If you have any experience with computers, you’ve probably heard of Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This important procedure takes images that have text in them and extracts that text into an editable form.
For instance, Google uses OCR to scan old books and make them available digitally through Google Books. But OCR can be useful to you as a home user too. Let’s take a quick look at an app that makes it easy.
Capturing and Extracting Text Using Easy Screen OCR
Easy Screen OCR is a solid program for grabbing the text from any image on your PC. Head to its homepage and download it, opting for the portable version if you like.
Once installed, you’ll find an icon for the utility in your System Tray. Right-click it to access the program’s few options in the Preferences menu. Here, you can have the program run at startup, play a sound, and change the hotkey for its use.
To start a capture, right-click the icon and choose Capture, or press the hotkey. Your mouse will change to a rainbow color; click and drag over the image you’d like to use. Once you do so, you’ll see a small window in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Click the OCR button to perform the procedure.
After a moment, you’ll see the text from the image appear in the Text tab of the tool. You can then copy this text and paste it wherever you’d like.
This might not be a tool you use all the time, but it’s worth keeping around. For instance, if you ever receive an error message that doesn’t let you copy its text, you can use OCR to easily copy the text for troubleshooting, without typing it all out yourself.
If you need a more advanced OCR software, take a look at our comparison of OneNote and OmniPage.