Want to scan and copy text from an image? This article shows three free and easy ways to copy text from any offline or online image.
Recently, I had to create an editable soft document of my old paper document. Though I can easily type all the text in just a few minutes, I want to make it a bit easier.
How, you ask?
It’s simple, copy the text from the picture and paste it into a text file or document. This alleviates the problem of manually typing all the text and speeds up the entire process.
If you are wondering, you can copy words from an image using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.
For a long time now, Windows has had a pretty good built-in OCR API. Though Microsoft did not create any apps for scanning images and copying text from them, there are quite a few free software that can do the job.
This guide shows three easy ways to copy text from images in Windows and Chrome browser. These methods work with both offline and online images.
Table of contents:
- Use PowerToys to copy text from an image
- Copy text from an image Chrome extension
- Use the Text Grab app to copy text from an image
The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.
Use PowerToys to copy text from an image
PowerToys is a free application from Microsoft apps that add additional functionality to Windows through specific tools. One such tool in PowerToys is the “Text Extractor.” As the name implies, you can extract text from any image. Let me show you how to use it.
- Get PowerToys from the official page.
- Open PowerToys from the Start menu.
- Go to the “Text Extractor” page on the left panel.
- Turn on the “Enable Text Extractor” option.
- Minimize or close PowerToys.
- Open the image with text.
- Press the “Win + Shift + T” shortcut.
- Drag and release the cursor over the image text.
- The text is immediately extracted and copied to the clipboard.
- You can paste the copied text into any file.
PowerToys download link: https://github.com/microsoft/PowerToys/releases
Steps with more details:
If you haven’t installed PowerToys yet, install it. Next, open it from the Start menu.
After opening the PowerToys application, you must enable the Text Extractor tool. To do that, select “Text Extractor” on the sidebar and turn on the “Enable Text Extractor” option.
Now, minimize or close the PowerToys application.
Next, open the image with text. After that, press the “Win + Shift + T” keyboard shortcut. It will instantly launch the Text Extractor utility.
Use your mouse cursor to select the text. Once selected, the text is instantly extracted and copied to the clipboard.
You can now paste the copied text anywhere you want.
Copy text from an image Chrome extension
There is an extension for everything in Chrome. Extracting and copying from an image is nothing different. If you want to extract text from an online image, you can use a free extension called Project Naptha. Here’s how to do it.
- Open the Chrome browser.
- Get the “Project Naptha” extension.
- Open the image with text in Chrome.
- Use your mouse to select the text you want to copy.
- Press the “Ctrl + C” shortcut to copy text from the image.
- Selecting the text and right-clicking shows additional options.
Steps with more details:
First, open the Chrome browser. After that, install the Project Naptha extension.
After installing the extension, you can start using it. There is no need to configure it. In fact, the extension has no settings page. To grab text from an image, open the image and use the mouse cursor to select the text.
After selecting, press the “Ctrl + C” shortcut to copy the text from the image to the clipboard. Once copied, you can paste it anywhere you want.
Right-clicking on the image while the text is selected shown additional options to translate, copy, and more.
Use the Text Grab app to copy text from an image
If you want an app with more features and an accurate text grab, then you should try Text Grab. It uses the built-in OCR API to grab text from any image or picture. It also has additional options to customize how it works. Let me show you how to use it to get the job done.
Text Grab GitHub link: https://github.com/TheJoeFin/Text-Grab/releases/tag/v3.0
Text Grab Microsoft Store link: https://apps.microsoft.com/store/detail/text-grab/9MZNKQJ7SL0B
Download Text Grab for free from its official GitHub page. If you want to support the developer, download it from the Microsoft Store for five dollars.
After downloading, double-click the .exe file. It will show the intro window. Scroll down and select the “Run Text Grab in the background” option. Enabling this option allows Text Grab to run in the background.
Now, open the image with the text you want to copy. In my case, I’m opening the image with the Photos app.
After opening the image, press the “Win + Shift + F” keyboard shortcut.
It will trigger the full-screen text grab. Drag the cursor over the image text you want to copy and release it.
The text is automatically copied to the clipboard as soon as you release it. You will also see a notification of the same. You can page the copied text in Notepad or any other application.
Clicking the notification icon opens the edit window where you can edit the text.
Wrapping up – Copy text from an image
As you can see, you can easily extract text from any image and copy it to the clipboard. That said, no OCR software is perfect and will always have some quirks you need to watch out for.
For example, the copied text is unformatted, i.e., without styling. In addition to that, the OCR may not recognize some characters and misspell them while pasting due to poor image quality.
Simply put, watch out for errors while using any OCR application. In general, I always recommend you read and double-check the pasted text to make sure there are no errors.
That is all. It is that simple to copy text from a picture or image.
I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.