How Evernote makes text inside images searchable

Did you know that when you snap a photo or attach an image to a note, Evernote can find and identify text — including handwritten text — inside that image?

How it works

Typewritten text and handwritten notes that are in JPG, PNG, or GIF file format are evaluated by our indexing system. Text found within an image will be evaluated if it matches one of the following orientations within a few degrees:

  • 0° – normal horizontal orientation
  • 90° – vertical orientation
  • 270° – vertical orientation

Text that does not match one of these orientations will be ignored (including diagonal and inverted text). When images are indexed, they may turn up several results. For example, the indexing system may look at a word and decide that it is either “cat", “bat”, or “3at”.

The best way to ensure that handwriting, specifically, is found and indexed is to follow these guidelines:

  • The clearer the handwriting, the more likely it will be accurately indexed for search. If the penmanship is difficult to read, then Evernote will have a much harder time discerning the written words.
  • Keep in mind that, instead of generating a single match for a given handwritten word, Evernote will generate several possible matches for the word. For example, the word "flat" as written in a JPG might be indexed as "flat", "float" or "fiat".

Currently, Evernote can index 28 typewritten languages and 11 handwritten languages. You can choose which language is used when indexing by changing the Recognition Language setting in your account settings.

More about how Evernote’s image recognition works


  • Snap photos of restaurant menus (including takeout menus) and collect them in your Evernote account for future reference.
  • Snap photos of wine and beer labels to keep track of your favorites and any tasting notes.
  • Snap photos of gift cards and gift certificates so you always know where you might have some extra money to spend.
  • Snap photos of handwritten birthday cards and revisit them whenever your heart desires.
  • Snap photos of warranties, product care instructions, and any other handy piece of information you come across in paper form.



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