I find text recognition (OCR) has gotten quite well for scanned papers. Such software needs to deal with tilting, noise, dust and dirt, but the high resolution of the scans (150 dpi or more) seems to sufficiently compensate that.

On the other hand, I often have screen shots that have perfect readability, no noise, no tilting etc. but the text recognition badly fails.

Here's an example:

Sample screenshot

Screenshot of a library description from Arduino IDE

This results in the following text when using text recognition of Microsoft OneNote:

Jim Studt, To 
Bertrik Sikken M r 
, a k Ken 
I—wiæ temperatuæ and Other Chips 
m Pollard, Robin Glenn Dangel, Lovato, Paul Scott Roberts, 
Love Nvstmm Vers 
Butcher, Roger Clark, 

That's barely helpful and probably needs more time to fix than a good typer needs to write it down from scratch.

Thus, I'm looking for a OCR software that is optimized for screenshots.


  • runs on Windows 10 x64
  • costs less than 10 €
  • takes an image as input and gives text as output
  • does a great job on small fonts that are typically used on screen (like Arial, Consolas, Calibri, Times, Courier, Mono Sans etc.)
  • works with screenshots in the clipboard (I don't want to save each screenshot before doing the OCR)
  • must support ASCII characters, typical source code characters (#<{[]}>;) and Umlaut characters (äöüÄÖÜß)
  • works offline (no Internet connection required)
  • has a GUI that I can work with
  • its main purpose is OCR. So it is more a small utility rather than some hundreds of MB software which has OCR as a side feature (so Microsoft OneNote would not qualify here)


  • it may assume that the text is black, but should work with single color background


  • it does not need to perform well on high-resolution scanned documents
  • it does not need to support crazy fonts like brush script, ligature fonts (e.g. FiraCode), old fonts (e.g. Fraktura) or similar
  • Tesseract does a better job here, but it confuses 8 and B. I think a screenshot optimized version could still do better and correctly distinguish 8 and B. Also, Tesseract does not have a GUI. Commented May 28, 2020 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


Since version 0.62.0 Microsoft PowerToys included Text Extractor which is an OCR tool for copying texts on the screen

Text Extractor


  • Supported Operating Systems:
    • Windows 11 (all versions)
    • Windows 10 v2004 (19041) or newer
  • System architecture
    • x64 and Arm64 architecture are currently supported.
  • Our installer will install the following runtimes:

Install PowerToys

  • With which versions of Windows will this work? Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 10:22
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket MS released PowerToys for Windows 95 so it should work on pretty much any Windows version. J/K the modern version obviously has to work for Windows 10
    – phuclv
    Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 10:44
  • Thanks for the update. Appreciated! Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 13:10

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