Android Productivity

6 Best Android OCR Apps for Extracting Text From Images

Abhishek Kurve 26-09-2017

Do you need to digitize any printed text so you can maintain a soft copy of it? After all, there are a lot of advantages to going paperless Going Paperless: Pros, Cons, and Digital Workarounds The paperless office is a minimalist's dream come true. As we explore the pros and cons, we equip you with the tools for a smooth transition. Read More . If so, all you need is an optical character recognition (OCR) tool.


We’ve covered several online OCR tools 4 Free Online OCR Tools Put to the Ultimate Test With advances in OCR technology, converting text and Images from your scanned PDF document into the editable text formats is easier. We tested a few free online OCR tools so you won't have to. Read More in the past, but nothing really beats the convenience of being able to digitize documents right from your Android phone. Before diving into the best OCR tools for Android, let’s have a look at how we tested them.

Our Testing Methodology

We scanned various excerpts from Steve Jobs’s biography by Walter Isaacson. First, we scanned the excerpts with a simple formatting.

Next, we scanned extracts from the pages that had a little trickier formatting. Only a handful of apps support extracting text from the handwritten text, so we tested handwritten notes with cursive writing Free Handwriting Worksheets to Practice Cursive Writing Practice cursive writing with these handy apps. Research suggests that writing in cursive has cognitive benefits that are overlooked in the digital age. Read More . The scans were performed under well-lit ambient conditions. Finally, these documents were run under some of the best OCR tools for Android. This is how they performed.

1. Google Keep

best ocr apps android extract text

The excellent note-taking app from Google packs in some neat tricks 4 Google Keep Tips And Tricks For Better Notes, Lists And To-Dos Read More and has a lot of creative uses. 10 Creative Ways to Use Google Keep Every Day Google Keep is a simple note-taking app. But its simplicity hides its usefulness. Here are ten tips and ideas to use Google Keep for the little everyday things in life. Read More It also has built-in support for OCR. In our testing, we found that Google Keep’s text extraction worked pretty consistently across both simple and complex text formatting. It also preserves the original text formatting to a great extent.


Instructions for text extraction:

  1. Add a new note and tap on the + icon.
  2. Select Take photo to scan a document from the camera or select Choose image to import an image from your Gallery.
  3. Open the picture, tap on the three-dot overflow menu and select Grab image text.

The text should be extracted in a few seconds. Perhaps the best thing is that the text note will be synced across all your devices automatically, so you can scan a document on your Android phone and edit it later on your computer.

Download: Google Keep (Free)

2. Text Scanner [OCR]

best ocr apps android extract text


Text Scanner [OCR] came in a close second to Google Keep in our testing. The app claims to support over 50 languages including Chinese, Japanese, French, and more. It even supports extracting text from handwritten text. The app interface features essential scanning functionalities like magnification and a brightness slider to capture text in the clearest way possible.

In our testing, it had no problem extracting text, though extracting text from handwritten notes seemed to be its Achilles heel. But that’s not surprising, since handwriting can vary greatly 15 Free Handwriting Fonts You Should Download Now Whether you're creating an infographic or coming up with a logo, you may be in need of a good handwriting font. Check these out! They're some of the best for free. Read More from person to person. However, it’s still one of the few apps that actually supports extracting text from handwritten notes, so it’s worth a try.

Instructions for text extraction:

  1. Tap on the blue shutter button to capture and scan the document. Alternatively, you can also import an existing image by clicking on the Gallery icon.

The extracted text should now be displayed. From here, you can make edits to the text, copy it, or share it with third-party apps.


Download: Text Scanner [OCR] (Free with ads)

3. Text Fairy

best ocr apps android extract text

Text Fairy is yet another decent image extraction tool for Android capable of recognizing text from over 50 languages including Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, French, and more. It comes with support for a lot of Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, etc. You will be asked to download the required languages on the app’s first run.

It scanned our test document without any errors but had troubles when recognizing text from a page that included a couple of images. It straight up mentions that it has some problems recognizing colorful letters. Also, it’s worth mentioning that there are a lot of manual steps involved before scanning a document, making it unsuitable for batch scanning. It’s best to limit its use to scanning books and magazines with a simple layout.


Instructions for text extraction:

  1. Tap on the Camera icon to capture an image. Alternatively, tap on the Gallery icon to import a picture from the Gallery.
  2. Choose the image section you’d like to scan. Tap on the forward arrow to proceed.
  3. Select whether the layout of the document is one-column or two-column.
  4. Choose the language of the text.
  5. Finally, tap Start.

If everything goes alright, the text should be extracted and you can now edit or copy it to anywhere you like.

Download: Text Fairy (Free)

4. Office Lens

best ocr apps android extract text

Office Lens is Microsoft’s take on bringing a portable scanning app to Android devices. Its headline feature is the ability to scan and digitize documents, but it also comes with a handy OCR option. It’s included as a premium option, but you can get it for free by signing up for a free Microsoft account. Signing up also unlocks other features like 5GB of free OneDrive storage and the ability to save in multiple formats.

In our testing, Office Lens came across as one of the best apps when it comes to recognizing text from an image. It seems to have no problem whatsoever in identifying even colorful fonts. Also, it’s hands-down the best Android OCR app for recognizing text from handwritten notes. It integrates tightly with Microsoft’s other products like OneNote and Office 365. If you swear by Microsoft’s ecosystem Microsoft Office What? A Guide to the Office Suite Ecosystem Everyone knows what Microsoft Office is, right? Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote -- simple. What about Office Online, Office Mobile, Office 2016, and Office 365? The Office suite has become complex. We'll unravel it for... Read More , it’s a no-brainer to use Office Lens.

Instructions for text extraction:

  1. Open Office Lens and point the camera to the document you wish to scan. It automatically detects the section of the image with text, but you can manually adjust it. Press the Camera shutter button.
  2. Tap Save.
  3. In the “Save to” section, check Word document and tap the Check icon.

Once open, you can make any necessary edits.

Download: Office Lens (Free)

5. OCR Text Scanner

best ocr apps android extract text

OCR Text Scanner features a simplified interface and supports over 55 languages including English, French, Italian, Swedish and more. In our testing, it seemed to work mostly fine on documents, although it missed a word or two in various places. It cannot grab image text from handwritten notes. It’s also riddled with ads, so you’ll have to wait for about five seconds between each scan.

Instructions for text extraction:

  1. Tap the Camera icon to scan a document. To import a document from the gallery, tap on the three-dot overflow button and then tap Import.
  2. Select the language of the document and tap Grab Image Text.

It should display the extracted text. You can easily copy or share the text from here.

Download: OCR Text Scanner (Free with ads)

6. CamScanner

best ocr apps android extract text

CamScanner has been one of our favorite apps to scan documents on your phone The Best Receipt Apps for Scanning, Tracking, and Managing Bills These receipt scanner apps will help you scan, save, and organize every bill for your personal or business needs. Read More for a while. But oddly, its OCR functionality is pretty hit-or-miss. In our testing, it often missed certain words or misspelled them. It’s not extraordinarily bad, but the apps mentioned above generally delivered better results. One great thing about it is that it can batch process documents. Unlike some other apps, it doesn’t require much manual setup before scanning a document.

The free version of CamScanner allows you to view the text as read-only, so, of course, you’ll have to upgrade to the premium version to edit the extracted text.

Instructions for text extraction:

  1. Tap the Camera icon to scan a document using your device’s camera. To import a picture from your Gallery, tap on the overflow menu and select Import from Gallery.
  2. Open the image and tap on Recognize.
  3. You can tap Recognize full page to extract text from the whole image, or tap Select an area to extract text from a particular section.

Download: CamScanner (Free, Full)

How Do You Extract Text?

Remember that no OCR tool is 100 percent reliable when it comes to extracting text. It’s always recommended that you edit and proofread your documents 5 Clever Writing Tools to Proofread Important Documents Good writing comes with any job. You need to make an impression with every email and all documents you send. You don't need to be an excellent writer as these tools help you out. Read More before saving them. Google Keep has worked pretty consistently for digitizing my documents, and Office Lens has worked great for digitizing my handwritten notes.

However, your mileage may vary depending on the text style of the document or its language, so it’s best to check out all the apps and see what works best for you.

What app do you prefer to extract text from your documents? If your favorite app is missing from the list, let us know about it in the comments below.

Image Credit: guteksk7/Depositphotos

Related topics: Android, File Management, OCR.

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  1. Igor Strelnikov
    October 2, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I use "FineScanner Pro" by the ABBYY's. Simple and maghty in work.

  2. Jim
    September 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I second the now about ScanBot... It works very well. Another option that does handwriting well is the built in OCR for Evernote.

  3. Mike
    September 27, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I have been using Scanbot to scan my documents into searchable PDFs. It can sync them to almost any cloud storage service. It tries to automatically detect corners of a page, which usually gets it right in good conditions and can be manually adjusted in poor conditions.

    • Abhishek Kurve
      September 29, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      I just tried out Scanbot. It's pretty decent. It has trouble detecting handwritten text, though. Other than that, pretty solid!

  4. R Doyle
    September 26, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I use Google Keep ALL the time and never knew this. Thanks for the great tip!

    • Abhishek Kurve
      September 29, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Hey! Glad you found it useful!