How to Do OneNote OCR to Copy Text from Images or PDFs

July 31, 2023 2.4K views

Do you want to snag or copy text from images or PDF documents without typing it out manually? Thanks to the advanced technology that has made editing documents pretty easy. Several other dedicated tools are available in the market, but OneNote stands out. With its built-in OCR tool, Microsoft OneNote can perform this task in fractions of time. This cloud optical character recognition service from Microsoft lets you copy text from a picture or file printout and paste it into your notes to easily change the words. This article will walk you through “how to do OneNote OCR” to perform OCR magic.

Microsoft OneNote OCR is quite straightforward that only requires a couple of steps. This process is safe to use as it doesn’t require uploading data to any 3rd party web server. The below steps can explain the procedure better:

How to Do OneNote OCR to Copy Text from a Single Image

Find and then run OneNote on your Windows PC. If you’re a Mac user, then first of all, download and install Microsoft OneNote on your device.Launch the software and then import the image to the software interface by pressing the “Insert” and “Picture” Options from the upper ribbon before you can start OneNote OCR.When the image has opened in OneNote, right-click the image to open a context menu.

You’ll see an option “Copy Text from Picture “in the menu. Once you click this option, it’ll instantly grab all the text that will be copied to the clipboard; click where you want to paste the copied text (i.e. WORD and press “Ctrl+V” if you’re using windows PC or “Command+V” if you are using Mac. Now you can edit the text as you want.

How to Do OneNote OCR to Copy Text from images of Multiple Page File Printout

Once you’ve opened the images in the program’s interface, right-click any of the images and then from the new context menu, you can select the below options:Click “Copy Text from this Page of the Printout” to snag text from the selected image (Page).Click “Copy Text from All the Pages of the Printout” to extract text from all pages (images).Now click the place (Notes, Word file etc.) where you want to paste this copied text and then simultaneously press “Ctrl V”.

Important Note: The effectiveness of OneNote OCR (Optical Character Recognition) isn’t as accurate. It depends on the quality of the image you’re working with. Try pulling the text from high-quality, high-resolution images to increase accuracy. Once you paste the text, reviewing it and ensuring it is recognised properly is a good idea.

The Best Alternative to OneNote OCR - WPS Office OCR

If you’re handling larger files, you’ll find the OneNote OCR tool quite deficient. This way, you’ll surely want an alternative tool. With its built-in OCR functionality, WPS Office is the best software suite that you can use to extract text from pictures or PDFs. The below step-by-step guide can explain the procedure better:

First, download and install WPS Office for Windows, Mac or Linux.Launch the software and open the file (image or PDF) you want to work with.

Once the document has opened, click the Tools Tab and the OCR button. A new dialogue box will pop up; hit “click or drag to import pictures and start the recognition” and select a file.

WPS Office provides 3 options given below:Extract text onlyConvert to WordConvert to ExcelThe 1st one is freely accessible, while the other 2 are premium, requiring a yearly or monthly subscription. Select “Extract text only” to copy the text from the image, and you’re done.

Using Tips

👍Always use high quality images for onenote OCR to ensure that the text is clear and legible.

👍After performing onenote OCR, manually review the text to ensure  accuracy.

👍If you’re working with a large image Try to perform OCR on smaller sections of the image at a time for more effective output.


1 - Does Windows 10 have built-in OCR?

Of course, several apps are in the market to do OCR, but Windows 10 has built-in OCR that makes the process straightforward for a small amount of text.

2 - Can I use the WPS OCR tool for free?

WPS offers free OCR for simple text extraction from the image. But if you want to convert scanned images to word or excel, it will cost you some subscription charges.

We’ve explained “how to do OneNote OCR” in detail, but as mentioned in the article, OneNote OCR is not very accurate. This urges an accurate and efficient OCR tool like WPS Office.

WPS is a powerful all-in-one software suite that can perform exceptional PDF functions. It can create, edit, annotate PDFs and, most importantly, perform accurate OCR for text and images. So what’s hindering you from downloading this software? Download it today to enjoy seamless document dealings.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.