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How to copy text from an image using OneNote

OneNote supports Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a tool that recognizes text in an image and even lets you copy the text.

OCR works best with images of printed or font text, rather than handwritten. Still, if you prefer taking handwritten notes, you can just snap a photo and upload them to OneNote. Later, if you need to locate a specific detail, you can search OneNote for a specific term or date written in those notes and it will easily find it, even in an image.

It also allows you to extract the text so you can then paste it elsewhere, such as in your contacts or Word.

How to extract text from an image:

1. Launch Microsoft OneNote.

2. If the image isn’t already in your OneNote, import it.

3. Right-click the picture within OneNote.

4. Click Copy Text from Picture.*

5. Click where you’d like to paste the copied text, and then press Ctrl+V

Copy text from picture

Here is the copied text when pasted into a new note:

Copied text

There are a few typos (e.g. misreading “July 1” as “July !”) but overall the text is accurate and now easily edited and searchable.


If you don’t see the command Copy Text from Picture, OneNote may still be reading and converting the text in a recently imported image. Wait a few moments and then try again.

Also, OneNote OCR does not work with the online version of OneNote. You need to open the application within Windows [RE1] rather than within your internet browser to use the OCR tool.


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