I built the PowerToy Text Extractor!

Text Grab is a great utility but operating system makers are building this functionality as a native feature. Instead of feeling bad for myself I decided to get on board with the evolution of Windows and help shape its future!

There has been an open GitHub issue for “paste text from image” for a while now. The example Clint linked to looked very close to Text Grab but done through some shell scripts. Text Grab is clearly a more polished version of what was in the original GIF. Noticing the similarities, I reached out to Clint and he agreed Text Grab’s “Fullscreen Grab Mode” mode would be a good fit for a PowerToy.

Much of the code for Text Extractor comes directly from Text Grab. The way the overlay is drawn and the selection is identical. The underlying OCR engine continues to be the native Windows OCR engine and works the same way. Today there is no quick way to make the output into a single line, or quickly change the language like in Text Grab, but I suspect those features will come soon.

Also coming down the road will be the right click option to extract text from an image file. PowerToys already adds a few more right click options for resizing image and renaming files, so soon Extract Text will be there too! Other than that the utility will continue to look very similar and behave in almost exactly the same way. Obviously the product will evolve and change with user demands, but focusing on the 90% use case of quickly copying text from anywhere on screen will be the focus.

As always, I am on Twitter @TheJoeFin if you want to connect, and if you haven’t tried Text Grab, I recommend checking out the code here or in the Microsoft Store here. I will continue to develop it as a separate app focused on making text manipulation fast and easy!

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