmates can save oodles of time.
For some background on this, see my blogs:
Coming back from APAC, I had a gold mine in my hands: an 8-page listing of all the attendees (talent, publishers, producers, agents, etc), and their email address. ON PAPER.
These are names and addresses I’m going to want to add to various mailing lists. But the paper list presented a time-wasting challenge. It meant I’d have to laboriously re-type all the info into a .csv file, and suffer a few typos in the process. You can scan the document, but unless your scanner is equipped with OCR, all you really have is an un-editable picture of the document.
I thought long and hard about calling the Audio Publishers Association headquarters and asking for a digital copy of their printout, but it seemed too lazy for some reason, and I didn’t really want to bother them… it might seem ungrateful somehow, I thought.
Somebody MUST have had this problem before, which means some enterprising entrepreneur probably wrote a program that does an OCR process (optical character recognition) on the printed document, making all the printed data available digitally. The answer is an emphatic YES.
I Google’d OCR PDF and found a number of solutions, some of them free, some costly. I settled on: ONLINE OCR.
This program is as easy as blinking your eyes. Once you’ve created an account (free, no credit cards involved), you upload a file, choose your desired output (.doc, .xls, HTML, .pdf, etc), choose from one of about 20 languages, click on “process”, and in a few seconds, you have a downloadable file.
With your original registration, you get credit for 20 free pages. After that you can pay for credits (eg. 50 pages, $4.95).
I woulda been lost as a citizen of the dark ages!