If you’re looking for an easy way to copy text from images on Linux be sure to check out TextSnatcher, an desktop app that was recently added to Flathub.

Being able to extract text from photos, pdfs and the like isn’t something new. Indeed, many ace tools exist for the job, including several well-regarded command line ones available on Linux. But being able to do it very easily? That is new.

With modern operating systems like macOS and Android making image OCR an integrated feature of their native image viewer tools or photo managers, it’s understandable that some folks new to Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and other distros expect similar functionality.

And with TextSnatcher, they do. The tool performs optical character recognition (OCR) in seconds, allowing you to quickly copy text from anything visible on your screen to your system clipboard, ready to paste elsewhere.

This application’s interface couldn’t be easier to use: you open it, click the “snatch” button, then use your DEs default screenshot tool to take a full screenshot or partial screenshot (recommended) focusing on just the text you want to copy.

Whilst the tool itself is ‘designed’ for elementary OS it runs fine elsewhere. I tried it on Ubuntu 22.04 and it both looked and ran perfectly. The open source Tesseract OCR engine powers this tool and it performs very well when the snatched area is high-res or text to copy large and clear.

On lower-res or smaller blocks of “text” copied is sometimes a few characters off, so do check when pasting. Any snatches with a lot of extraneous decoration can result in some gibberish results as the tool tries to assign text characters to random bits of borders, images, etc.

You can install TextSnatcher from Flathub on Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and other distros. It’s also available in the elementary OS App Center, and available from the AUR.

I haven’t compared TextSnatcher to the similarly-purposed Frog tool, so if you do I’d love to know which you think is best.

Apps elementary flathub apps flatpak apps ocr text snatcher