I’ve been trying to write down more things recently in an attempt to better keep track of things and to make sure that ideas that I have, don’t leave my head permanently. As part of that, I’ve been using Google Keep a great deal more in the past few weeks.

One of the features buried into Google Keep’s iOS and other mobile versions is OCR, or Optical Character Recognization. In short, this feature allows you to take an image and then pull any of the text from it automatically. It’s super useful and I’ve been constantly amazing at its accuracy and general coolness. Let’s take a look at it.

To begin with you need to click on the add image button on the bottom right of the Google Keep “homepage” inside of the app.

From there you can take an image with your device’s camera or you can use an existing image. One of the things I really like about this feature is that it can pull from multiple sources and you are not stuck with something at that moment. If you later decide that you need the text from an image, you can pull it off without an issue. For this example I will be using a screenshot from my phone’s lock screen.

I went through my camera roll and selected the image that I wanted. At this point the image is inserted into the note. This is great if you just want to have the image captured there, but what I want is the text off the image. The next step is to click on the actual image inside of the note.

At the top right there will be the “snowman” menu that will give you a few options.

One of those options is the “Grab image text.” This will enable Google Keep to go over the image and look for any text that it can find. If you are using an image that contains handwriting, it will capture that too, but in my experience (and sloppy writing) it will not grab it correctly. Did I mention that my handwriting is sloppy?

As you can see it grabbed all of the text on my screen. It even grabbed my cell phone service and time from the very top bar.

Google Keep is an incredibly useful tool for some many things and the inclusion of OCR makes it so much more valuable for me.