OCR OneNote vs OneNote 2016

Hi, in Office 365, why is OCR available only in OneNote 2016 not the other OneNote? I think OneNote is the current version, but that makes me wonder why such a useful thing like OCR isn’t offered. 

Thx :)

Answer
Answer

Hi Stardoom123,

Seems you are referring to the "Copy Text from Picture" feature in OneNote for Windows 10.

I test in OneNote version 16001.11901.20096.0 on Windows 10 version 1809(Build 17763.437), I tried to copy and paste a picture on a page in notebook, the option "Copy Text from Picture" doesn't appear immediately when right clicking the picture. However, after waiting for about 30 minutes, it appears.

(Note: depending on the complexity, legibility, and the amount of text shown in the picture you've inserted, the waiting time won't always be the same and may be longer.)

Besides, if I go to check the old OneNote pages containing pictures, "Copy Text from Picture" appears when I right click pictures.

Regarding this behavior, I did some research and found that in OneNote 2016 OCR runs locally, so "Copy Text from Picture" appears seconds after pasting the pictures. While in OneNote for Windows 10, OCR runs on the server so it needs processing time and we need to wait for some time. Sorry about the inconvenience.

I understand OneNote OCR is a great and useful feature, for the behavior that OCR in OneNote for Windows 10 doesn't work as fast as that in OneNote 2016, I recommend sending your valuable feedback to the OneNote Team via clicking Settings and More(3 dots) in upper-right corner>Settings>Feedback. This would be the best way to let the developers know your requirement and help improving the product.

Thanks for your understanding.

Best regards,

Tina

Thanks for the info. 

I confirm this instance. Wait just in a while until the "copy text from picture" option in right click drop down menu appears like magic. :D 

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Answer
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The statement "OCR runs on the server" is valid for all OneNote variants, except for OneNote 2016.

The reason is to save money by avoiding platform specific OCR solutions.

From a user point of view it's a dumb decision because it makes OCR seemingly at least unreliable or even nonexistent. So it may happen to miss the OCR result because you have no Internet connection (you receive the result only after a hidden sync).

And it can be worse:

An example (I tested it):

  1. inserted a picture into OneNote for Windows
  2. no "Copy text from Picture" (as expected)
  3. sync to OneNote 2010
  4. instantly "Copy text from Picture" (as expected)
  5. text in good quality in OneNote 2010 (as expected)
  6. waiting some minutes
  7. "Copy text from Picture" appears in OneNote for Windows (as expected)
  8. horrible text quality in OneNote for Windows (not expected)
  9. took a second look in OneNote 2010
  10. the horrible quality text from OneNote for Windows has been synced to OneNote 2010 and has overwritten the good quality text from OneNote 2010 ("expected" 😋)

Bravo Microsoft !

No further comment necessary.

Bernd

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Last updated June 24, 2020 Views 641 Applies to: