Copy text from a scanned document or online fax

Applies to
Microsoft Office XP

Do you need to use information from a scanned document in your online document or PowerPoint presentation? Instead of retyping, you can use Microsoft Office Document Imaging, a program included with Microsoft Office, to quickly and easily reuse text that is normally locked inside a scanned image or online fax. In Document Imaging, you can use optical character recognition (OCR) to translate images of text, such as scanned documents, into actual text characters. Also known as text recognition, OCR makes it possible to copy and paste that text into any Office program.

The OCR dialog box shows the progress of the translation.

The OCR dialog box shows conversion progress

After OCR has been performed on the document, you can select, copy, and paste the text or numbers you want to insert into other Office programs.

Select the text you want to convert

Recognize and copy text in a scanned document or online fax

  1. Do one of the following:

ShowOpen a fax you received as an e-mail attachment

  • Double-click the attached .tif file to open the fax in Document Imaging.

ShowOpen a fax or scanned document (.tif) file located on your computer

  1. To start Microsoft Office Document Imaging 2003, point to All Programs (Programs in Microsoft Windows 2000) on the Windows Start menu, point to Microsoft Office, point to Microsoft Office Tools, and then click Microsoft Office Document Imaging.

To start Microsoft Office Document Imaging 2002, point to All Programs (Programs in Microsoft Windows 2000) on the Windows Start menu, point to Microsoft Office Tools, and then click Microsoft Office Document Imaging.

  1. On the File menu, click Open.
  2. Locate the fax or scanned document (.tif) file you want to fill out, and then click Open.

For more information about scanning in Document Imaging, see Document Imaging Help.

  1. In Microsoft Office Document Imaging 2003, click Recognize Text Using OCR on the Tools menu.

In Microsoft Office Document Imaging 2002, click Recognize Text Using OCR on the File menu.

You are now ready to copy the text you want. You can copy selected areas of text in the page pane (page pane: Displays the page that's selected in the thumbnail pane in a larger size, and enables portions of the page to be selected and copied.) or in Reading view. When you make a text selection, only entire words are selected. Words that extend beyond the selection rectangle are selected in their entirety.

  1. On the View toolbar, click Select Button image.
  2. In the page pane, select the area you want to copy.
  3. On the Edit menu, click Copy.

You can now paste the text into any Office program by switching to the program you want and using that program's paste command.