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Tech tip: Digitize your handwritten notes or copy text from a photo

OK, I admit it. I’m a sucker for the latest gadget. I bought a smart notebook with all the upgrades to write my daily to-do lists digitally. Yeah, $600 later, I’ve used it 11 times.

It’s easy to waste money on tech. Tap or click for ways you might be throwing away money and solutions to help you save.

If you’re not getting enough life out of your gadgets, you can fix that too. Tap or click for 8 ways you’re ruining your PC.

The truth is, I like the feeling of an actual pen on paper. Maybe you do, too, but that doesn’t mean you can’t digitize all your notes for easier searching and sorting. Here’s how.

Get smart (notes) 

Ever wish you could turn your handwritten notes into something you can search or edit on your computer, phone, or tablet? You could take a picture, but that has a few limitations. For example, you won’t be able to search for certain phrases or edit the text. You need something made for the job.

A terrific way to get a handwritten note into your computer is to use the app Evernote. You simply take a picture of the note, and Evernote turns it into a searchable document. You can also organize your notes in folders and with labels.

Another great resource you should check out is Microsoft’s OneNote app. You take a picture of your writing and, like Evernote, can organize things into notebooks and pages.

Pro tip: Keep in mind the apps only work well with legible handwriting. If they aren’t picking up your notes, you’re going to have to slow down a bit.

Speaking of digitizing, what about all your old photos? Tap or click for an easy way to scan without buying a scanner.

Bonus tip: How to copy text from a photo

Apple’s latest major iPhone update, iOS 15, has many handy features to make life easier. Tap or click here for some of my favorites.

Here’s one I especially like: The Live Text feature allows you to scan, search and share text in photos and images.

Note: You’ll need an iPhone XS, XR or later with iOS 14 installed.

This is great to translate text that can’t be copied and pasted or find a photo with specific wording in it. It also works for phone numbers. Simply snap a photo of a package, for instance, and you can call the number in just a couple of quick clicks.

It doesn’t just work with your photos, either.

You can use the camera app to scan for text around you

To scan for information in photos and images, first, make sure the function is activated. Tap the Settings app, go to General and then to Language & Region. Enable Live Text by toggling it on.

Open the Photos app for photos on your camera roll and select the image you want to scan. Touch and hold over the text in the picture, and the grab points will appear around it. You will see several options to copy, select all text, translate, or share.

To identify text with your camera, open the camera app and point it at the text. The indicator icon will be available in the bottom right corner when the app detects text in the viewfinder. Tap the icon.

From there, you can select the text in the same way as described above. To cancel the capture, tap on the screen and the image will disappear.

Digital Life Hacks: Smart digital tips you need to know

More tech tips worth checking out

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

Over the years, I have made it my mission to share quick tips and advice to make your digital life easier. These are all those clever hacks you won’t find buried in a user manual. In this episode, my team and I share smart new tech know-how, from a safer way to share passwords to turning your handwritten notes digital.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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