Doing OCR on Windows 10 has been a lifesaver for me. For those that don’t know, OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This basically means if you have a picture or a screenshot of something that has words, you can try to convert that into real text that you can edit and copy. It’s similar to how traffic cameras can “read” the license plate numbers on cars. I’d like to share some excellent freeware that does OCR on Windows 7 and higher.
Introducing Capture2Text for OCR on Windows 10
Capture2Text is freeware which initially started out as a way for people to highlight and OCR Japanese text in manga (Japanese comics) image files. This involves highlighting the Japanese text in speech bubbles and converting it to text that you can copy and paste to look up. Capture2Text is currently in continuous development for the Windows platform, although Windows XP support was dropped. However, you can still download versions before 4.0, which will run on XP.
How to perform OCR with it
Download the program
First, the software is available in a zipped file, so you’ll need to download it and extract it to a folder on your computer. You can get it from the link at the bottom of this page.
Extract to a folder
Second, run the Capture2Text.exe, which will pop up an initial dialog window that will explain how to get started. Capture2Text will run and sit in your system tray, just letting you know it’s open and running.
Find content to use OCR on Windows 10
Now that you’ve got the program running, either open an image with the text you want to OCR or pull up a website. From here, press the key combination of (Windows key + Q). This will create a highlight box that you can drag around the text.
After you let go, Capture2Text will pop up a window with native text it OCRed from the image. From here, you are free to edit the text and prepare it for copying and pasting to another program.
The software supports a multitude of languages such as English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and way more. You’ll need to switch modes if you’re thinking about doing OCR on a different language. For example, maybe you want to practice Japanese and use Cap2Text on some Japanese manga files while you read. If you’re going to scan some English images for text suddenly, you need first to go and switch the mode from Japanese to English.
Final Thoughts on OCR on Windows 10
Being able to turn text in a photo or image into real, native text that I can manipulate is such a massive time saver. When doing some freelance work, I have sometimes had customers send me photos of documents from their phone. (I try to warn customers about this, but sometimes you have situations where there is only the image of a document.)
In other situations, I’ve needed to include some information from a Japanese PDF that was not copyable. By using Capture2Text that does OCR on Windows 10, I saved myself the pain of having to retype all the text again, which would have taken me forever.
This tool may not be something that you use every day, but I keep it in a permanent folder that lives in my downloads. Whenever I need it for a project, it’s comforting to know I can quickly open it up and start doing OCR with just a few keystrokes. If you’re a Windows user, I highly recommend this freeware tool because it just might save you someday as it has done me.
Link: Download it! (Windows)