Scanning and recognising text from books for sermon notes

I regularly want to use quotes from books and even store them on and usually had to type them in, having not found a good Optical Character Reader software (OCR) that was cheap or free. OCR converts the text in a scan or image to actual text for copying and pasting into a document. For a while I used an InfoScan TS, but the accuracy was so bad, it was quicker to type.

Today I tried out every free app I could find on the iOS app store, but they all either didn’t do OCR or wante dto charge a large monthly fee for the privelege. Finally I found an app called DocScanner Pro that offered optical character recognition and saving to image or PDF for the princely sum of £1.99 with no further fees.

The process is easy once you have installed the app and given it permission to use the camera.

1)Take a photo of the text

Take a photo of the text
As you can see it doesn’t matter which way round the iPhone camera is as you will be to rotate the image later. I didn’t hold the page down on this occasion to see how accurate it would be with not entirely straight text.

2) Crop the image to get the text you would like to OCR into a document

crop the image

3) Edit, rotate and save the image

Image rotated

Next click “Done” and then “Save”

4) Have the text processed by the OCR software in the app

Read image (OCR)

5) Select the text and copy it into your favoured document app (Evernote in my case), message or email!

Note on this badly taken image from a book the accuracy wasn’t 100%, on an unfair text. When I have held the book flat, it has been spot on every time!

Select the text itself


I’m preparing a talk on Revival at the moment and typing the quotes would have taken a long time – each scan and OCR takes about a minute so I am feeling much more productive. The talk preparation is taking ages, as I keep stopping to pray for revival as each quote and story stirs my heart.

The app is available on the iTunes store and gets a 100% thumbs up from me!

The quote used in this review is from Tom Lennie’s mighty tome “Scotland Ablaze”, which contains stories of the 20 year revival that hit Scotland in 1859. It was such a faith stirring read!As another reviewer wrote They say that history is boring – but what makes it interesting is when you get to the details. If that’s the case then Tom Lennie’s Scotland Ablaze must be one of the most interesting books on Scotland ever written. It is packed full of well–researched and evidenced detail. This is a book that will be used for decades to come as a source on the state of Christianity in Scotland in the 19th Century. You can dip in and out of it, but most of all it reminds us of a glorious time in Scottish history. Scotland Ablaze leads us to cry ‘Lord, do it again!’
It’s available on Amazon UK * and Amazon US*