How to Copy Text from Images in Windows 10 (free OCR)

Need to scan an image and copy text from it? You are in luck, follow these steps to copy text from images in Windows with a built-in OCR API.

Recently, I had to create an editable soft document of my old paper document. Though I can easily type all the text as needed in just a few minutes, there is an easier way to do it. That is, you can use copy all the text from an image and paste it into a text file or document of your choice. This not only alleviates the problem of manually typing but also speeds up the entire process. In case you are wondering, you can copy text from images using the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.

For a long time now, Windows has a built-in OCR API that is pretty good. Though Microsoft did not create any apps for scanning images and copying text from them, there are quite a few free third-party applications that can do the job.

In this guide, let me take you through the steps to copy text from images in Windows 10.

How to copy text from images

To copy the text from an image, we are going to use a free and open-source app called Text Grab. One of the awesome features of the app is that it is really easy to use. In fact, there is no UI (User Interface) or settings to manage. Just select the text on the image and it will be immediately copied to your clipboard. Here’s how you can do it.

1. Install Text Grab from Microsoft Store. This is the first thing you need to do to copy the text from an image. To install the app click on the link, and then click on the Get/Install button.

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2. Open the image with the text you want to copy in the image viewer of your choice. In my case, I’m opening the image with the Photos app.

3. After opening the image, open the Start menu, search for “Text Grab” and press Enter.

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4. You will see a Pen icon as your cursor on the screen. Drag the pen icon over the text you want to copy and release it.

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5. As soon as you release it, the text is automatically copied to the clipboard.

6. You can paste the copied text in any text file or other documents.

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That is it. It is that simple.

One thing to keep in mind is that the copied text will be unformatted. That is, if the text in the image has any sort of styling, the app will ignore it. In addition to that, the OCR may not recognize some characters and misspell them while pasting. So, you need to watch out for them. In general, I always recommend you read and double-check the pasted text to make sure there are no errors.

Wrapping up: Copy text from image in Windows

As you can see, with some simple steps, you can easily extract text from images and copy it to the clipboard to get the work done. As I said earlier, no matter the application you are using, the OCR will always have some quirks that you need to watch out for. Other than that, it is pretty good. After all, when you have a ton of text in an image, using OCR beats manually writing it.

I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

2 thoughts on “How to Copy Text from Images in Windows 10 (free OCR)”

  1. But – – is the “copied” text changed to the same text type as the document it is copied to? Then can that copied text be changed such as change color to colour or add (insert) a word or a Picture etc.. how much more does it do than just doing a screen print, crop insert?
    It could of course be a problem by changing a quieted article meaning. As when converting a PDF article to “Word” opening the editable version. Change “will pay a fee” to “will not pay a free”.

    1. That depends on the application in which you are editing the document. For example, if you are using Word, it has an option under “Right-click → Paste” called “Merge formatting” that automatically transforms the pasted text into whatever the current document or paragraph text style is.

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