How to Extract the Text from the Image Using OCR

It is not uncommon nowadays that one needs to transcribe some text from an image or some print media into a digital format. The task can be tedious and annoying when done manually.

Fortunately, there are tools that can do this task for you using optical character recognition (OCR).

What is OCR?

OCR stands for optical character recognition. It is an artificial intelligence-based technology that can recognize characters inside a picture. You can use this technology to convert image to text.

How to Use OCR to Extract Text from Image

There are many tools available online that can do image to text conversion. All of them more or less follow the same design. They have a very simple and user-friendly interface. 

This makes it very easy for people who have no technical knowledge of the process to use it effectively. 

These are some common steps that you can take in order to extract text from an image.

1. Find an Online Tool

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for an online tool.  

First of all, the tool you should use should be free. There are so many free tools available for OCR that it is mind boggling to think someone would pay for one.

The second condition is to use a reliable tool that has a good user interface. There may be many free tools available but not all tools are equally good. So, make sure that you use a good tool. The first few results on Google are usually good.

Once you find a tool that satisfies all the conditions then you can get started with the image to text conversion process.

2. Upload Your Image to the Tool

Most online tools have a very simple button that says “Browse Files” or just “Browse”. Click on that button and a menu will open that shows the files on your system.

In this menu navigate to the image file that you need scanned, select it and press “Ok”.  It will take a second or a little more depending on the size of the image. 

A small preview of the image will be shown before you can proceed to the final step.

Press “Submit” and the results will show up as plain text in the results box.

Alternatively, you can use the link of an image that is on the internet instead of uploading an image from your system. This is more secure as the tool doesn’t get access to your system. However, this feature is not given by every tool.

The steps are the same as above, where once you have given the URL of the image, a small preview will be displayed.

Click on the ‘Submit’ button and the text will be extracted from the image.

3. Download the Results

Once the text has been extracted, you can download it to your device. Based on the tool you are using; you may have different options for doing this. Some tools only allow you to download in basic formats like TXT whereas some can get a bit generous and also allow for formats such as PDF and DOCX.

Things to Remember When Converting Image to Text

There are a few things that you should keep in mind when using OCR tools.

The first thing that you should keep in mind is that these tools do not work well with blurry and hazy images and documents. The text should be clear in order for it to be copied properly.

There are some tools online which excel in recognizing text from blurry pictures, but as a general rule, you should try and upload images that clearly display the text.

The second thing that you should be mindful of is that OCR tools work best on digital text and computerized documents rather than handwritten notes and scribbles.

While some tools do have the ability to copy text from natural and untidy handwriting, there is no guarantee of accuracy.

Conclusion

Extracting text from images is easy. With the help of OCR tools, the whole thing has become even more easier.

In the above post, we discussed how you can use OCR technology to copy text from images and documents.

The process is simple enough, and you should get a hang of it after doing it a couple of times.