Question: What is the cheapest way to convert a scanned text image into a real text doc?
Answer:To convert a scanned document into text requires the use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The cheapest way to do the conversion is to use software that you already own that has this capability (if you have any). Otherwise you will have to buy software to do this. Cheaper software may not be as effective at correctly interpreting the characters so you may have to make a lot more corrections with cheap software than with more expensive software so it depends on how much you think your time is worth.
Check out this list of OCR software in the public domain (which means that it is free). I don't know if any of it will suit you or even if it actually works but it's worth a look.
Other OCR software includes:
Yahoo also have a directory listing of sites offering OCR software.
There is also software that is primarily intended to perform other tasks but which can also perform OCR. One example of such software is Adobe Acrobat (the full version not the reader) which can scan documents and convert them into PDF documents. Using the built-in OCR you can convert to text within the document.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.