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Capture Documents with TextGrabber for iPhone

Ever wanted to capture a part of printed text from a book, a magazine, document, etc on your computer instead of typing it all out? Enter TextGrabber for iPhone.

I came across this app during my internship when my boss handed me a bunch of papers with screen shots of some old policies and wanted me to type them out for his use (I know, typical intern abuse!). Now there were 10 pages and I wanted to prove my skills by doing it in record time. After a while of browsing through those pages, I realized that there was no way I can type out so many pages of text quickly. And if you’re lazy like me, you will want to get this app. The result was nearly flawless except for some small mistakes and I was able to prepare a document of 10 pages in under 15 minutes. My boss had no words on my “super typing capabilities”!

Apps like these are the ones that make the iPhone a very handy device in terms of utility and productivity. It saved me hours of useless typing work. Thanks to ABBYY’s Mobile OCR Technology, TextGrabber provides high quality results and recognizes any plain text in more than 60 languages in a few seconds. The recognized text can be immediately edited, forwarded by e-mail or saved onto your iPhone. Currently, as of this post it costs $2.49 in the AppStore.

( Note: The book used in the screen shots, in case you’re interested, is Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, thanks to @abdmal9 )


  • No internet connection required for application performance
  • Editing captured text or copying it to the clipboard to paste it into other apps
  • Searching for additional information about the recognized text or its parts in the internet
  • Sending recognized texts by e-mail or SMS
  • Storing photos of texts on your iPhone
  • All captured texts are saved in a history folder as a back-up and available for reopening and editing
  • Automatic selection of the second OCR language based on the device settings
  • Ability to open a browser and e-mail client inside the app
  • Supports 60+ languages - Afrikaans, Albanian, Basque, Breton, Bulgarian, Byelorussian, Catalan, Chechen, Chinese, CrimeanTatar,  Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Fijian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hawaiian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kabardian, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maori, Moldavian, Mongol, Norwegian  (both Bokmal, and Nynorsk), Ossetic, Polish, Portuguese, Provencal, Rhaeto Romanic, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tatar, Turkish, Ukrainian and Welsh.


  • Formatting is not recognized.
  • No Arabic support as of yet.
  • Text with small font is barely recognizable unless shot from very close.
  • Text recognition algorithm could use a little more fine-tuning.
  • Landscape shot recognition is not accurate and still needs updating.


  • It recognizes characters as-is if the camera held up far. (Check the screen shots, the word “rustle” shows up as “rusde”.) To avoid this try taking a close up shot where you can see the characters clearly.
  • Have proper lighting on the text, you can use the iPhone’s tap to focus to adjust it.
  • You must review the text after it has been recognized. There will be mistakes.
  • Try to take vertical shots whenever possible.

It would be interesting to watch this app grow and increase its capabilities in the future.

Minimum Requirements:

  • 35 MB storage
  • iPhone 4 / iPhone 3GS
  • iOS 4.0+
  • Price – $0.99

Enjoy text grabbing!

A similar OCR software from the same developer is also available for Mac – FineReader Express.

(Source: ABBYY)

You can find the author of this post on twitter: @iAmjad.

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About Amjad

One comment

  1. I’ve just downloaded this app and i can say, that it is all what i needed. It’s been able to read everything I’ve tried it on. Can’t wait to see what comes in future updates!


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