SOURCE: ABBYY USA

August 29, 2005 08:50 ET

ABBYY FineReader 8.0 Redefines OCR Accuracy and Performance

Intelligent Product Enhancements Deliver Increased Accuracy, Digital Camera Support, Improved PDF Conversion, High-Quality Image Output, and Task Automation to Expand Usage Options for Customers

FREMONT, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 29, 2005 -- ABBYY Software House today announced the commercial release of the next generation of its FineReader desktop optical character recognition (OCR) and document conversion software application, FineReader 8.0.

ABBYY FineReader 8.0 is a powerful, yet easy-to-use software application for professional quality conversion of document images and PDF files into editable and searchable electronic files. The product delivers outstanding accuracy when converting a variety of document types including tables and spreadsheets, magazine articles, contracts, and even faxes. Enhancements in version 8.0 give FineReader new intelligence, making it more accurate, flexible, and adaptable for a wider variety of users than ever before.

ABBYY FineReader 8.0 redefines OCR accuracy and performance by delivering:

--  a significant increase in overall recognition accuracy - with up to 30
    percent accuracy improvement for "difficult-to-read" images such as faxes
    and documents scanned at low resolution and new digital camera support
    
--  more intelligent PDF conversion - with smarter, faster processing and
    output to searchable, secure, and Tagged PDF files
    
--  higher productivity - through new automation tools and fast processing
    options; and "instant" OCR with a new ScreenShot Reader bonus application
    
Alexander Bobrovskiy, Chief Product Manager for the ABBYY FineReader Product Line, explained that as OCR technologies become more sophisticated, the measurement of product performance moves beyond simple word accuracy improvements. "Business documents are becoming increasingly complex, with a variety of inherent information needing to be pulled from them (such as hyperlinks, web references and e-mail addresses). In turn, FineReader is evolving and becoming more intelligent and versatile to make it easier to extract necessary data from images, and make such information more meaningful to the user in the process."

Intelligent Recognition Enhancements

FineReader's intelligent approach selectively deploys the best combination of recognition algorithms and pre-processing adjustments based on the quality and key attributes of each document. The result is greater overall accuracy. New document conversion benefits from FineReader 8.0 recognition enhancements include:

--  Adaptive Recognition for Camera Images. The new version of FineReader
    is equipped to differentiate between document images captured from digital
    cameras or scanners. It applies different processing algorithms, depending
    on the source input device, to address problems typically associated with
    digital camera images such as poor lighting, out-of-focus text, distorted
    text lines, and missing resolution information. New image pre-processing
    functions for straightening text lines further help correct camera lens
    distortions. As a result, FineReader users now have the ability to process
    documents that have typically been difficult to capture, such as documents
    found while travelling out of the office (and without a scanner), text from
    signs or walls, or pages from a thick book.
    
--  Hyperlink Support. Showing greater knowledge of how text and text
    formatting works, FineReader is now able to "read" and "reproduce"
    hyperlinks. Text starting with http://, ftp://, file://, or mailto:// are
    now recognised by FineReader as "hyperlinks" and reproduced as live links
    when sent to Microsoft Word, PDF, and HTML.
    
--  Multilingual OCR.  FineReader supports 179 languages, more than any
    other document conversion application.
    
Smarter, Faster PDF Conversion

FineReader 8.0 offers three different PDF conversion functions in one application: users can open a PDF file and convert it into editable formats (such as Word or Excel); open a PDF file, modify text, then save back to PDF; or create searchable PDFs from paper documents. FineReader 8.0 increases PDF conversion speed by up to two times over the previous version and features the following technological enhancements:

--  Intelligent PDF conversion process. FineReader delivers superior
    accuracy in PDF file conversion with its dual-option approach. When
    processing PDF files, FineReader determines whether or not text is
    embedded, examines the integrity of the text layer and makes a decision as
    to whether to extract the text or apply OCR. It exams each block
    individually, and selects the most appropriate method to apply to each
    block. This process ensures more accurate and faster PDF conversion even
    when processing problematic PDF files such as PDFs with incorrectly encoded
    blocks of "text" or PDFs presented as image-only files with no text layer
    (i.e. images from MFPs). If necessary, advanced users can select 'Recognise
    PDF as Image' Mode to process all PDF documents as images.
    
--  PDF Security setting and encryption support. FineReader 8.0 supports
    the following PDF security settings, making it well-suited for
    professionals working in government entities and other organizations
    demanding high security:

        o Supports open and permission passwords,

        o Allows users to restrict printing, editing, or extracting of file
          content

        o Supports RC4-based 40-bit, 128-bit, and AES (Advanced Encryption
          Standard)-based 128-bit encryption.
    
--  Links and document properties. When converting PDF files, FineReader
    will recreate internal links and hyperlinks within the PDF file. It also
    captures PDF document properties defined by the author such as: subject,
    author, title, and keywords and transfer that information to a similar
    location in the output documents in DOC, RTF, XLS, HTML, PDF, and LIT
    formats.
    
--  PDF output in Tagged PDF format. FineReader now supports output to
    Tagged PDF formats that can be "reflowed" to fit different page or screen
    widths. This makes it easy to send recognized text to handheld devices such
    as PDAs or screen readers typically used by visually impaired users.
    
New Productivity Features:
--  Task Automation. A new Automation Manager allows users to perform the
    multiple steps of document or PDF conversion with simple "one-click"
    execution.  Easy-to-follow FineReader drop-down menus are already equipped
    with pre-defined tasks; users simply select one of the options and the
    program performs all of the steps in the process automatically.
    Alternatively, users can also create their own processes with the help of
    an Automation Wizard. The Automation Manager is ideal for regularly
    repeated conversion tasks:  with one click, the Automation Manager could
    perform recognition and save the results to two different formats (such as
    Word and PDF) at the same time saving the effort required to manually
    export a file twice.  Ready-to-use automated tasks can also be distributed
    among many company employees.
    
--  ABBYY Screenshot Reader (Bonus Application). FineReader 8.0 offers a
    new application called ABBYY Screenshot Reader. Screenshot Reader is an
    easy-to-use utility that captures screen images and allows users to perform
    "instant" OCR from the screen. It is ideal for pulling text, tables, or
    images from Web browser pages, Flash presentations, Windows Explorer file
    menus, or error messages. Screenshot Reader is also an ideal "quick OCR"
    tool for users who want to pull small quotes or a few sentences of text
    from a PDF or image file they are currently viewing. Users can choose from
    capturing an image only, text, or table. The data can be immediately
    transferred to Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel or a clipboard, or saved to
    a file.
    
--  Fast Mode Recognition. FineReader 8.0 now offers a "fast mode
    recognition" option which increases speed by up 2.5 times when full
    analysis and processing is not necessary.  Ideal when processing large
    batches of documents in which extracted text is used only for indexing
    (searchable archives), or large groups of high quality documents.
    
--  New Output/Saving Options.  Additional new saving options include the
    .LIT format for eBooks and increased user-selected options when saving to
    files.  For example, users can now automatically set all pages of a
    multipage document to a specified size. Additionally, document properties
    or "meta data" can be added to an output file when saving to DOC, XML,
    HTML, PDF and LIT formats, providing useful information for automation of
    indexing, search, and data mining.
    
New Parameters for Saving Pictures

ABBYY FineReader 8.0 features new options for saving pictures in output documents. Users can now set color depth for pictures -- color, grey, or black and white. For example, if there are many color pictures in a document, users can save all pictures as grey or black and white, which reduces output file size significantly. New options have been added for saving results in PDF, HTML and PPT formats. When saving to PDF users can select format compression. And when saving to HTML and PPT users can choose between compression formats. A user may also adjust color depth and picture quality for all pages of a document or control the parameters of individual pictures.

New Packages for Corporate and Volume Licence Customers

FineReader Desktop Products are available in different versions based on user and usage type. FineReader Professional Edition, the core product, offers professional OCR for individual users. The offerings for multiple users in networked office environments have been enhanced for version 8.0 and are offered in the following packages:

FineReader 8.0 Corporate Edition - For small-to-mid-sized businesses working on a local area network (LAN), ABBYY FineReader 8.0 Corporate Edition is an ideal groupware solution for OCR and PDF conversion. Corporate Edition users benefit from the ability to support multiple users who can work together while processing their documents. Benefits of Corporate Edition include:

--  Network installation

--  Support for network scanning devices

--  Distributed document processing

--  Shared dictionary work

--  Concurrent license management, in which the license limitation is
    based on the amount of simultaneous users at one time.

--  Use the command line to automatically process images and PDF files
FineReader 8.0 Corporate Edition offers a new enhanced Hot Folder & Scheduling application with functions for automatic processing of images and automatic batch conversion. Ideal for companies working with networked scanners, digital copiers or MFPs, or fax servers, the Hot Folder & Scheduling feature allows users to create designated folders located on a local drive, network drive, or FTP server to be monitored by FineReader. Each time a document or multiple documents are added to these folders, they are immediately processed in the background by FineReader according to pre-defined rules specified by the users. With a new Wizard, users or administrators can simply follow the dialogs to set up tasks by first selecting location of the folder, start time (for single processing or constantly watching), recognition language and type (fast mode or regular), output/saving formats, and output/saving location. This can be used to save valuable work time, for example, by scheduling the processing of a large batch at the end of the work day.

FineReader 8.0 Site Licence Edition - FineReader 8.0 Site Licence Edition offers all of the core features of FineReader 8.0 Corporate Edition with added support for a high volume, automated roll-out among multiple workstations across a large enterprise.

Availability and Pricing

ABBYY FineReader Desktop Products including Professional Edition and Corporate Edition will be available starting in September through select retail outlets and resellers worldwide. ABBYY FineReader Site License Edition will be available later in the fall through special license agreement.

For information on pricing in your region, please contact your local ABBYY office or distributor. A list of FineReader distribution partners can be found on the ABBYY corporate web site at www.abbyy.com/resellers.

About ABBYY

ABBYY (ABBYY Software House) develops linguistic and Artificial Intelligence (AI) software providing a full line of OCR and text-processing programs and solutions. ABBYY's products include: FineReader OCR systems -- a family of end user programs and development tools for recognition of printed texts, tables and forms; FormReader -- an ICR program for recognition and processing of hand-printed forms; and ABBYY Retrieval & Morphology Engine -- a set of developer's tools for integration of full-text search and linguistic capabilities into external applications. Companies that license ABBYY recognition technologies include Siemens Nixdorf, Samsung Electronics, C-Technologies, Sumitomo Electric Systems, Banctec, BenQ, Documentum, EPSON, Freedom Scientific, Hewlett-Packard, Kurzweil, Kofax, Microtek, NewSoft, Notable Solutions, Panasonic, Stellent, Toshiba, Verity, Neurascript, Saperion, and SWT. ABBYY Group Headquarters are located in Moscow with offices in Ukraine (ABBYY Ukraine), the USA (ABBYY USA, Fremont, CA), the UK (ABBYY UK, Bishops Stortford, England), and Germany (ABBYY Europe, Munich).

For more information about ABBYY, please visit the company's website at www.ABBYY.com.

ABBYY and FineReader names and logos are registered trademarks of ABBYY Software Ltd. Other product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies and are hereby recognized.

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