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This is the first in a planned series of posts that each focus on a tool that will be useful to both students and teachers in a BYOD context. The plan is that each posts explores an application or accessory that will really be useful and easy to use. This first one looks at an Optical Character Reader (OCR).

ABBYY Textgrabber is a useful app when you need to extract text from printed sources easily by using the device’s camera to digitise and share quickly. I have it on my iPhone 6 and iPad. It is not free but certainly is worth paying for if you need to do any of the the possible uses highlighted at the company’s website:

  • Extracts snippets of text from a variety of printed sources, such as books, magazines, ads and timetables
  • Accurate on-device text recognition in more than 60 languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, and Korean (no Internet connection is required for OCR)
  • Instant translation from more than 70 languages (requires an Internet connection)
  • Apple’s VoiceOver text-to-speech lets you listen to recognized and translated text (for iOS only)
  • Adjustable font sizes and sound tips for interface elements provide better accessibility for visually impaired people
  • Captured text can be edited or copied to the clipboard
  • Fast and convenient sharing via Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, e-mail or SMS
  • All captured text is backed up in the History folder, where it can be easily found



I mostly use it to capture the quotes I need from books and quickly digitise them rather than typing the whole passage out. It mostly works well and helps with reducing errors and typos.

This brief video will give you the idea but I like the promotional one you can view when deciding  to buy it or not when checking out the Android or Apple app.

You can fin ABBYY on Facebook and Twitter or check out their Youtube channel.

Do you have a another OCR tool to recommend?

Featured image: screenshot from


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