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Picture to Text: 4 ways to copy text from image

Are you looking for a simple way you can extract and copy text on an image file?

Just like scanned pdfs, you cannot just select and copy the text on an image.

However, there are lots of tricks and free tools that will allow you to extract text from any image.

In this tutorial, I am going to show you 4 amazing tricks you can use to handle this task.

Without any further ado, let’s see the various options and how they word.

How to extract or copy text from a picture

Before I show you the way, I’ll like you to know that there is no image to text converter that can handle blurry and dark pictures. So, if you want a clean extract, ensure that your images are not blurry or dark. Also, make sure that the pictures are not flipped upside down. This way, you’ll be able to extract accurate text from your image.

I am sure you already have your image ready.

Below is the image I am going to use throughout this tutorial:

Picture with text

Discussed below are therefore the 4 available methods you can use to copy text from any image.

#1: Copy Text from Image Using OneNote

One of the easiest ways you can copy text from any image is to use the Microsoft OneNote app.

It has a very amazing feature that allows you to simply right click on the image and copies any text from that image.

If you have Microsoft Office, then you should have OneNote included in the package.

To check whether your computer has OneNote, perform a quick search on your Windows PC for this keyword “One Note”.

Search for OneNote

If you don’t have OneNote on your PC, I think now is the time to go get it installed. Or just explore the other options.

Once you confirm that you have OneNote on your PC, obey the instructions below on how to use this app to copy text from your image file.

  • Open OneNote.
  • Using your Microsoft Account, sign in to the app.

If you are opening this app for the first time, you may be asked to sign in with your Microsoft Account. If you are already logged in to the other office apps, you may not see this sign-in window.

And once you sign in, you will see a screenshot like the one below:

copy text from image wtih OneNote
  • Select the Add Page button located on right pane at the top right section.

This will add a new page to your notes.

Add a new page to OneNote
  • Click to place the insertion pointer inside the body section of the new page.
Click inside the body area
  • On the Ribbon, go to Insert > Images > Picture.

Navigate to the location of your picture and insert it into your One Note document.

Add the picture to OneNote

The picture should be inserted as seen on the screenshot below:

picture inserted in OneNote
  • Right click on the image you just inserted and select Copy Text from Picture.
Right-click on the image and select "Copy Text from Picture"

The text on the picture will be copied.

To verify this, simply add a new page and paste it there. Or open upyour notepad and press Ctrl+V to paste.

The screenshot below shows the text I copied on my image.

Right-click on the image and select "Copy Text from Picture"

At this point, you can switch over to your favorite text editor (like Word or NotePad) and paste the text there.

You can now use this method to copy text from as many images as you like.

OneNote copy text from picture not available

In some cases, the Copy Text from Picture may not be available when you right click. If that is you, try the following fixes:

  • Fix #1: For Mac users, you should Ctrl+click on the picture (or right-click with your mouse).
  • Fix #2: Confirm that you are not using Office 365 account. Unfortunately, Microsoft Office 365 does not support yet the OCR technology that detects and copy text from images. To check whether you are using Office 365 or not, click on the File tab and in the New dashboard, check if you see OneDrive or Office 365|OneDrive.
  • Fix #3: If you are not using Office 365 account, click somewhere on the page that contains the image and edit something. The changes on the page will force the copy to text feature to process. This may take a while, say 10 minutes or even more.
  • Fix #4: If this doesn’t work either, right-click on the image and use the Save As… button to save the image onto your computer. Then add a new page and using Insert>Images>Picture on the ribbon, insert the image and try again.

I hope that one of these solutions will fix your “OneNote copy text from picture not available” problem.

Also, you can try the other methods discussed below.

#2: copy text from image online

This option is the fastest way to extract text from images.

It involved using an online tool that is designed purposefully for this function. This tells you how effective that can be.

There are several online converters that can extract the text from any image, provided there are writings on that image.

The best tool out there is Obey the following instructions on how to use this tool.

  • Go to Online with your favorite web browser.
  • Use the Select file… button to select the picture that has the text you want to copy or extract.
  • Select the language and out format and then click on the Convert button. As at the time of this writing, this tool supports three output formats which are Microsoft Word, Excel and Plain text format.
copy text from image online

After a while you should get your output file ready plus the extracted text in a text box. You now select and copy the text or just download the output file.

Online tool extracted text from the picture

This is how you may use this online image to text converter to extract text from any picture.

#3: Extract Text from Picture Using Word

Another simple way to extract text from an image without using any specialized software is to go with Microsoft Word. This option, when done right, can be the best way for you.

It’s very simple at the same time complicated depending on the quality of your image.

Let’s see.

First, open Word and insert the picture from which you want to copy the text and save the document as PDF. Inside Microsoft Word, press Ctrl+O and open the pdf file you saved with the image. Word will show you a messaging saying that your pdf will convert to an editable format, click OK to accept. Then select and copy your text.

Obey the following steps if you want a detailed guide on this one.

  • Open Microsoft Word and insert the picture from which you want to extract the text.

To insert a picture in Word, On the insert tap click Pictures in the Illustrations group. A file explorer will show up. Use this file explorer to locate and insert the image with the text.

Below is a screenshot of the picture I inserted.

Insert the picture into Word
  • Edit the picture within your Word document.

This step is not compulsory. However, it is necessary especially if your image is not clear. It’s just to make sure the exact words are copied from the image. If you believe that your picture is clear enough you can skip this step.

If you have a not so clear picture, obey the following tips to edit and brighten it:

Edit 1:

Crop out all unimportant edges of the picture, especially if it contains sharp edges or if the edges are not part of the paper.

To crop a picture in Word, first click to select the picture. The Picture Tools Design tab will appear on the ribbon, go to this tab in the Size group and click the Crop icon.

Cropping picture in Word

Edit 2:

Increase the picture brightness if the picture is dark.

To increase the brightness of a picture, click on it and the Picture Tools Design tab will appear. Go to this tab and select Corrections in the Adjust group and play with the brightness levels. Select the brightness setting that will brighten the background behind the picture.

Make a picture bright in Word

Very Important: don’t adjust the brightness to a level that will make the text on the picture invisible. Just do your best and leave the rest.

Edit 3:

Enlarge the picture and spread it to fit the page. Ignore this step if the text becomes over blurry with this adjustment. However, if enlarging the picture doesn’t cause the text to be too blurry, proceed to make the image fill the entire page including the margins.

To spread a picture in Word, click on it and using the edge controls, drag and spread the picture to fill the page. If the picture misbehaves when you try to spread it, right-click on it and select Wrap Text > In Front of Text.

Screenshot below shows my final adjusted image inside Word.

adjusting the size of the image in Word

 After adjusting the image, proceed to the next step.

  • Save the document as pdf after you’ve inserted and adjusted the picture.

To save a Word document as a PDF file, go to File>Save As and select the folder where you want to save it. The Save As window will appear, give the file a name and select PDF in the Save as Type. Alternatively, Go to File>Export and select Create PDF/XPS to convert the Word file to a pdf.

To do so, go to your Word document, press Ctrl+O to switch to the open document dashboard. Alternatively, go to File>Open then open the folder that contains the PDF you just converted. If you can’t see the folder, use the browse file explorer. Then locate and open the new PDF file.

Another way to open the pdf file in Word is to right-click on the file and go to Open With > Word.

Word will prompt you with this information that says that your PDF will be converted to an editable Word document. Click on the OK button of this dialog to begin the conversion process.

Converting PDF to Word

In just some few seconds, the document will be converted to an editable Microsoft Word document.

The screenshot below shows the result I got. It’s perfectly the same text on the image with the same formatting and paragraph settings.

Word extracted the text from the image

#4: Using Google Docs and Adobe Acrobat Pro

You can also copy text from any image with Google Docs or Adobe Acrobat Pro.

This uses the same technique we used with Microsoft Word.

As you may already know, scanned pdfs are really images that’s why they can’t be edited. So, if you insert an image with text into Word and save it as a pdf, it will be the same as a scanned pdf.

That’s the trick here. Just convert the image to pdf then to editable Word as explained below.

To extract text from an image using Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, first of all, open Word and insert the image file. Then save the Word document as a pdf. Now open the converted pdf with Adobe Acrobat Pro and use its Export PDF tool to convert it back into Word.

Related Link: How to copy text from scanned pdf.

If you also want to use Google Docs, just convert the image to a pdf file and open it in Google Docs, it’ll automatically convert the file to text.

Which was your favorite method.

Let me know in the comments section below.


Wednesday 5th of October 2022

I have Windows 10 and the OneNote option worked great for me! The Word-> adobe -> word process kept messing up my text.

Abarika Abdulai

Wednesday 5th of October 2022

I'm glad it worked. Thanks for the feedback


Friday 1st of July 2022

The OneNote instructions don't work because there isn't an option to copy text from a picture in OneNote for Windows 10.

Abarika Abdulai

Friday 1st of July 2022

Please which version of MS Office are you using? I also use Windows 10 and it works just fine.