Google Drive is an essential part of my daily work, as I use it to store things, to keep notes, and also to edit and create documents. It might not be (yet) as versatile as what Microsoft Office has got to offer, but there are plenty of features for the kind of work that I do. But Google Drive comes with another feature that you probably didn’t hear about – OCR, which stands for optical character recognition.
The Optical Character Recognition feature has been available in in Google Drive for a while now, but maybe the reason you didn’t use it yet is because your language wasn’t supported. But now Google has announced a major update, letting upload scanned documents in more than 200 languages and 25 writing styles. The same update has been issued for the Google Drive app for Android users, as well. Making use of the OCR feature is very easy, and you just need to follow these steps:
- Upload a scanned document in its current form (image or PDF)
- Right-click on the document in the Drive interface, and select ‘Open with’ -> ‘Google Docs’
- That’s it! Google Drive will transform it into a Google document with the original image followed by the extracted text
Google also points out that the OCR feature currently works best on cleanly scanned, high-resolution documents in the most commonly used typefaces. However, the Google Drive team wants to assure us that they are working to improve the performance on poor quality scans and challenging text layouts. If Google Drive’s new feature doesn’t please you, do have a look at some of the best free OCR software and OCR apps to use on Android and iOS.