Do you want from image to text? Use these tools

In this article, we introduce you in a nutshell two lesser-known free tools around the same theme: what can you do with this freeware and how do you go about it? We focus on ‘optical character recognition’ (ocr), a technique in which characters and related characters from a scan, screen image or photo are extracted and converted into editable text. We will limit ourselves here to desktop tools for Windows. This is how you convert image to text.


We assume here that you do not have a scanner with ocr software and that you therefore have to look out for other tools, such as Capture2Text. You can use this to define a screen area after which you place the recognized text in the clipboard, with or without automatic translation.

Download the version for your system (32 bit or 64 bit) and extract the zip file. By default there is support for 7 languages, but for Dutch you first need a dictionary ( downloadable from this website. Extract the contents to the tessdata subfolder and then double click Capture2Text.exe.

Right click on the program icon in the Windowssystem tray and choose Settings. Bee OCR 1 imagine Slot 1 (for example) in on Dutch, Slot 2 on English and so on. In the section Translate set your preferred machine translation (by Google), for example Bee Dutch and Dutch Bee English. Optionally, you place a check mark Append translation to clipboard and / or at Show translation in popup window. Also take a look Hotkeys: the shortcut for Start OCR Capture is Win + Q.

To create a screen image, place the cursor in the top left corner, press Win + Q and draw a frame with the mouse. Confirm with Enter: you will then see the editable text (including translation) and you can paste it into your document with Ctrl + V.

On the left the original text image, on the right the editable text with the machine translation.

Photo Scan

Photo Scan is a so called uwp (Universal Windows Platform) app that you can download from the Microsoft Store. This app can recognize a text image from a photo file, from an image in the clipboard or directly from your webcam (for example, where you have presented a menu).

Install the tool and run it. You do well first Settings to open. To scan a text in a language other than your current system language, delete in the section General the check mark Use Current Language and choose the target language. If it is not included, click on Can’t find your Language, confirm with Yes and add the (preferred) language to Windows.

Back at Photo Scan, three options are available: Browse Photo, Use Camera and From Clipboard. Let’s Browse Photo Take as an example. Browse to a suitable image file (such as jpg, png,…) – this can also be a screenshot – and open it. You can also rotate and crop the image. The result appears on the right as editable text. There is even a Speech button available that reads the text to you. Copy the text to the clipboard with Copy All or save it with Save (as html, txt and so on).

Photo Scan manages to capture a clear text image quite well.

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