An OCR tool is coming to PowerToys


Add another one to the kitty! PowerToys continues to grow as a toolkit at a rapid pace. We recently learned that Microsoft is adding a Screen Ruler utility to the application, and now there’s more.

The company, alongside the open-source community, is busy preparing an OCR tool for PowerToys.

Most of you should be aware of the Optical Character Recognition technology.

Such capabilities existing on a system level in other operating systems like Android and iOS. The latter, for example, can already grab text from any picture and the upcoming iOS 16 release will extend these capabilities to videos.

And according to this pull request in the GitHub repository, PowerOCR is now in development.

This new ability will enable users to extract text from images. It supports copying text from a rectangular region, clicking a word, or right-clicking any image file. You just need to select the text you want to extract from an image, and PowerToys will do its magic.

The GIF below shows these handy new capabilities in action:

PowerToys OCR

At first glance, it seems to work pretty well.

But obviously, it remains to be seen how this new feature will handle other fonts and documents where the text is not as clearly visible as in the demo. The true test of these capabilities will come with scanned documents, which is where most OCR apps struggle with.

That said, PowerOCR is in its early stages right now. Meaning, developers have a lot of work to do before they are able ship the tool to the public.

If you want to help with its development, you know what to do.

Nevertheless, it will be a fantastic addition to PowerToys. The availability of other OCR solutions and third-party apps withstanding. They may offer additional features and capabilities, but having these abilities in a toolset like PowerToys is always welcome.