This text-grabbing tool is the Mac app you didn't know you needed

Screenshots of the TextSniper app from the Apple App Store.
The TextSniper app lets you grab any text from your screen. (Image credit: TextSniper app/Apple app store)

The TextSniper app logo from the Apple App Store.

(Image credit: Textsniper/Apple App Store)

Mac - Free (Offers In-App Purchases)

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There are lots of apps I’ll go looking for, like journaling apps, job list apps, photo editing apps and meditation apps. But there are some that I didn’t even know I needed and now use often, like TextSniper.

TextSniper is an easy to use Mac app with a simple purpose: to grab text. It’s officially known as an OCR (optical character recognition) app. Which means it can easily recognize and extract any text on your Mac’s screen that isn’t searchable or editable in a straightforward way.

Extract any text from any source

The great thing about TextSniper is it’ll capture any text. So we’re talking from web pages, PDFs, scanned paper documents, ebooks, and it’ll even grab it from images, too (including JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF and BMP files). You don’t even need to upload these files into the app, it just works on the fly.

It’ll then save anything you extract to your clipboard, so you can then paste it into any other text editing or note-taking app. As well as allowing you to extract any text on your Mac’s screen, TextSniper can also turn OCR text into speech.

Other OCR tools exist, but TextSniper makes the whole process really easy and intuitive. That’s because it’s accessible in your Mac’s menu bar, so whenever you need it you just click on the TextSniper icon, and the tool is on your device, which means you don’t need an internet connection for it to work. 

TextSniper costs $11.99/£11.99 for a one-off purchase. Unfortunately there’s no trial offer, but if you regularly need to access text from a bunch of different places, it would definitely be worth it. There’s support for character recognition in multiple languages, which is helpful for international users, including English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese.


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Becca Caddy

Becca Caddy is a contributor to iMore, as well as a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than a decade, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality. Last time she checked, she still holds a Guinness World Record alongside iMore Editor in Chief Gerald Lynch for playing the largest game of Tetris ever made, too.