Sometimes while browsing the internet, you might come across some text that would be appropriate for a document you are creating, but you soon find out the text cannot be copied (probably because the document has been protected or it is graphics-based). You would want in such situations to convert images to text. This problem can be taken care of easily and quickly by using a program that is able to clip your screen as a picture and carry out fast optical character recognition (OCR). This is precisely what the free application Capture2Text will do for you, the app can convert images to text and it can do that in over thirty possible languages.
The app also has another module that is able to execute speech-to-text over brief, informal voice recordings and change them to text you can use.
Supported OCR languages: Capture2Text makes use of the Tesseract OCR engine which is open source. The following languages are supported by default: Japanese, Chinese, German, Spanish, French and English, however up to thirty three languages can be included (namely Romanian, Greek, Vietnamese Portuguese, Ukrainian, Polish, Turkish, Norwegian, Finnish, Tagalog, Lithuanim, Swedish, Latvian, Dutch, Korean, Danish, Slovenian, Czeh, Slovaian, Italian, Serbian, Indonesian, Catalan, Russian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian.
How to make use of OCR
A. Download the program and unzip it. You do not have to install the app. Run Capture2Text.exe.
B. Click on the system tray icon of Capture2Text with the right mouse button, go to settings, OCR language and select your preferred language.
C. After that, be certain the text you need is noticeable on screen. Position the mouse pointer in such a way that it is just over the rim of the text block you intend to clip. This should be done prior to activating Capture2Text.
D. Commence the clipping process by pressing Win+Q on the keyboard. Expand the colored rectangular region that lies on top of the text you need, and the do the clipping by clicking the mouse button. The OCR result will be shown on the upper part of your screen.
E. The OCR procedure will be carried out and the outcome will be placed in the clipboard. Past the clipped text in your word processor, text editor, or any other place you plan to use it.
F. Examine the text to find out if it is accurate at least satisfactorily. Some of the words might have come out incorrect and you may have to correct them manually.
It should be noted that some items can be customized, like the location to place the resultant output, the opacity and color of the clipping box for OCR, and so on. The default Hotkey which is Win+Q, can be edited but before that can be done, the .INI file within the Capture2Text directory has to be edited first.
How to make use of speech to text
- Hold down Win+4 to run through the languages (Japanese and English as at when this write-up was being penned) that are supported.
- To start recording, press Win+A. You will see a flashing message on screen that says “recording”.
- Say what you want to say into the microphone. As soon as you are through (or after the system detects a period of quiet, the flashing message on the screen will say “Analyzing”. To modify the length of period of quiet, the .INI file within the Capture2Text directory has to be edited first.
- You should see a dialog box with different construals of what you recently said. Choose the result that is most correct.
E. You have now accomplished your task. You will find the text in the clipboard (or any other place you specified within the settings). You can paste it anywhere you want.
The verdict: There are other programs that can be used to convert images to text but Capture2Text is the very first to be offered completely free of charge without limitations. The other programs you may also get for free are ABBYY screen shot Reader and JOCR. MS Office must be installed on the computer before you can run JOCR.
Capture2Text is remarkable as regards OCR performance. If you do adhoc screen OCR once in a while, this program will meet your needs (and you will not even have to install it). However the developers should have made it simpler to use, and things like that.
The app’s text-to-speech module is not so fantastic. From all indications, it looks like it is not as good as Windows’ inbuilt speech-to-text. You should take a look at DictaionPros for speech-to-text conversion, if what you are searching for is a speech-to-text app. But if you want a superb tool that can convert images to text, you should go for Capture2Text.