Use the TextGrabber app to scan and edit printed text

As a teacher, there have been times when I have a printed handout and I can’t seem to find the original digital file on my desktop, or in Google Drive, or filed away in any of the 15 places I could have placed it. In the past, this would have meant I would have had to retype the entire document if I wanted to have a digital file to keep or if I needed to make any edits to it.

At a conference some time ago though I was taught about an app that can help solve this problem.

The app is call TextGrabber and it’s available in the iTunes and Google Play stores.

The app allows you to take a picture of printed text and turn that document into searchable and editable text. Numerous times it’s saved me from having to retype a full page of text or even small sidebars. I take a picture of the document with the app. The app turns the printed document into editable text which I then transfer over to my computer and then can quickly format the text to recreate the document I wanted.

While the scan isn’t always 100% accurate, it’s always fairly close to what I had and made the digital transition go much more quickly. The app also has some other great features built in such as language translation that works pretty well too.

Textgrabber is one of many OCR applications out there. The app is $5 in the Google Play store and free in the iOS store but they have moved to a subscription model recently where some of the app features require a subscription to use after your first three uses of the app. So, if you like what Textgrabber does, but you don’t want to pay a subscription fee, you might want to check out some of the alternatives before you sign on.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 26th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He is the 2023 JEA Teacher Inspiration Award Winner and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on X and Instagram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

Aaron Manfull has 868 posts and counting. See all posts by Aaron Manfull

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