Update for Onetastic: Select Text from Image

May 05, 2012
OneNote can recognize the text in images in your notes and you can even search them. It also has a little hidden feature that allows you to copy the text from an image. You can just right click on an image and choose Copy Text From Picture. This doesn't always do what you want though. You may want to just copy an address or a tracking number from a screenshot. But copying the whole text and then pasting it somewhere and then finding what you want is cumbersome. Wouldn't it be nice if you could select and copy the text from the image similar to copying from the web? An update to Onetastic which adds this new feature is now available: Select Text from Image.

Let's say you have the following screenshot you captured from a web site and want to copy some text in it.

Image with text

You can access the Select Text from Image feature from the right click menu along with two other Onetastic features, Rotate Printout and Crop.

Select text from image

You can see here that the selectable text is highlighted with yellow. If there is some text you see on the image that is not highlighted, that won't be selectable, as OCR engine did not recognize it. You can also see that the text is arranged in two regions here (purple boxes). Depending on how the text is arranged, you may see a single region or several regions. Moving your mouse on the text and dragging while pressing your left mouse button will start selecting the text, just like you used to do pretty much anywhere else:

Text selected

Note that with a single drag selection, you can select text within a single region. It was too complicated to find a way to select across regions with a single drag. However once you select some text from a region, you can then press and hold the Ctrl key and select more text from other regions. Clicking anywhere on the window will clear the selection.

Also if you noticed the button below the image was reading "Copy All Text and Close" and once you make a selection it turns into "Copy Selection and Close". The button does what it says. If you didn't select anything, then it will copy all the text on the image, and if you selected some text it will copy just the selection and then close the dialog. You can also use the universal copy shortcut: Ctrl + C.

As simple as that. Hopefully this will save a bunch of time. One thing worth noting is that OCR is not a perfect technology and may not detect all the words 100% correctly. So you may end up having to fix the copied text, which is most of the time easier than re-typing the whole thing.

One minor issue is also fixed with this update. Custom styles with font names containing spaces (like "Times New Roman") is now working properly.


Omer Atay - 2017-11-28
Ana: This is currently not possible. You could do something like: Right Click key ([≡]), then up arrow (↑), then Enter. You can use an external tool like AutoHotKey to do all these at once with a shortcut.
Ana - 2017-11-28
Hi there
I would like to put Select text from image on the fast tool menu, Can I do that.
Ideally, I would want to call it with a keyhot.
FRumore - 2017-02-11
I just sent you an email about a Outlook Date Macro extension to handle scanned and printed documents and this functionality would be great for those cases where a date cannot be recognized.  

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