Windows 11 taskbar
The latest Windows 11 update adds Google Lens-like OCR to Windows 11. Pixabay

Microsoft has been sparing no effort to update its Windows 11 apps with AI capabilities lately. In line with this, the Redmond-based tech giant is set to add Optical Character Recognition in Camera and Snipping Tool.

Microsoft Paint has recently received a significant AI upgrade, including DALL-E and Bing-powered "Cocreator" features that create realistic images from text descriptions.

Aside from this, the classic Paint app on Windows 11 recently received Photoshop-like Layers and Transparency features. However, MS Paint is not Microsoft's only app going through a radical AI overhaul.

Apparently, a couple of Windows 11 inbox apps are slated to go through an AI upgrade with Microsoft adding support for OCR (Optical character recognition).

Windows Camera's OCR: What is it, how does it work?

Microsoft says OCR comes in handy for recognising printed and handwritten text in image files. Upcoming Windows Camera will be able to copy texts from an image and paste them into apps like Word without removing the formatting.

Microsoft's AI technology powers Windows Camera's OCR capabilities. This AI tech is probably influenced by its partnership with OpenAI. It is worth noting that OCR has been available on Windows in several places.

For instance, you could use PowerToys' OCR feature or go to to copy text from an image. This optical character recognition feature and in-house AI tech are now headed to the Camera app. In fact, it is already available in the Snipping Tool.

With OCR integration in Camera, the Windows 11 inbox app Photos could become more useful on desktops. Notably, tablet users will be able to directly scan for text through the camera lens and copy the text to the clipboard.

According to the folks at Windows Latest, this feature could roll out to testers in the coming weeks. The site also compares Windows 11's AI integration in the Camera app to Google Lens or OCR in Google's Pixel Camera app.

A source told Windows Latest that the OCR feature in Windows Camera is nearly flawless because it adopts AI technology. In other words, you could capture a picture of an open book and effortlessly copy the texts, including texts with unique formatting or complex characters.

OCR headed to Snipping Tool on Windows 11

OCR feature will reportedly come to the Camera app in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can try the AI magic on Windows now by using the updated Snipping Tool.

The Snipping Tool already boasts "Text Actions", aka AI-powered OCR. Text Actions detect text in your captured screenshots using Windows 11's AI technology. As a result, you can easily select the text from any image and paste it or copy it to the clipboard.

Also, using Snipping Tool's Text Actions is super easy. All you have to do is click the "Text Actions" button in the toolbar, and Microsoft will automatically highlight selectable text. You can copy this text with your mouse.

Alternatively, you can use Ctrl + A and Ctrl + C shortcut to copy all scanned images' text. Moreover, the Snipping Tool is capable of hiding or redacting sensitive information like emails or phone numbers before it shares the edited screenshot. This feature is coming to the Camera app as well.

What else to expect?

In its attempt to be at the forefront of the AI space, the company partnered with OpenAI, the company behind the widely popular ChatGPT AI chatbot. Aside from this, it released Bing Chat. Now, Microsoft is leaving no stone unturned to expand its AI efforts to Windows 11.

According to earlier reports, Microsoft has been planning to give Windows 11 an AI revamp for a while now. For instance, the American tech giant is reportedly prepping to add AI-powered live wallpapers to Windows 11.