A Simple Way to Extract Text From Images And Printouts

There are times when you want to extract text from images. For instance —

  • You found an interesting image with a quote, and you want to copy its text;
  • Extract mobile number and email form a business card;
  • Modify a printed document but without writing it from the scratch; or
  • You simply want to extract text from a write protected PDF file
  • You want to search for text in a printed document.

Extracting text from an image is done with an OCR software (short for optical character recognizer). The program takes an image file (like jpg) as input and returns text (that was present in it) as output.

Now, most popular OCR readers are either paid (like CamScanner pro) or not very practical to use (like Onenote’s desktop app). But we want something that is free, works on every device, and off course, it should be highly accurate.


And guess what, Google Keep is a perfect solution for this. If you not already know, Google Keep has a built-in OCR reader and it’s pretty good. But unfortunately, not many people are aware of this. Although, it’s better than all its competitors.

Extract Text From Images with Google Keep

While I was looking for good OCR reader, I tried all the popular options like – CamScanner, Evernote, Text Fairy Android app, Onenote, OnlineOCR, Project Naptha chrome extension etc. However, surprisingly, I got best results from Google Keep.

This is funny, not only because a free app is working better than its paid alternative but also because the OCR feature in Google keep is just a side product. However, in order to use Google keep for extracting text out of the image, you need internet access since the image processing is done on Google server. So let’s see how to do it.

Extract Text From Images

For computer

If the image is on your computer, then open the web version of Google keeps. Upload your image as a note, click on three vertical dots and select grab image text option. And within few seconds, it’ll automatically fill the text in the body that note.

Extract text from Images with Google keep

For smartphone

Install the Google keep the app from Google Play or App store, if it’s not already there. Next, open the app and create a new note by tapping on the camera button. Now, you have two option, you can either take a picture of a document or select an image from your device memory.

Choose anyone of that, and once the image is uploaded, tap on three vertical dots, and tap on grab images text option. And there you go, the screen will load for few seconds, and the image’s text will magically appear in the body of the note.

Final words

After testing many popular OCR reader, I found Google keep gives the best result. Also, it’s free and available for both desktop & smartphones. So go ahead and start using it, not just for its OCR, but also because its note taking feature is remarkable.

About Mrinal Saha

Mrinal is a tech geek who spends half of his day reading and writing about tech. While the nights are spent on shooting or editing YouTube videos. Feel free to geek out with him on-