DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

November 14, 2017

Convert a Picture to Text

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 5:40 am

There have been times in my computer career when I have had a real need.  I do not know about you but I bet you may have had this need too.  That is, you have a screenshot or a photo of something with a lot of text printed on it and you would like to retype that information.

It could be a contract you want to edit, a copy of a letter or anything else with text that you would like to edit and/or reproduce.  It happens often in offices. Occasionally someone will send you a PDF file (Portable Document Format) that you cannot make corrections or changes to, then what?

Well, I have a couple of ways you may be able to fix this situation.  There is a term called “OCR,” meaning “Optical Character Recognition.”  OCR is a widely used method of converting printed documentation into text.  Once OCR’d, documents may be stored as a text file, edited, searched or displayed online.

There are many ways to use OCR to convert a printed file to a text file.  I will mention three which I have heard a lot about (in alphabetical order).  Be warned: once converted to a text file there will be errors.  You must proofread them in detail to make sure you have the correct wording.

First up is Google Docs.  You can save a graphic file with text on it to your Google Drive, right click it and choose to “Open with Google Docs.”  It will convert it to a Doc file that you can type in and edit away.

Next, the one I use most often for all of its features is Microsoft’s OneNote application.  With OneNote you use “Insert” then “Pictures” to insert the graphic file.  Next, right click the graphic and choose “Copy text from picture.”  Somewhere near the picture you will have a text box open up ready for editing.

Finally, one of the many online/cloud versions available is “Online OCR” onlineocr.net.  Click the Select file button, find your photo on your computer, upload it, check the language that it is in, choose the format you want (either .docx, .xlsx or .txt) then Convert.  In a few seconds you can download the finished product.

Now my opinion of the three/four.  The one I had the most problems with was unfortunately Google Docs since I am a Google fan boy.  As I did with all four, I ran several different files and got varying times to finish from seconds to minutes.  All of them gave what I would call poor accuracy.  Many errors in the “translation” from graphic to text. Keep was extremely slow in comparison.

OneNote was good on the time and accuracy; however, it is not available in the online version.  It only works on the paid or free desktop versions of OneNote.  Still I liked the results.

Online OCR did as good  a job as OneNote.  It was quick and just as accurate (remember none are perfect).  However, I would not upload sensitive information to be converted by an unknown online service.

Pledge of Allegiance

Pledge of Allegiance converted by Online OCR

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of
Ameri  and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.

There are more options but these three were the ones I decided to test from all I had heard and experienced.  Have you tried any?

October 4, 2016

Ron’s Favorite Add-on Apps, Part 1

I am asked quite often what programs I would set up on a new computer.  I usually answer these email inquiries individually.  However, today I thought I would start a series of articles regarding the apps I get quizzed on most often.

This is in reference to applications I like better than those supplied with Windows computers.  They are not necessarily the best programs to accomplish their assigned tasks but the ones I like best.  You may certainly go to DoubleClicks.info or email me and share your opinions.  Also, these are all free…you know me.

Ninite logo

When you get a new computer go straight to Ninite.com. Ninite offers almost 90 applications that you can add to Windows in one visit.  You click check box next to the program you want to install and when finished download the resulting executable file.  Run it and all of the programs you chose will be installed to your computer.  It will take a while depending on how many you choose but it is quicker than going to each site, downloading a file and then installing each individually.  Most of the programs I will talk about here may be found at Ninite.  It has always worked flawlessly for me.

Next on my list is a browser since both of the versions of MSIE (Edge included as one) are OK browsers but not the best.  I choose Google Chrome for my favorite and run it as my default browser (google.com/chrome).  My second vote would be for Firefox. (firefox.com

Google Chrome Browser logo                             Mozilla Firefox Browser logo

Now the biggie?!  Do I recommend Microsoft Office? If so which version and if not what office application do I use?  Tough question as I use Microsoft Office 2016 on my main computer.  It is an excellent office suite.  However, when that license expires, and another charge is levied by MS for its continuation (i.e., cloud versions) or whatever else may financially "get" me, I will switch.  I will happily switch to Libre Office (libreoffice.org) which is an Open Source application. (translation = free) 

LibreOffice logo                            Microsoft Office 2016/365 logo

Libre Office is equal to the MS Office Suite is most respects for the largest majority of users.  The main difference between the two is that LO uses a menu driven system like MS Office did up until version 2007 where it switched to the Ribbon.  By-the-way, after almost 10 years of using the Ribbon in Office I still think the menu system was better.  But back to Libre Office as a great replacement for the best known office suite.   For a very detailed comparison between LO and MO go here

The last one for this week is what PDF viewer do I favor?  The most well-known is Adobe Acrobat (get.adobe.com/reader); however, you basically may only view PDF files using that application.  If you need to create or edit them, you need to pay for the application.  Guess what?  Libre Office, as well as Microsoft Office, can view, edit and create PDF files.  So if you have one of them you have no need for another application that does less.

Adobe Acrobat logo

Next we will look at some utilities, a great video player, video chat and more!

July 19, 2011

E-books vs. P-books

(   or Electronic books vs. 
         Paper/Printed books)

Several weeks ago I wrote about my wife’s e-ink Nook from Barnes and Noble.  I was surprised by the number of responses.  I had a small number asking why I did not write about the Amazon Kindle or some of the other e-readers.  The reason is that I do not get demos to test, so I have no experience with them.  (Of course, I would be more than happy to test out any of the others if the manufacturers would like to send them to me-hint, hint.)  We read, talked to people, researched and made an informed educated guess.  We chose the one we thought would be best for our use and pocketbook. 

Most answers were a toss-up : "I couldn’t stand not holding an actual paperback or hardback book…e-books are just a passing fancy, a fad."  Or, "I bought one last (fill in a calendar date) and I think they are great!"  No one wrote to say that they bought one and did not like it, quite the opposite. 

There were many reasons people liked the e-readers.   Take a look at the comments below and see if you agree, disagree, never thought of that or really just do not care. 

Some people said that the small size and being able to include 1,000 plus books was a big reason they liked theirs.  My wife included a couple of her thoughts…if it is windy outside, while reading, you don’t have to fight the wind to keep the pages from turning.  Also, bookmarks can’t fall out losing your place.  Since she has recently had wrist surgery she finds them lighter in weight and much easier to hold (or just laying it on the table to read is good for her). 

Others, like me, who are over 40, can change the font size to a larger or smaller size and even a different font if they wish.  That means that you may not need to use reading glasses to see the e-pages.

One very popular reason is: great convenience.  The convenience is you do not have to travel to the bookstore to get a new novel.  That would not influence my purchase of an e-reader since I love walking around a large bookstore and looking at all the available titles.

In closing, I have often heard that reflected light, like from a paper book, newspaper or e-ink (used with the Barnes and Noble Nook) is better for your eyes than direct light, say from a computer monitor or a color eBook reader shining into your eyes.  I checked with my eye doctor, Dr. Mary Alice Portillo, of Waynesboro, VA, for the validity of this thought. 

Dr. Portillo says that although the eyes are not negatively affected by either type of light, some people’s eyes become tired or more uncomfortable from the direct light of the computer screen.  However, it is really a personal preference for comfort.  So if you aren’t bothered by eye strain/stress from your computer screen, feel free to choose either type of e-book reader.

One last thought from me…I think these are some derivative of them are here to stay, these are not a passing fancy or a fad.  At least not for me since I bought my color Nook last week.

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