Tag Archives: google docs

Using Google Drive for OCR

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is when a program looks at the image with text, recognises those shapes as in fact being text, and then leaves you with a document that is editable as text.  (or at least matches this text up against the orginal file making it keyword searchable.)

It used to be that if you needed to do this you needed to have an expensive specialized program.  These days, you can do this with your google drive and google docs.


For example,

here is a picture of a page in an old dictionary. You may have taken this picture with your phone.

The first thing we want to do is convert it to a pdf.  You can do this in a number of ways, but I do it by choosing to print the file, not to paper, but to a pdf. This looks like this on a Mac (see thet pdf pulldown in the lower left?)

Now I have a pdf.

Note that this page does not have columns.  This freebie method doesn’t handle columns well.  You could still do it, but you would want to slice the image up so that in each picture was just one column, and then put them back together in the final document.

Next you take your pdf, and load it to your google drive:

Select File upload.

browse to your file and select it.

When it is done uploading, select “recent” so the new files are at the top and easy to find.

Now right click  the pdf and choose Open with -> Google Docs.

When you open an image based pdf in google docs, it will automatically runs OCR, giving you a file that look like this:

and now you have an editable document.

iPads and Office – a friday feature exploration

So – truth be told, I’ve pretty much stopped using Microsoft Office for a while now. This makes me a great person to try a new install though right?

What have I been using?  Well, I will preface this by saying that I am an old school Macintosh user. That being said, I have used OpenOffice, the iWorks Suite (Keynote, Numbers and Pages) and more recently the Google Docs apps.

Google Docs
Google Docs

Some people still want MSOffice though. They even want it on their iPads. The question that I got recently, was whether or not the Office365 that we had as part of our Stony Brook campuswide MS agreement could get you access to the iPad apps.  My answer was no – but I’m going to upgrade my machine today and make sure this is true.

So first I’m going to go to the software area of the it.stonybrook.edu page. Note I’m doing this on my desktop machine, not the ipad. I see a link about Office 365 which doesn’t say anything about the Word, Powerpoint or Excel. I’m going to create an account anyway – the drive space looks interesting/useful. The login page is here: https://stonybrook365-my.sharepoint.com/

Use your campus e-mail. For me that’s jennifer.adams@stonybrook.edu and hit enter.

A small Authentication Required window drops down.  Don’t use your NetID, but use your e-mail address again, and your NetID password.

Now that I have started up the Office 365 account online on my desktop, I want to see if this login info will work on the ipad. I’m going to Microsoft Word for iPad in the App Store and downloading the app. The app is just something that says… hey get Office 365 and login here – not much of an app, but we have a login now – let’s try it. I get this screen:


ipad app login



















I’m going to pick “organizational account”.  Login with my e-mail and NetID password.. and I get something that prompts me to buy Office 365 Home (boo) or “View for Free”. Trying ‘View for Free” opens up the Word application. Trying to create a new document confirms that this isn’t going to work. I can only read files, not create or edit files.

Interestingly enough, back on the desktop, there is an option to create a new file in OneDrive and clicking on this takes me to Word Online…. and I can see the new document I just made back on the iPad and open it (but not edit it). hum.  Seems odd.

So – the end result is that if you get your free SBU Office365 account setup and download the Word for iPad app, you can connect together your OneDrive cloud storage, which gives your access to a full cloud based Word application on your desktop, but only a reader on your iPad. To me this = fail. At least you know what you are getting now. Including the cloud versions of Word, Excel PowerPoint, OneNote and Excel survey, which weren’t mentioned on the original SBU page as being included for the desktop. ***  

*** read the comments for a work around involving using the iphone app, rather than the ipad app.