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Evernote does OCR on the images you save to it. Is there a way to get the full text equivalent for an image in Evernote, or is the OCR only for searching?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Evernote API has functionality to get text and rectangle where this text is present inside the image. See http://evernote.com/about/developer/api/evernote-api.htm, check out "Evernote Recognition Index XML Format" and functions to retrieve it. Problem is that they don't do traditional OCR ... their OCR algorithm may produce different words for single "word" on image. All they use it for is search, so this is fine for them, but not fine for using it as a recognition engine. (Although they give you weight for each word alternative, so maybe you can use that)

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Also, Evernote apparently doesn't decide a particular image is equivalent to exactly one word - e.g., Evernote doesn't determine that a particular image is "clue" and is not "due". Rather, it will track both, and a search for either would return the same image. Hence, there's no way to get a full-text equivalent because Evernote isn't deciding what the full text actually is, only what it could be.

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+1 Interesting. –  Leigh Riffel Aug 27 '10 at 12:51
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evernote pays a decent sum to the creator of the ocr-stuff OR paid a decent sum to put something working together. thus, i really doubt that they will let you get the extracted text (+ positioning on the image).

(could be a business model, to scan other peoples images and provide good ocr :))

so, the answer is: no.

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This isn't true. There is API for getting exactly this information. See my answer. –  Peter Štibraný Jul 13 '11 at 12:01
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I'm not sure how much sophistication you need, but since I also use Adobe Acrobat, I just right click on my Evernote attachment to open with Acrobat.

Then from within Acrobat I select "Document|OCR text recognition", then save the document as plain text.

This works well for me since I only need an occasional OCR conversion.

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If you could get all the images out of Evernote, you could do the OCR with Google Docs.

You can upload a folder of images to Google Docs and have them converted to Documents, which will contain both the image and the OCRed text.

You can then batch-download all of these documents as plain text, which will strip out the image.

If you name all the Evernote images with a hash (e.g. md5), it should be easy to link up plain text files downloaded from Google Docs with the original image.

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