OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This technology is employed for converting image or PDF documents in to text with or without formatting. There are many tools which can be employed to get the desired results. But in case you are handling big documents where you would like to preserve the formatting then you should go in for paid services. But if you are looking for free online tools which can handle your requirements then the two websites which comes to my mind are Free Online OCR and Online OCR. Both these tools have some limitations but when you are looking for free services one need to learn to live with these limitations. Online OCR offers wonderful services. Probably best amongst the lot if you limit your file size to 1 MB and using English as the default option. The output can be had in any of the popular formats including MS Word, Excel etc. The beauty of this service is that all formatting like Tables, Columns, Bullets and Graphics appear the same. Converted documents look exactly like the original – tables, columns, bullets and graphics. You enjoy limited privileges without signing up. With signing, you start with 5 credits and fresh credits can be purchased online.
Free Online OCR as the name suggests is free. NewOCR.com can analyze the text in any image file that you upload, and then convert the text from the image into text that you can easily edit on your computer. Unlimited uploads, no registration, layout analysis (multi-column text recognition), 29 languages support, image files (JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, multipage TIFF) up to 5 MB, multipage PDF documents up to 20 MB.