Live Text is a new feature in macOS Monterey that lets you use text in an image. This is a very useful feature. For example, if you’ve ever been in a meeting or lecture and took a photo of a whiteboard full of written information, you can now select the text in the photo, copy it, and then paste it. in a document.
There are many ways to use the Live Text feature, and it’s a huge time-saving production tool. Live Text is also in iOS 15 and iPad OS 15, and since you probably use the cameras on those devices often, you can use Live Text on your iPhone and iPad more than on your Mac. But it’s coming to macOS Monterey this fall and works in the Photos app, Safari, Quick Look, and Screenshot feature.
Here’s an overview of how Live Text on Mac works on macOS Monterey. Live Text works on both M1 and Intel Macs. You can watch the video below to see it in action, or you can read the article below for instructions on how to use it.
Using Live Text in Photos, Quick Look, and Safari
When looking at an image, move your cursor over the text and the text selection tool appears. (Some apps, such as Preview, require you to first switch to the text tool before you can select text.) You can then select the text, copy it, and then paste it into a document. You also have the option of grabbing the text in the image and dragging it to another app, then dropping the text, as you can see in the gif below.
Live Text does a very good job with its character recognition. In the gif above, you can see that Live Text was able to recognize the accent on the letter “O”. You may also notice that there are some marks in the corner of the front panel the ‘S’ of SOY; Live Text interpreted this as a bullet point. Also, Live Text translated the “O” in BASURERO to “D”, but it’s hard to fault Live Text because it looks like a “D” in the picture.
Macworld’s Glenn Fleishman reviewed Live Text and compared it to other character recognition tools, such as PDFpen, Google Docs, and Microsoft OneNote, and found that Live Text produced the best results.
Use of research
With the text selected, you can right-click, display the context menu, and you have the option to search for the text. (If you’re using Safari, the Search selection in the third section of the context menu, under the Save Image and Copy Image sections.)
Three search options are available:
Siri knowledgewhich displays information based on the context of the selected text.
Mapswhich searches Maps based on text and displays a location.
Websites suggested by Siriwhich searches the web using the selected text and offers a website for you to browse.