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Use Google Docs to Convert Images and PDFs to Editable Text

June 25, 2014
Here is a great Google Doc tip that helps me a lot with my studies in university. As a graduate student, most of my reading assignments and hand-outs come in the form of PDFs and some of these documents are only scanned versions of the original documents. Often times, these PDFs are low-quality as they are poorly scanned which makes reading them a real pain in the butt. Also, scanned PDFs do not allow you to do much on them: You can not annotate or edit text on them. However, there is a workaround to this using Google Docs OCR(Optical Character Recognition).

Optical Character Recognition(OCR) lets you convert scanned PDFs or any image that include text in it into text documents using automated computer algorithms in Google Docs. Once converted, you can then edit and annotate the text as you like. Here is how to activate OCR on your Drive.

1- Log in to your Google Drive
2- Once you are in your Drive's Homepage, click on the gear button at the top right hand side. Under "upload settings" tick the "convert text from uploaded PDF and image files" and " confirm settings before each upload".

Now when you upload a scanned PDF or an image with text into Google Docs, you will be able to see converted text below the image. Watch the video below to see one example of this.

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