Clipboard Image to Text Help

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© 2020-2021, Frédéric Blondiau — DouWère, s.p.r.l.

What is it ?

Clipboard Image to Text is a service that allows you, every time you copy an image, to paste its text, directly, without further manipulation.


Finally an OCR solution
as simple as copy/paste!

How does it work ?

What’s new ?

Version 1.5 re-works with older systems (High Sierra and Mojave).

On these systems, the application therefore does not use the OCR mechanics offered by Apple (based on AI) ... and the results are significantly worse as soon as the image is of poor quality (it must be recognized that the service offered by Apple’s operating system is exceptional in this regard). However, these results remain completely comparable to those offered by traditional character recognition applications, and the flexibility of copy and paste remains unmatched!

It fixes a problem that could occur when the option “copy a dummy image” was activated, the application (in version 1.4) was put in the background and the clipboard was modified.

Version 1.4 updates the displayed image as soon as the clipboard is changed.

The application now allows you to directly modify the contents of the clipboard by opening an image.

Finally, it is possible to respond in the negative to any alerts displayed by pressing the escape key.

Version 1.3 slightly changes the first-time use scenario, for new users.

When the clipboard does not contain images, the application now places a dummy image there. This explanatory image allows the user to directly use the functionalities offered by the application. It is possible to deactivate this mechanism in the preferences.


Version 1.3.2 corrects a spelling mistake in about box.

Version 1.3.3 correctly draws preview text in dark mode and displays new symbols on Big Sur, in preferences window.

After copying the text from the image for the first time, the application now offers to activate the wizard (if this had never been done before).

Version 1.2 adds a new feature, and improves the processing of hyphenated text.

When the Clipboard is empty, it’s now possible to drop an image file into the main window, for direct processing.

Version 1.1.2 is a maintenance release that always correctly handles preferences (even when using the application main window).

Version 1.1 implements a preference window, to select preferred languages on Big Sur (as many are now available on this new OS).


You can also reverse the effect of the alternate key for handling multiline text as a single string, by default.


Clipboard Image to Text 1.0 is the first public version.


The application requires Mojave, but works even better on Big Sur. It runs natively on Apple Silicon devices.

How does it work ?

Using the Clipboard

The application is not document based : you can’t read or create documents using Clipboard Image to Text... the application just process the clipboard.

⚠️ Of course, the content of the Clipboard should be an image (jpg, png, pdf, bmp...) — if it is not the case, the application displays warning.

See Practical uses for more information.

Using IA

Unlike the majority of other tools available for text recognition, the Clipboard Image to Text application uses the latest artificial intelligence techniques in the world of vision. The results are quite surprising.


As an Application

Copy an image, launch the application: the content of the clipboard is displayed, ready to be transformed into text... After processing, the new content of the clipboard appears. It can be pasted into any other application that accepts some text.


As a Service

However, it is not necessary to use the Clipboard Image to Text application. Indeed, the text of the clipboard image is directly accessible to any application in use, by accessing its Services menu (present in the menu of this application) or by accessing the shortcut menu (control clic) or even this key combination.


Practical uses.

From a Photo

You can fill the clipboard with a text snap from your Photo Library, with a scanned text you got as a Mail attachment, with a image from a web site visited using Safari or by any other mean... you just need to copy it, using the Copy command in the Edit menu.


From a File

You can also copy any image directly from the Finder -- copying the file containing the picture, without even a need to open it.

From your Computer Screen

Finally, you can just copy what you see on your screen... wherever this text comes from. Indeed, a less known feature of macOS lets you capture a part of the screen using this key combination ⌃⇧⌘4 ... ready to be pasted using ⌃⇧⌘V, the key combination that invokes the Clipboard Image to Text helper !


Frequently asked Questions

Privacy policy

All treatments are done locally, thanks to a service offered by the operating system. No information is transmitted.

What are the recognized languages?

Currently (in Mojave), recognition works particularly well in English, although other languages based on a Roman alphabet often give good results.

The possible languages for the next version of the OS are English (en-US), French (fr-FR), Italian (it-IT), German (de-DE), Spanish (es-ES), Portuguese (pt-BR), and Chinese (zh-Hans and Zh-Hant).

Why is the text cut?

The recognized text usually contains newlines, to keep the structure it has in the image from which it is extracted. Sometimes this is not what is desired: for example, when we want to retrieve the text of a paragraph from a book ... by pressing the option key, these line breaks are deleted (and, as far as possible, the possible hyphenation of certain words is deleted).

Does this app work on iPhone ?

Not really, but...

It is possible to copy an image on your iPhone ... thanks to Handoff, the phone’s clipboard is automatically transferred to the Mac where Clipboard Image to Text can handle it.


© 2020-2021, Frédéric Blondiau — DouWère, s.p.r.l.