3 Easy Ways to OCR Screenshots to Text and Excel on Mac

2019-04-17 05:07:04 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to PDF Follow @ Rosa

It’s super easy to copy and paste text from websites, Word documents and emails, just to name a few. What if you want to copy text from screenshots and other images? You’ll need to use OCR software. There are even apps designed for the sole purpose of OCRing screenshots on Mac. This article will show you how to OCR screenshot on Mac different ways.

The best way to OCR screenshot on Mac

This part will show you how to easily and accurately OCR screenshot to text, Excel and other common file types you may need.

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac is a PDF converter with a powerful OCR engine, providing the best solution for screenshot OCR on Mac.

  • OCR screenshot to text, Excel, Word, HTML and 6 other file types with high accuracy
  • Extract text and tables from screenshots and keep formatting
  • Support OCR in over 200 languages including English, German, Japanese, etc.
  • Batch OCR screenshots with high speed

How to OCR screenshot on Mac using PDF Converter OCR

Step 1Drag screenshots into the app

Download and install Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac. A free trial is offered. Launch it. Add screenshots for OCR by dragging and dropping or by clicking the add button.

add screenshots for OCR on Mac

Step 2Select an output format

Click the format dropdown list to select an export format. To extract plain text from images, just select the option to TXT. If you want it to retain formatting, choose to DOCX. If it’s a screenshot of a scanned table, then to Excel can be the best output option.

select output format for screenshot OCR on Mac

The default OCR recognition language is English. Click the language dropdown list to select a different language if needed.

select OCR language

Step 3Start OCRing screenshots on Mac

Click Convert, select a location to save the output file and click Save to OCR screen capture on Mac.

Cisdem PDF Converter OCR for Mac also provides users with the following features.

Other ways to OCR screenshots and images on Mac

Use Prizmo

Here’s another app that can OCR screenshot on Mac. It is able to OCR and extract text content from PDF files and common images such as PNG, JPEG and TIFF. By default, Mac saves screenshots as PNG, so you can use this tool to effortlessly OCR text from screenshots. It can perform OCR in 25 languages such as English, Finnish and French.


  1. Decent OCR performance with screenshots of text content
  2. Enables users to optimize images for better OCR results
  3. Multiple supported input/output formats and OCR languages
  4. Allows users to manually correct text before exporting
  5. Provides built-in translator and TTS reader


  1. Can’t extract tables from images and scanned documents
  2. Doesn’t allow screenshot OCR to Excel
  3. A bit costly

This app for screenshot OCR on Mac is very easy to use with a simple and easy-to-understand interface. It does a good job of extracting plain text from screenshot on Mac with great accuracy and offers useful features like translation. However, it doesn’t support exporting to some widely used formats such as Word and Excel. It costs $49.99, which is a bit expensive considering its relatively limited functionality.

Step 1. Purchase and get Prizmo installed on your Mac. Open the app. Import one or multiple screenshots. Note that you actually can’t batch OCR screenshot on Mac. You still need to perform OCR on each file one by one.

Step 2. In the Prepare window, you can get an image better prepared for OCR. You can rotate, crop and adjust things like brightness and contrast.

Step 3. Click Recognize, and the app will start performing optical character recognition. The right column will display the extracted text which is copyable and editable. You can manually make correction if any error appears. In the bottom toolbar, there are a few tools such as Merge, Translate and Speech. If the content in your screenshot is in a foreign language, say, Japanese, you need to click the Language button to change language. If the OCR result is not satisfactory, you can click Prepare to further fine-tune the image.

OCR screenshot on Mac using Prizmo

Step 4. Click the share icon in the upper right corner of the app’s interface to select an output format. 

Use PDFpen

To OCR screenshot on Mac, you can also use PDFpen. It can digitize scanned documents by using OCR and allows you to effectively extract content from images and scanned documents. There are a number of export formats such as Word, plain text, rich text and images.


  1. Performs OCR on images and scanned PDFs
  2. Allows users to OCR screenshots on Mac in bulk
  3. Easy file importing from local hard drive, scanners, etc.
  4. Let users optimize screenshots for better OCR performance
  5. Supports multiple languages
  6. Also offers useful PDF tools such as markup, signature, combination, etc.


  1. Expensive
  2. No option to export to Excel

With a price tag of $74.95, this app is expensive compared with some similar software. If its features are what you are looking for, then it will be worth the price. When it comes to OCRing screenshot on Mac, PDFpen can definitely do a great job. However, you can’t directly OCR screen capture to Excel. You can copy and paste the extracted text in the table though.

Step 1. Download and install PDFpen on your Mac. To add images for OCR, in the top menu bar, select File > Open.

Step 2. A window will pop up, asking you to select OCR language. The default language is English. Click OCR Document.

Step 3. Once the process is finished, the text in the screenshot will become selectable, copyable and editable. To make correction, select the text you want to edit and click Correct Text in the toolbar.

use PDFpen to OCR screenshots and images

Step 4. In the menu bar on the top of your screen, select File > Export. From the available export format, select the one you need.

There are still some other great apps to OCR screenshot on Mac.

Screenotate is basically a screenshot-taking tool with OCR functionality. This lightweight desktop app allows users to easily capture a screenshot and perform OCR on it. It currently only supports OCR in English, but users can expect more supported language with the future updates.

Easy Screen OCR for Mac is somewhat like an advanced version of Screenotate. It supports over 100 languages and also allows you to save screenshot as PDF. Both of them only extract plain text from screenshots. They are of little use when it comes to screenshot of tables. Also, both apps only work for screenshots. You can’t add files from folders or other sources.

OnlineOCR.net is an free online service that you can use to OCR images and PDF files. It’s web-based and compatible with all platforms including Mac. It supports 46 languages and allows you to OCR screenshots and to convert them to text and Word documents. The accuracy is high when it comes to high quality picture with easily recognizable text.

What is OCR? Why we need it

What is OCR? Many people don’t have a clear concept. OCR is the abbreviation of Optical Character Recognition. According to Wikipedia, it is the mechanical or electronic conversion of images of typewritten or printed text into machine-encoded text.

Why do we need to OCR images and screenshots? Sometimes, we may have some images that contain a lot of text and we need those. What you should do to extract those? Before the advent of OCR technology, people usually input manually, which means that you need to spend so much time on it and you also need to edit format by yourself if your image is complicated enough. But with the OCR technology and OCR software, you can extract the text from image easily on mac, and also can convert it other formats.

OCR software apps vary in performance, capacities, speed and usability. Regardless the app you use, when you OCR screenshot on Mac, you can help improve OCR result by preparing screenshots for OCR. You can increase image brightness and contrast, or remove noise, among other things.

Wrapping up

To OCR screenshot on Mac, you have many choices. There are tools dedicated to this purpose. There are also apps with more features and better performance. If your work involves OCR and manipulation of PDF files, professional software like Cisdem PDF Converter OCR will definitely be very useful. They can OCR text, tables and complex formatting and provide enough export options. For an occasional need to OCR screens for plain text extraction, an online service would be enough.

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3 Comments Leave a Reply

  • jamie89

    Never expect that I can extract the text from image capture so easily.

    2 years ago REPLY
  • Keith M

    I tried online OCR tool to export the text from an image text, the text is missing badly. Just now, I tried yours, good, at least, no text is missing and the format retains.

    2 years ago REPLY
  • Justin827

    I had a image, and I wanted to extract text from it, this article helped me. Thank you.

    3 years ago REPLY