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Use Google Lens OCR To Convert Images to Text

Google Lens is a service that you can use to easily recognize text on images and then search for or copy the text. This article shows you how to get started with Google Lens and use it to convert images to text.

What Is Google Lens?

google lens ocr

Google Lens is a great image search and text recognition service developed by Google based on its powerful AI technologies. Google Lens can identify and understand any information in images and provide related search results, similar images, text translations, shopping suggestions, etc. Most importantly, Google Lens is entirely free of charge.

Google Lens is available on multiple platforms and in various Google services, such as the Google Chrome web browser, the Google app for iOS and Android, Google Photos, and Google Camera. Using an Android phone, you can also download and use the standalone Google Lens app.

Does Google Lens Support OCR?

Google Lens supports Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Text recognition is one of the prominent features of Google Lens. The feature is implemented based on OCR, the technology that recognizes handwritten or printed characters on images and turns the characters into editable text.

Google Lens is embedded with Google’s powerful and fast OCR engine that can recognize characters in photos, signs, or scanned documents and convert them into editable text. Then you can search for the text on Google, copy it to desired locations, or obtain its translations from Google Translation.

The following sections show you how to use Google Lens for text recognition in different scenarios.

Use Google Lens To Recognize Text on Images

You can use Google Lens in various Google services, such as Google Chrome and Google Photos, to easily recognize text on images.

Take Google Chrome as an example. When you browse web pages in Google Chrome and find an image from which you want to extract the text, you have several options. For example, you can manually type the text in a text editor or save the image and use OCR software to recognize the text.

With Google Lens, text recognition on images becomes much easier. To recognize text on images in Google Chrome by using Google Lens, perform the following simple steps:

Step 1 Open the web page that contains the image from which you want to recognize text in Google Chrome.

Step 2 (Optional) Right-click the image and choose Open image in the new tab to open the image in a new tab. Sometimes, if you open an image in a new tab, you can view the image in its largest resolution. This gives you a clearer image to recognize. You can skip this step if the image is clear and the text on the image is readable.

google lens convert images to text

Step 3 Right-click the image and choose Search image with Google Lens. This opens the Google Lens pane on the right. The image is processed and displayed in this pane, in which you can use all the features of Google Lens.

convert image to text google lens

Step 4 In the Google Lens pane, click Text to recognize the text on the image. By default, the Google Lens pane displays similar images and a button for you to find the image source. To use the text recognition service, you need to click Text. You can also click the Open icon in the upper-right corner of the pane to open Google Lens in a new tab.

google lens text recognition

Step 5 Click Select all text to select all the text that is recognized. You can also manually click and drag to select the text that you want. After you select the text, you can copy, listen to, translate, and search for the text.

google lens text recognition

This concludes the basic process of using Google Lens to recognize text on images in Google Chrome. You can use Google Lens in other Google services on a desktop PC in the same way.

Use Google Lens To Copy Handwritten Notes to a PC

Google also provides a compact and handy Google Lens app for Android phones. You can easily install the Google Lens app from the Google Play store on your Android phone. Google does not provide a dedicated Google Lens app for iOS. However, you can install the Google app on your iOS device and tap the Lens icon to open Google Lens.

You can use Google Lens on a mobile phone or tablet to identify any objects in your phone’s camera search for the objects, recognize text, and obtain their translations.

There is a fancy feature of Google Lens on mobile phones called Copy to computer. The feature allows you to copy text to your PC directly and works like magic.

Suppose you wrote something in your notebooks, such as a shopping list or some thoughts, and you want to copy the handwritten notes to a text editor on your PC. With Google Lens, you do not need to manually type the notes on your PC. You can copy the handwritten nodes directly to a PC by performing the following steps:

Step 1 Open the Google Lens app on your mobile phone. On an iOS device, tap the Lens icon in the Google app.

Step 2 Point the phone’s camera to the handwritten notes.

Step 3 Select the text you want, tap Copy to computer, and select the PC associated with your Google account. The text is copied to the clipboard on the PC.

convert image to text google lens

Step 4 Paste the text to the desired location on the PC, such as a text editor.

Can I Use Google Lens To Read a PDF?

Google Lens is a text recognition service, not a PDF reader. You cannot use Google Lens to open a PDF and read it directly. However, you can use the OCR feature of Google Lens to recognize text on images contained in a PDF.

For example, if a PDF contains a scanned document, such as a receipt, you can open the PDF in a PDF reader and then use the Google Lens app to recognize the text in the scanned document. You can also convert the PDF to an image using a PDF-to-image converter and then use Google Lens to recognize the text on the image.

A Great Alternative for Text Recognition: PDFelement

Google Lens provides an easy, fast, and free OCR service that you can use to recognize text on images. However, there are several disadvantages to using Google Lens for text recognition.

Internet access is required.

Google Lens is an online Google service that requires an Internet connection to function correctly. It cannot work offline. If you do not have Internet access, the OCR features of Google Lens, such as text recognition, are unavailable.

Export is not supported.

Google Lens does not provide an export feature. You can only copy the text that you want to other locations. This makes it inconvenient to edit or manage the text that is recognized. Google Lens is suitable for on-the-go text recognition but not large-scale image-to-text conversion.

Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor is an excellent alternative to Google Lens in text recognition. PDFelement is a fast, reliable, and robust PDF editor that supports OCR and is available on multiple platforms. You can use PDFelement to recognize text on images.

google lens ocr alternative

Compared with Google Lens, PDFelement has the following advantages:

  • PDFelement is a robust application that works offline. You do not need Internet access to convert images to text.
  • PDFelement’s OCR engine features high accuracy and efficiency. It supports batch operations and files export. You can use PDFelement to convert scanned PDFs to editable and searchable files, while Google Lens does not support these operations.
  • PDFelement is an OCR tool with various features that allow you to read, edit, and convert PDFs easily. This can significantly improve your productivity.

To use the OCR feature of PDFelement for text recognition, follow these steps:

Step 1 Open PDFelement. Drag and drop the image file from which you want to extract text into PDFelement. You can also choose Create PDF > From File and select the image file to open it in PDFelement. PDFelement automatically converts the image to a PDF and displays it in a new tab.

Step 2 In the upper part of the PDFelement window, click OCR in the Tool menu to recognize the text on the image. PDFelement recognizes all characters in the image and turns the characters into editable and searchable text.

google lens ocr alternative

Step 3 Copy the text to your desired location, such as a text editor. Then, you can edit the text. You can also use the Convert feature of PDFelement to convert the PDF to an editable and searchable file, such as Word or PPT.


There are other alternatives for image-to-text conversion than Google Lens. One of which is PDFelement. If you are looking for a dedicated PDF editor and converter that supports OCR, PDFelement is one of the more good choices on the market.

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