Extract Text from a Screenshot with Shortcuts

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Here is a macOS Shortcut to take a screenshot and extract text from it using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). I find this useful to copy text from e.g. a presentation or video during a virtual call, etc.

Of course, macOS Monterey also supports Live Text in apps like Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look and Safari. However, this method is just a bit quicker, if all you need is to copy text from an app without having to save a screenshot first.

Shortcuts - OCR Screenshot

Each action takes the input from the one before:

  • Take an interactive screenshot of a portion of the screen,
  • Extract text from the screenshot (works off-line too),
  • Allow user to choose a subset of recognized text to copy - this step is optional, feel free to delete it for a totally automated process,
  • Combine to selected items into a single string (rather than a list object),
  • Copy the selected string to the clipboard.

Shortcuts - Copy OCR'ed Text