Imagine there was an easy way to get or extract text out of an image, scanned document, or PDF file and quickly paste it into another document.
The good news is that you no longer have to waste time typing everything out because there are programs that use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to analyze the letters and words in an image, and then convert them to text.
There are a number of reasons why you might want to use the OCR function to copy text from an image or PDF.
- Paste text from a picture or screenshot into Microsoft Office or another document.
- Capture text in an error message, pop-up window or menu where text can’t be selected.
- Capture the text in a file directory (filename, file size, date modified).
Regardless of your situation, this type of functionality can be helpful, especially when you need to copy information from a file folder or screenshot of a website that typically would require you to spend a significant amount of time retyping all of the text.
Luckily, there’s a dead-simple way to capture text or convert a picture of text to editable text. With Snagit, it only takes a few steps to quickly grab text from an image.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to capture text off your computer screen or pull text out of an image.
How to capture text on Windows or Mac
Step 1: Set up your capture settings
To capture text, open the Capture Window, select the Image tab, and set the selection to Grab Text.
You can also speed things up by using the Grab Text Preset.
Step 2: Capture your screen
Initiate your capture, then use the crosshairs to select the region of your screen with the text that you want.
Snagit analyzes the text from your selection and displays the formatted text.
If the font identified is not installed on your computer, Snagit will substitute it with a system font of similar style.
Select the text you want to copy or click Copy All… to copy all of the text to your clipboard.
Step 3: Paste your text
Finally, you can paste the text into a document, presentation, or any other destination.
Image to Text: How to extract text from an image with OCR
Step 1: Find your image
You can capture text from a scanned image, upload your image file from your computer, or take a screenshot on your desktop.
Step 2: Open Grab Text in Snagit
With the image open in Snagit’s Editor, go to the Edit menu and select Grab Text.
Or, simply right- or control-click on the image, and select Grab Text.
Step 3: Copy your text
Then copy the text and paste it into other programs and applications.
And that’s it. It doesn’t take much effort at all to extract text from pictures, PDFs, or scanned documents.
Frequently asked questions
Upload your image into Snagit. Then right-click anywhere on the image and choose Grab Text. This scans your image and converts it to text.
First, use Snagit to take a screenshot of your image or upload it into the editor.
Snagit uses Optical Character Recognition software, or OCR, to recognize and extract the text from your image on your Windows computer.
If you have a hand-printed document, take a picture of it or scan it to get a digital copy on your computer. Then upload your image to Snagit.
Next, right-click anywhere on the image and choose Grab Text. Snagit will do its best to copy text from your handwritten image. The more clear your handwriting, the better the results will be.
You can capture text from a scanned image, upload your image file from your computer, or take a screenshot on your desktop. Then simply right click on the image, and select Grab Text.
The text from your scanned PDF can then be copied and pasted into other programs and applications.
Use Snagit’s image capture window. Then, in the selection dropdown, choose Grab Text. When complete, a box pops up with all of the text, ready to copy and paste.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.