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QuickAdvice: TextGrabber Allows You To Capture Text As Editable Text

QuickAdvice: TextGrabber Allows You To Capture Text As Editable Text

June 8, 2011
TextGrabber by ABBYY icon

TextGrabber ($1.99) by ABBYY is an app that allows you to capture a part of any printed text document and have the print transcribed into text directly on your iPhone.

Sometimes when you're taking notes, say, from a textbook, it can become tedious to write down notes because it can get lengthy. So why not use your iDevice to grab a part of a page and have the text transcribed on your device instead? TextGrabber from ABBYY does that for you.

TextGrabber by ABBYY screenshot

When you launch TextGrabber, you're automatically taken to a camera screen. You'll want to align the printed page properly, and have the proper light for the app to read the text. When you snap the photo, the app will give you cropping options by default so you can grab the entire page or just a part of the page.

I tried grabbing an entire page from a book, and it seems to have trouble reading the text. However, if you do a small section of a page, then the app will be more accurate.

When you have your selection cropped, then the app will proceed to scan and translate the text you just selected. This part is relatively fast and simple. The screen will indicate the progress of the app visually as well as with a percentage amount. When it is done, the recognized text will show up, waiting for you to edit it, send it by email, copy to the clipboard, or even search the web for it.

Once you're done with that clip, you get taken back to the camera view. But from here you get other options as well.

You can import from the device Photo Library with the photo button in the bottom right corner.

TextGrabber by ABBYY screenshot

The history of captures with the app can be accessed by the button in the bottom left corner. You'll see the beginning of the text captures along with when you grabbed them.

TextGrabber has a few settings, which can be accessed from the Camera screen. From here, you can select which languages the app should recognize (more than 60 supported languages), default camera flash toggle, whether the app should save to Camera Roll, toggle for default crop setting, and choose search engine. History and About can be accessed here as well, though the latter can be gotten to from the camera too.

I found TextGrabber to be pretty good. I just had some issues with weird transcribed text when trying to capture a full page. But if you capture sections of a page, then the results will be much cleaner and accurate. The results get delivered relatively fast too, which is great. I find it hard to hold the camera still while trying to grab a capture though, but this will be in all OCR-type apps.

If you're a student or just need to capture clips for notes from various documents, then this is worth a look.

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