TextGrabber scan and translate

Last modified
Friday, February 14, 2020

Description of App

TextGrabber + Translator turns your mobile device into a multifunctional mobile scanner with translation capability. It can extract text from a variety of printed sources by using the device’s camera. With TextGrabber’s quick text capturing and translation features, you can digitize printed information and translate it into your native language anywhere anytime.

★★★★★ Winner of SUPERSTAR Award in the “Text Input” category in the 2012 Mobile Star Awards ★★★★★

Just take a picture of the text, and you can immediately edit, voice it aloud or translate, share via e-mail and SMS, or post directly to your Facebook, Twitter or Evernote account.

The application is compatible with the iPhone 5, 4S, 4, 3GS, and also works with iPad 3,4 and iPad mini (in compatibility mode)

★★★★★ “The Best Image-to-Text App for iPhone”- lifehacker.com

★★★★★ “The results get delivered relatively fast, which is great. A must have for students” - appadvice.com

★★★★★ “Textgrabber is probably the best app which adds another function to your iPhone: a scanner”- The Irish Times

★★★★★ “Simply amazing - I scanned an entire 8.5 *11 single spaced page in low light with a highly non-standard vocabulary and it recognized everything without a single typo” - TextGrabber + Translator user

★★★★★ “The TextGrabber + Translator app gets 2 thumbs up from me. But only because I don't have anymore thumbs to give it. If I did, I would.” - Caroline Pointer, 4YourFamilyStory.com

Thanks to ABBYY’s Mobile OCR Technology, it only takes TextGrabber + Translator a few seconds to accurately recognize plain text in more than 60 languages.

With TextGrabber + Translator you can scan and translate:

  • Documents
  • Receipts
  • Notes
  • Articles
  • Book fragments
  • Manuals and instructions
  • Product ingredients, etc.


  • NEW! Recognized and translated text-to-speech with VoiceOver system feature.
  • NEW! Adjusting font from small to big and sound tips for interface elements to assist visually impaired people.
  • NEW! Tips for using TextGrabber + Translator effectively
  • Accurate on-device text recognition in more than 60 languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Korean and others (an Internet connection for OCR isn’t required).
  • Instant translation from more than 40 languages (please note: an Internet connection is required)
  • Captured text can be edited or copied to the clipboard
  • Fast & convenient information sharing via Facebook, Twitter, email or SMS
  • One-tap uploading of recognition and translation results to Evernote
  • Search engine support
  • All captured texts are backed up and can be easily found anytime in the “History” folder.

OCR HINT: Please select the appropriate language (up to three at a time) before recognition

VIEW DEMO VIDEO on YouTube: http://bit.ly/textgrabber

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Unfortunately, we are unable to respond to your comments here. With any questions and suggestions please contact us directly at support@abbyy.com



Free or Paid


Apple Watch Support

Not Known

iOS Version


Device(s) App Was Tested On


Accessibility Comments

AppleVis Editorial Team Note: Taken from the Comments below that this app is now fully accessible. If you feel that this should differ please leave your comments below.

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling

All buttons are clearly labeled.


The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Other Comments

I've tried several OCR apps for the iPhone. Generally I have been quite disappointed and most have not worked for me at all. TextGrabber is different, it actually works for me. It is made by ABBYY who also makes the FineReader application for Windows--which is the most accurate OCR application I use. In my experience so far, it [TextGrabber] seems fairly tolerant of my bad picture taking. The tip I would suggest is to turn on the flash. That way you don't have to worry so much about lighting conditions.


3 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by Travis Roth 7 years 8 months ago



Submitted by Esther on Friday, April 5, 2013

TextGrabber is not an app that a totally blind user can use for OCR without either some external assistance in holding the iPhone unskewed (aligned with text), flat, and the correct distance away while taking the picture, in lieu of vision, or else with a LOT of practice and the experience of first training with other OCR apps such as Prizmo. Since a number of visually impaired users report difficulties even using Prizmo, it is important stress that the TextGrabber app may not be usable for someone without vision except in special circumstances: 1) trying to OCR text from a screen captured image, or images that you know are aligned and suitable for OCR or 2) images that are taken with an accessory stand that allows blind users to align images and take stable, flat, sufficiently illuminated images for OCR without vision.

Case 1 can apply if your image is a screen capture of text, such as a screen from an eBook app, a display of a PDF image of a document that was sent as an email attachment (where you expect the text to be aligned), or where you use an app like Hamrick Software's VueScan Mobile to send a high resolution scan from a compatible Wireless scanner or printer on your network directly to an iOS device (not necessarily an iPhone) on that network, so you can run an OCR program on images saved in your camera roll. Case 2 can apply if you can use an external stand to support the iPhone and hold it flat at the correct distance, and where you can align the pages by touch reference to that accessory.

There are 5 buttons announced at the top of the main TextGrabber screen, and 4 announced at the bottom.  These are, in order from left to right at the top of my screen 

  1. "EN" The 2-letter code for the language used for OCR -- here, English 
  2. "Crop off"  Interactive cropping is turned off. 
  3. "Flash off" Flash is turned off.
  4. "Settings VF" Button to access "Settings" screen on the ViewFinder
  5. "Info VF" Button to access "About" screen that describes the app version and  let's you send an email query by double tapping "Support"

There are buttons at 3 positions at the bottom if the main TextGrabber screen, but at the central position just above the Home button, where you take the exposure, VO may announce either "Photo bttn", or "camera dark" if you manage to touch the exact center of the "Photo bttn" button.  Tapping either one of these will take an exposure. It is slightly confusing that "camera dark" gets announced in a two finger flick "read all", but I believe it is an icon that sits in the exact center of the "Photo" button.

  1. "History W" Button (at bottom left corner) to access "History" screen. Useful to bring up text of past OCR scans, especially for accessing the individual sheets of a multipage document
  2. "Photo Bttn" (at bottom center, above the Home button) To take an exposure with the camera for OCR
  3. "Album" (at bottom right corner) To access "Photos" screen for selecting an image from your camera roll to OCR
  4. "Camera Dark" (at bottom center, in the very center of the "Photo bttn" button) To take an exposure for OCR

I recommend that the first time you use TextGrabber, you go "Settings" (4th of 5 buttons at the top of screen), select a recognition language by double tapping "Recognition Languages" under the "Recognition" setting, and then set the "Enable crop" switch button to off under the "Photo" heading. Interactive cropping requires vision to adjust the crop region, so turning this off saves you from having to do extra taps to bypass the crop step. I also turn off the switch to "Save Snapshot"to save space, unless I want to have a copy of the image saved to my camera roll that I can forward to someone else, or check in another OCR application.  For example, someone who is sighted can comment on whether the image was taken u der good lighting, or had alignment problems, or might want to see an image of the original document, like a hotel bill.



Hi, thank you for your comments. I think alignment is true of any app. Being blind myself this is the first app I have had success with. So if you're in the market for such an app I still think it is wortha try. Results may vary of course.

Submitted by Esther on Tuesday, April 9, 2013

TextGrabber's version 3.0 update (April 9, 2013) includes OCR improvements and enhanced VoiceOver support. Here's the list of What's New:

  • Improved recognition algorithm
  • Full support for VoiceOver
  • Recognized and translated text-to-speech with VoiceOver
  • Sound tips for various interface elements
  • Option to display recognition results in large font

The comments that labeling could be improved in the original review have been addressed. For example, here are the current button announcements for the five buttons at the top of my main screen, followed by what's additionally announced if "Speak hints" is turned in your VoiceOver settings.

  1. "Enable recognition languages, English" Hint is: "Opens the list of recognition languages".
  2. "Crop photo off" Hint is: "Tap twice to switch the setting".
  3. "Flashlight off" Hint is: "Tap twice to switch the setting".
  4. "Settings" Hint is: "Opens the settings dialog"
  5. "User Manual" Hint is: "Opens the manual"

The buttons on the bottom of the main screen have also been cleaned up, so there are no longer two different buttons that can be used to take a picture, and the labeling has been improved.  Here are the current announcements for the three buttons at the bottom of the screen:

  1. "History" Hint is: "Go to the list of recognized documents"
  2. "Camera" Hint is: "Tap twice to take a picture"
  3. "Album" Hint is: "Opens the album for selecting photos"

There are more announcements in the process, even for controls for performing interactive adjustment (possible for low vision users), and the screen with results is announced as "Recognized text".  Navigation and announcement of the menu of options for what to do with the recognized text (twitter, mail, copy, etc.) is also improved.  The OCR algorithm works faster.  If you have the TextGrabber app you should load  the version 3.0 update for the many improvements.  

Submitted by Esther on Tuesday, April 9, 2013

With the version 3.0 release, TextGrabber is now fully accessible with VoiceOver and all buttons are clearly labeled. This is still a challenging OCR app for blind users to use because of the precision required for aligning the camera with text. (The Prizmo app is more tolerant of skew.) But TextGrabber has been reported to work very successfully with external stands like the StandScan Pro, that make it easier to align the iPhone with the text. It's worth noting that if your alignment is close, TextGrabber will recognize text that is upside down or rotated by ninety degrees clockwise or counterclockwise. It also supports OCR for a large numver of lanaguages.

TextGrabber can sometimes be used to get around app accessibility issues. On occasion, you'll be presented with a screen of instructions that is a graphic, or a registration screen where some buttons are either unlabeled or have labels like "Green reg" button that do not identify the button's action. In some instances you can retrieve this information by taking a screen capture image of the problem screen, and then using the "Album" button on the main TextGrabber screen to OCR the last image in your camera roll. Here are the steps.

  1. Taking a screen capture image: Make sure that your screen curtain is not turned on, and that the screen brightness slider under the Settings > Brightness & Wallpaper is set to at least 30% or higher.  Then simultaneously do a short press and then release of both the Home button and the power/lock button at the top right edge of you iPhone. You should hear a sound like a shutter closing for a successful screen capture. If you have difficulty pressing both buttons simultaneously, you can press the home button slightly ahead of the power/lock button, but do not release it until you can quickly release both buttons at the same time.
  2. Launch TextGrabber
  3. Make sure that the "Crop photo" button is set to off.
  4. Double tap the "Album" button at the bottom right corner of the screen to use a photo from your camer roll instead of taking a picture with the camera.
  5. Flick to "Camera Roll" and double tap
  6. Slide you finger up from the Home button to hear the number of photos. This is also the last element in the screen, if you prefer to do a four finger tap on the bottom half of the screen to move here.
  7. Flick left to the last photo in your camera roll and double tap to select it.
  8. You'll hear TextGrabber announce "Recognized Text" if it was able to OCR the image.
  9. Double tap the "Menu" button in the bottom right corner if you want to access options to copy the results to clipboard, email, or other options.  You can always switch back to this app in your App Switcher window and read these results.  If you close the app, you can also always read the previously OCR'ed text results by double tapping the "History" button in the bottom left corner in the main screen.

This method does not always work, if button graphics use an icon instead of text, or if the instructions are text, but set against a colored picture background.  However, it can often provide useful information. You can use any OCR app that lets you select input from the camera roll.  TextGrabber is particularly good for this because it is very fast, and will also handle the OCR whether the screen capture was done in portrait or landscape mode. Apps like Prizmo will also work, but take a few more steps. I just used this to find out how to get past the startup screen that now shows up for the latest version of the Audubon Birds app with a prompt to join Nature Share, but with no usable way for VoiceOver to distinguish button options labeled "Green reg" as "Already a Member? Sign In" from "Create a New Account", and to find that last unlabeled "button" is "Cancel". 

Best OCR app of all times. that's only what I can say. ABBYY is top noch at OCR technology and they already proved it with their PC software, fine reader. I bought this app and i'm happy with it, (it's also cheaper than the other alternatives)

Submitted by Neil on Thursday, March 6, 2014

hello, I purchased text grabber on 4th of march 2014, however I'm not happy with the result that I'm getting from this app. I'm getting an error [failed to auto focus] while scanning any document. For your information my screen curtain is off & brightness is set to 50%. are there any steps which I am missing? am I supposed to make any changes in settings or anywhere else? Kindly guide me for the same. any help will be appreciated. Thanks in advance

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