have you ever noticed that someone post a screenshot of text without providing an image description, preventing you from being able to read it? or maybe they posted a huge amount of text that just can't possibly be described with the image description feature?

simply tag @OCRbot in a direct reply to the image. it will download the image and scan it using tesseract OCR to output the text contained in the image!

because OCRbot runs on fedi.lynnesbian.space, it has a character limit of 65535, so even the longest images should work OK!

check the reply to this image to see it parsing the attached screenshot!

some caveats:
- it's not perfect, and it will often make small mistakes
- some images won't work at all. tesseract works best with black text on a white background, or other simple layouts.
- OCRbot won't work with handwriting.

most importantly, OCRbot is *not* a substitute for captioning your images. it's imperfect, it trips up on anything but the simplest text screenshots (with basic fonts and single colour background images), and it puts the OCR output *in the replies*, meaning that people have to do an extra step to see the text output of an image.

more things it can't do:

- it doesn't know how to handle images (such as profile pictures within posts) at all. it'll usually know to ignore them but sometimes it'll try to read them as text.
- it can't handle complex text. even things as simple as italics can trip it up. text on angles, handwriting, etc. won't work.
- it doesn't do videos, not even the thumbnails. this includes GIFs.
- if your image doesn't make it to my instance, it won't work. for example, if you have a really slow server, and it takes more than 30 seconds for an image to get from your server to mine, it won't work.
- it can't read followers-only posts.

so please, please caption your images. OCRbot is a last resort for the vision impaired and others who want to get the text out of your image where you didn't provide it. OCRbot doesn't work anywhere near as well as an able-bodied human can. if the text is upside down, OCRbot doesn't have a chance, but you and i do.

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@lynnesbian thank-you so much for your work. :blobcatheart: I always try to caption my images, but sometimes there's so much text it's overwhelming (or impossible bc of my instance's char limit). so I just won't post if I can't transcribe the image. this gives me a way to share those longer text screencaps!

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