How to use Live Text and the Visual Finder in macOS Monterey

‘Live Text’ is a new feature in macOS Monterey that allows you to use text from an image. It is quite practical. For example, if you’ve ever gone to a meeting or class and taken a photo of the whiteboard, now you can select that text, copy it, and paste it into a document.

There are many ways to use the ‘Live Text’ feature, and it is a tool that will save you a lot of time. ‘Live Text’ is also available in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 and, precisely because you probably use the cameras of these devices more often, you probably use the function more on an iPhone or iPad as well than on a Mac.

But in the fall it will come to macOS Monterey and it works with the Photos app, Safari, Quick Look and the screen capture function.

We explain how ‘Live Text’ works on the Mac using the macOS Monterey public beta. Although Apple does not include Intel Macs in the compatibility list, the feature has become available on these devices with the fourth beta.

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How to use Live Text in Photos, Quick View and Safari

The ‘Live Text’ feature works similarly in the Photos app, in Safari, and in Quick Look. At the time of writing, the feature does not appear to be active with the screenshot app in public beta.

When you have an image in front of you, place the cursor over the text and you will see that the text selection tool appears. You can then select the text and copy and paste it into a document.

You will also have the option of taking the text from the image and dragging it to another app and then dropping it, as we teach you in this GIF.

‘Live Text’ works very well at identifying characters. In the GIF above, you can see how ‘Live Text’ identified the accent over the letter “O” (although it would have to go in the “A”).

You may also have noticed that there are a couple of marks in the corner of the sign before the “S” for “SOY.” The function interpreted it as a vignette.

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Also, ‘Live Text’ interpreted the “O” in “GARBAGE” as a “D”, but it’s really hard to blame it when it looks a bit like a “D” in the picture too.

How to use the Visual Finder

Once the text is selected, you can right-click to bring up the context menu and you have the option to use the Finder. If you use Safari, it will appear in the third section of the menu, below ‘Save image’ and ‘Copy image’.

Three options are offered in the Search Engine:

Siri knowledge: Displays information based on the context of the selected text.

Visual Finder in macOS Monterey

Maps: Search Maps by text and display a location.

Visual Finder in macOS Monterey

Siri Suggested Websites: Search the Internet using the selected text and return a web page that you can read.

Visual Finder in macOS Monterey

Original article published in Macworld US.

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