How to Copy Text From a Picture [3 Easy Ways]

Often times we come across a text in an image that we wish to copy. Whether it’s plain text, phone number, an email, or even full paragraphs of writing, having the option to extract text from an image is very handy. Extracting the text from the image takes a fraction of the time it would take to retype the data manually.

This article will discuss three ways to extract text from an image on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Read on to learn how to copy text from a picture easily.

How to Extract Text From Image Using a Free Online Service

There are a lot of free websites that allow you to extract text from images online. The best part is that you can use this service on virtually any device with a browser application. So it’s an easy way to improve your productivity on macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.

For this demonstration, we will be using onlineocr.net.

Here are the steps you need to follow to pull text from an image:

How to copy text from a picture with onlineocr.net
  1. Visit the website at onlineocr.net
  2. Click on the blue Select file button. This will open the file browser on your device. Choose the image or the PDF file and press Open.
  3. Choose the target language and the format you want the output to be.
  4. Click on Convert.

The text will be shown under the options and a button that allows you to download the file locally. This same service can be used to convert a PDF file to text.

How to Copy Words From a Picture Using Google Lens

By using the Lens technology by Google, you can easily get text from images without much effort. Google Lens, Keep, and Photos can be used to copy text from image and essentially work the same way. These applications are available on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.

Here are the steps you need to follow to do this:

How to copy text from a picture with Google Lens
  1. In the Google Lens application, click on the image.
  2. Click on Text in the pill-shaped icon in the main toolbar.
  3. In the secondary menu at the bottom, click on Select all. This will highlight all the text in the image.
  4. You can use the blue cursors to adjust the text you wish to copy.
  5. Click on Copy text to copy the text to your device’s clipboard.
  6. Paste the text to the application or file of your liking.

The best part of using this text extraction from images method is that it works fairly well on handwritten text. However, minor errors are to be expected.

How to Copy Text From Image Using Live Text in iOS15

Apple introduced the handy live text feature with their iOS 15 update that allows you to grab text from images and perform some other amazing functions like making calls, sending an email, translating one language to another, and making web searches.

We discussed Google Lens, which is also available on iOS, but  Apple has built this functionality into the operating system, making it much smoother and easier to use.

The Live text feature works on some of the newer iPhone models, from iPhone 11 and onwards and iPhone XR and XS. Live text is currently unavailable on the iPhone X.

You will need to update to iOS 15 or above to use the Live text feature. To do this, head into the Settings and go to General. Click on Software Update to check for updates and install the latest one if available.

Lastly, Live Text only supports English, French, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Spanish at the time of the publishing of this article.

To use Live Text functionality on your iOS device, you first need to enable it. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings of the device.
  2. Click on General.
  3. Scroll down to find Language & Region and press it.
  4. Turn on the Live text feature there if it’s off.

How to Copy and Paste Words From a Picture in iOS

To copy text from a picture, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Photos application and head over to the image you wish to scan.
  2. Press down and hold on to any word in the image till it’s selected. A menu will appear above it.
  3. Drag the cursors around to select the words you want to copy.
  4. Click on Copy to copy the text to the clipboard. Alternatively, you can click on Select All and Copy to select all the text in the image.
  5. Open the application where you wish to paste the text.
  6. Click and hold the text box till the dialog box appears.
  7. Click on Paste to paste the text.

You can also use this method to make a call to a number. Follow the same process to highlight the number. A dialog box will show up, prompting you to make the call to that number. Similarly, if you scan a website, you can tap on it in the dialog box to visit it. If the text is in a different language:

  1. Open the image and press and hold the text to select it.
  2. Tap the arrow in the dialog box and click on Translate.
  3. Click on Change Language and then Play to listen to the text and its translation. You can also click on Copy translation to copy it to your clipboard.

How to Copy Text From a Picture Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Convert Image to Text?

There are multiple ways in which you can take text from image. The easiest way is to use an online free text extraction from an image website. All you have to do is upload the image and click on the Process button, and you will have the text document ready to download.

You can also use Google Lens to extract the text from an image with the added benefit of handwriting recognition.

How Can I Extract Text From a Scanned PDF?

To extract text from a PDF, you can use various free online websites (such as Online OCR) that can get the text from a PDF in seconds.

How Do I Extract Text From an Image in Windows?

The best way to do this is to use a text conversion website. You can upload your image or PDF file there, and the service can take care of the rest. You will be presented with the text as soon as the process is complete.

Concluding the Copy Text From Image Function

Copying text from an image is extremely handy, especially if you’re working with PDFs or images where you need the text or simply want to dial a contact from an image. The best part is that you can use most of the methods discussed on most devices, whether an Android, iPhone, Windows, or even mac.

Now that you’ve mastered how to copy text from a picture, you may find some of these other productivity articles useful.

Jake Wright
Jake Wright
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Jake is a spreadsheet expert and content writer from New Zealand. He has a double Bachelor's Degree in Teaching and has been working in the education industry for over 11 years. His experience makes him adept at breaking down complex topics so that everyone is able to understand.

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