This Google Keep Trick Will Make You a Better Reader

Saikat Basu 11-12-2017

True book lovers know which side they are on in the printed books vs. ebooks debate. For the sake of our reading pleasure, let’s say that both have their advantages and disadvantages.


Digital books and ereaders have one clear advantage: they make it easy to highlight and collect information with a swipe. If you love to curate wisdom and remember what you read How to Remember What You Read Using Simple Tools Reading more won't do you any good if you can't retain anything that you read. Use these tips when you find it difficult to remember what you read. Read More , then annotation and highlighters are God-sent. But how can you collect wisdom from a physical book?

Use Google Keep as an Idea Index

Google Keep is the free note-taking powerhouse that hides a few wonderful possibilities behind its Post-It like interface. It is available on the web and as an Android or iOS app.

Google Keep supports Optical Character Recognition (OCR). It’s the feature we will use to grab text from a book. Yes, you can type the ideas or quotes from a book, but it’s far easier (and quicker) to use the transcribe feature of Google Keep. There are two ways you can go about it.

  1. Use the phone’s built-in camera app. Then, use the share menu to export images to Google Keep. This method allows you to send images in bulk. Also, you can crop away the unnecessary part and keep the only the snippet you want from the book.
  2. Take a photo directly in Google Keep app. Press the Camera icon and create an image note. The Google Keep camera does not have a Crop tool. This leaves you with the job of cleaning up all the extra transcribed text from the scanned photo manually.

Google Keep Take a Photo

Try both methods and see which works for you. Fit the book text in the landscape view if the portrait position does not work. Snap the photo. Now the image is in the note.


Capture the image text with the Google Keep OCR process:

Grab Image Text

  1. Tap on the note with the image that you want to edit.
  2. Tap the note’s image.
  3. Tap More (the three vertical dots on the top right).
  4. Tap Grab image text.
  5. Tap on the back arrow to save and close the note.

You can delete the image afterward or keep it. Organize your Google Keep “idea index” with labels and colors. I usually color the latest ones with red and then turn them green when I manage to retain the information.

Have you used Google Keep to become a better learner or reader? What is your favorite use for the humblest among all of Google’s tools?

Related topics: Google Keep, Note-Taking Apps, Reading.

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  1. Tiago M.
    January 24, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I use Google Keep for my GTD lists. I color code the notes to add more options: Yellow for next action list (and labels become contexts), orange for project list, dark blue for support material, gray for reference material, light blue for someday/maybe items, red for delegated actions / projects. For more complex / heavy reference material, I use Google Drive. Then I copy and paste the Google Drive folder link inside the Keep note.

  2. Chris $Man
    December 13, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Fantastic read! Thanks for sharing.

    I use Google Keep for my ideas list - ideas as a teacher, ideas for family activities, etc. I'm thinking of something on the go, and I can jot it down behind my computer or phone. Love it.

    • Saikat Basu
      December 18, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks, Chris. Try the voice memo. Works on the go for quick capture.

  3. Cris
    December 11, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I use google keep on project management to work and shoping.

  4. Diane M. Walsh-Siino
    December 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Shopping list. Check boxes maintain item in separate area. Also easy to reorganize list.

    Use this for to-do lists, reminders, and many other things.

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