Artificial intelligence-based tools can generate photos and illustrations from text descriptions. But similar tools can do the opposite: turn images into text.
Here are six of my favorites.
Accessibility and SEO
Image to Text. AI’s understanding of images is new and imperfect. Still, it’s helpful in my experience.
Image to Text provides short, AI-powered descriptions of an image. Upload an image, and the tool will describe it. (It’s less helpful for illustrations, however.) Image to Text offers free and premium versions.
Gradio’s InkyMM, another tool, provides free detailed descriptions of any image. It offers two models: MPT and Dolly. The latter produced much better results in my testing, even for complex illustrations.
Both tools can create alt text, essential for visually-handicapped users and search engine optimization. For SEO, consider tweaking the text with targeted keywords.
Social Media Captions
CaptionIt is a freemium phone app that creates captions for social media. Upload a photo and choose the caption’s style. CaptionIt will then generate captions based on those settings and the photo content. The tool has increased my productivity and improved my captions.
CaptionIt’s free version is limited. The (much) more robust Pro version is $1.99 per month.
Text extraction tools are not new. Many accessibility screen readers include them. AI makes those tools more accurate — for accessibility, SEO, video scripts, and more. The tool extract text from images, video frames, and presentation slides.
Nanonet’s free text-from-image extraction tool can process any image up to 30 MB in seconds. The output is a downloadable text file. The tool can also extract hand-written text but with inconsistent results in my test. Nanonets also offers a free Google Chrome extension.
Google Lens is a mobile app alternative to Nanonets. It is built into the Google Search app for iPhone and Android. Grant the app access to your photos, choose an image, and then navigate Text > Select all > Copy text.
For excessive text on images, consider extracting and then pasting it into ChatGPT for a summary.
Google Translate is a popular and free web-based tool to translate text alone or on images.
Google Translate will detect text (typed or handwritten) on any image and produce that image translated into the chosen language or as text alone.
Translate, like Lens, is built into Google’s Search app.