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If you are a blogger or technology writer, or simply a writer of any kind, you are likely good at typing. But it takes a lot of effort, and time, doesn’t it? It’s fun though, but that doesn’t mean we can speed things a bit.
If you work with documents, real paper documents, typing them can’t take ages. And so can working with PDFs or images which has text content in the picture or file. You can’t just copy the text, and save the text from these can you?
That’s why we use OCR, aka Optical Character Recognition. This technology scans images and can extract the text content from the picture. This allows you to paste the text in a word processor such as Microsoft Office, or even just simple editors like Notepad. This saves you a ton of time.
But which OCR software is the best? We have no doubt that Abbyy Screenshot Reader is without a doubt. Let’s explain to you why we think so.
Abbyy Screenshot Reader’s primary GUI, is very simple GUI, and if we must say so, it is very very minimalistic. The window is less than 3 inches in width. That’s pretty cool though. After all, Abbyy Screenshot Reader is designed for taking screenshots, so you need the screen space, for the content you want to take a snapshot of.
There are three dropdown menus and one button on Abbyy Screenshot Reader’s capture tool. Have you ever seen of a more user friendly software before?
The first of the three menus allows you to select the screen capture type. There are four options for this: Area, Windows, Screen and Timed Screen.
The Area option in Abbyy Screenshot Reader lets you select a rectangular portion of the screen, and capture the content inside the selected area. Once you select this option, press alt + enter, or click the capture button. This will bring a capture cursor for the mouse, using which you can draw a rectangle on a web page or application or document, or picture you want to capture the OCR screenshot from.
Once the area is selected, you can adjust the area by clicking the boxes on the border, and dragging the mouse towards the text section you want to convert to editable text.
To confirm taking the screenshot, double click inside the box. One thing to note here, is that when you create a rectangular selection box, Abbyy Screenshot Reader will display the size of the box in pixels.
Abbyy Screenshot Reader’s Windows option can be used to capture an entire application window and the content inside it. Say for example you have Adobe Reader open with a PDF image in it, you can use Abbyy Screenshot Reader to capture the Adobe Reader window and extract all the content in that window. So this is faster than the area option.
The third option, Screen, captures a snapshot of the entire screen of your computer, and saves the content. This is very useful when you want to extract content from full screen content like images. The fourth snapshot option is Timed Screen, which as you can guess can take a screenshot of the screen, after a short countdown timer. The timer is set to 5 seconds.
The Language menu can be used for selecting the OCR technology’s language recognition. You can manually select the language by clicking on the menu. There are 5 languages available directly from the menu: English, Spanish, German, French and Italian. There are many more languages available from the more languages menu.
Or you can set it to auto select, which is basically auto recognize, and it will work too. That’s pretty useful for extracting OCR content in a language you don’t know. After getting the text you can use a translation service to convert it to a language you are familiar with.
Abbyy’s character recognition technology uses intelligent algorithms for converting images into editable text, and that’s not all it can do. It can actually preserve the formatting and layout of the source file.
Abbyy Screenshot Reader lets you save text content directly into text document formats such as RTF, TxT or as in Microsoft Office documents formats DOC, XLS. Yes you can save Tables too, as we will explain shortly.
Now, you are not limited to actually limited to taking OCR text from documents and images, you can use it for taking screenshots in images formats too.
The third menu in Abbyy Screenshot Reader, which is called Send, has 7 options.
- Text To Clipboard
- Text To File
- Table To Clipboard
- Table To File
- Image To Clipboard
- Image To File
- Image to Email
The last option in the list, is particularly useful as it can be used for share screenshots over the internet, inc case you want tech support or to share something with your team.
Interestingly, you can create images of text documents too, should you wish to include them in a presentation or project. Abbyy Screenshot Reader can save screenshots in JPEG, Bitmap or PNG formats.
Using these options, you can literally save a text screenshot of any document or a picture screenshot, and use them in any applications.
The system tray icon of Abbyy Screenshot Reader, has a few options which you may find useful. Right clicking on the icon lets you copy Text To Clipboard, or Image To Clipboard without having to open the Abbyy Screenshot Reader application. Doiug so, will bring up the crosshair cursor which lets you create the rectangular selection boxes.
You can set the program to run always on top, so you don’t have to keep opening the program, or using the system tray icon.
You can also enable Abbyy Screenshot Reader to run at Windows start, so you can capture screenshots whenever you want, and not manually opening the application, in case you forget it.
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