You can now upload a PDF document or an image of text to Google Drive, and thanks to Google’s OCR (optical character recognition) technology it can convert those images into EDITABLE and SEARCHABLE Google Docs. As we move our way toward 1:1 and completely online texts, this technology is going to become absolutely necessary. The ability to change an image of text into editable text is new, and it was really only in the newest versions of Adobe Acrobat. Basically this means you can take a picture of some text and do whatever you want with it. Very exciting stuff!
Someone I know (ahem) used to scan pages from his text book and turn them into editable PDFs for students to use online to find information without spending time skimming through the text. But he couldn’t continue because his trial period ran out and he didn’t want to purchase an expensive piece of software for one job. This is another way to do that without having to spend money. Remember, everything is free with Google!
Check out this video that shows you how it works. They scan in a typed thesis and a (not-so-nicely) handwritten note and compare the results. Again, Google continues to amaze.
The only tricky part to this process is getting the image into Drive. And it’s really pretty simple.
Using your Drive app on your smart phone, click on the plus sign in the bottom right corner, then click the “Scan” icon. This will then bring up a camera screen where you will take a picture of the text you want to scan.
Once you take the picture, you will have the option to crop or rotate the image, add a page, or change from black and white (default) to full color.
After you are done scanning, click on the check mark and the image will be sent to your Drive as a pdf. Once there, you can follow the instructions in the video above to convert it to an editable Google Doc.
I’ve been messing with this tool for a couple of years, and it just keeps getting better. Try it! I’m sure you’ll come to love it as much as I do.