How to Extract Text From An Image?

How to extract text from an image

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Imagine there was an easy way to copy or extract text from an image, scanned document, or PDF file and quickly paste it into another document or chat tool.

The good news is that you don’t have to waste time retyping or searching for the original document. Some programs use magic (aka. Optical Character Recognition (OCR)) to analyze the letters and words in an image and convert them to text.

Anyone who’s ever had to painstakingly copy the words on a screen manually will know just how useful this can be. But, if you’re lucky enough to have never been in such a position, here are some reasons why you might use OCR technology to copy text from an image or PDF:

  • Paste text from a picture or screenshot into Slack, Teams, Word, or any other tool
  • Copy text in an error message, pop-up window, or menu where the text can’t be selected
  • Capture the text in a file directory (filename, file size, date modified, etc.)

Regardless of your situation, this function can be super helpful, especially when you need to copy information about a file or from a screenshot that would otherwise mean you spending lots of time copying the text manually. 

Fortunately, TechSmith’s Snagit makes extracting text from images quick and easy! This means you can capture words or make a mere picture of text editable in just a few steps. 

Snagit is an all-in-one screen capture and recording software that helps you capture your screen and camera, edit screenshots, and share images, GIFs, and videos across a wide range of platforms.

With Snagit, you can even watermark photos, remove backgrounds from pictures and turn images into videos

Here’s everything you need to know about how to extract text from an image on your computer screen using Snagit.

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Download a free trial of Snagit to quickly and easily extract text from images.

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Use a screenshot 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.

how to capture text on Windows or Mac step 1

Step 2: Capture your screen

Start your capture, then use the crosshairs to select the region of your screen with the text you want to copy. Snagit will then analyze the text from your selection and displays the formatted text.

If the font identified isn’t available on your computer, Snagit will substitute it with a similar style.

how to capture text on Windows or Mac step 2

Step 3: Paste your text

Next, select the text you want to copy, or click Copy All, to add it to your clipboard. This will allow you to paste the text into a chat tool, document, presentation, or any other place you can think of.

how to capture text on Windows or Mac step 3

Extract text from an image with OCR

Step 1: Find your image

To capture text from a scanned image, first upload it to the Snagit Editor or take a screenshot on your desktop.

extract text from image step 1

Step 2: Open Grab Text in Snagit

With the image open in Snagit’s Editor, go to the Edit menu and select Grab Text. Alternatively, you can simply right-hand click on the image, and select Grab Text from there instead.

extract text from image step 2

Step 3: Copy your text

Then, copy the text (or click Copy All), and paste it into other programs and applications.

extract text from image

That’s all there is to it! It doesn’t take much effort at all to extract text from pictures, PDFs, or scanned documents when you’ve got Snagit.

Extract text from an image, the FAQs

How can I convert images to text with Snagit?

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.

How do I extract text from an image on Windows?

First, use Snagit to take a screenshot of your image or upload it into the Snagit Editor.
Snagit can use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to detect and extract text from an image on your Windows computers.

How can I extract text from a scanned PDF?

First, open the PDF file and take a screenshot of it using Snagit. Then, in the Snagit Editor, 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.

How can I copy text from an image?

To start, open Snagit’s image capture window. Then, in the selection dropdown, choose Grab Text. Once you’ve taken your screenshot, a box will pop up with all the text from your screenshot, ready to be copied and pasted elsewhere.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.