The OCR (optical character recognition) technology is used to scan the text material from magazines, books, newspapers, document etc,. and save it in electronic format like in the text files or PDF documents. For this, usually you need a desktop computer equipped with a large flat bed scanner and an OCR software to convert the scanned images into text files. But you do not need all that if you have an Android smartphone with a good quality camera. You can convert your Android phone into an OCR scanning machine by using a free app called Text Fairy. The Text Fairy app can use the phone camera to take the pictures of text material, scan it using OCR and change it into text format. It can also save the text as PDF document and even read out the text audibly on your phone.
As you launch the Text Fairy app, it shows you options to either take a new picture using your phone camera or use an existing picture of some text document. If you feel confused, you can tap on the green fairy to see some more information. As most users would, we chose to go with taking a new picture.
This opens up your camera interface so that you can take a new picture. If you have flash in your phone camera, then pictures come better – otherwise you have to make sure that you put the text material under good light before taking a picture. Another thing to look for is the focus of the picture – better focus will result in better OCR success rate. After you have taken the picture, it allows you to select the text area in the picture you have taken.
In the next step, you have to choose whether the picture contains one column or two columns of text (some books and magazines have two columns). By default it assumes the language to be English, but you can change the language (new languages are downloaded from the internet).
Now the OCR process is started and an animated progress is displayed of the whole process. A percentage of the completed OCR process is shown as it goes through the picture recognizing the words. After the process is complete, it shows how successful it was (in my case it was 85%) and allows you to share the text, copy it to clipboard, listen to it using text-to-speech engine, or save it as PDF file.
At any later time, you can just tap on the picture file for with OCR has been done from within the Text Fairy app to quickly view the text extracted. It shows grammatical mistakes with red color so that you can edit the text and save it.
Conclusion: The free Text Fairy app can turn your Android smartphone into a powerful OCR scanning machine. You can use your phone to scan books, magazines, newspapers, documents etc., and use OCR to convert them into text files or PDF documents. It works very fast and gives results of very high accuracy.
You can get Text Fairy app from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.renard.ocr.