Text Recognition

The ML Kit Text Recognition API can recognize text in any Latin-based character set. It can also be used to automate data-entry tasks such as processing credit cards, receipts, and business cards.

iOS Android

Key capabilities

  • Recognize text across Latin-based languages Supports recognizing text using Latin script
  • Analyze structure of text Supports detection of words/elements, lines and paragraphs
  • Identify language of text Identifies the language of the recognized text
  • Small application footprint On Android, the API is offered as an unbundled library through Google Play Services
  • Real-time recognition Can recognize text in real-time on a wide range of devices

Text structure

The Text Recognizer segments text into blocks, lines, and elements. Roughly speaking:

  • a Block is a contiguous set of text lines, such as a paragraph or column,

  • a Line is a contiguous set of words on the same axis, and

  • an Element is a contiguous set of alphanumeric characters ("word") on the same axis in most Latin languages, or a character in others

The image below highlights examples of each of these in descending order. The first highlighted block, in cyan, is a Block of text. The second set of highlighted blocks, in blue, are Lines of text. Finally, the third set of highlighted blocks, in dark blue, are Words.

For all detected blocks, lines and elements, the API returns the bounding boxes, corner points, recognized languages and recognized text.

Example results

Photo: Dietmar Rabich, Wikimedia Commons, "Düsseldorf, Wege der parlamentarischen Demokratie -- 2015 -- 8123", CC BY-SA 4.0
Recognized Text
Text Wege
der parlamentarischen
Blocks (1 block)
Block 0
Text Wege der parlamentarischen Demokratie
Frame (117.0, 258.0, 190.0, 83.0)
Corner Points (117, 270), (301.64, 258.49), (306.05, 329.36), (121.41, 340.86)
Recognized Language Code de
Lines (3 lines)
Line 0
Text Wege der
Frame (167.0, 261.0, 91.0, 28.0)
Corner Points (167, 267), (255.82, 261.46), (257.19, 283.42), (168.36, 288.95)
Recognized Language Code de
Elements (2 elements)
Element 0
Text Wege
Frame (167.0, 263.0, 59.0, 26.0)
Corner Points (167, 267), (223.88, 263.45), (225.25, 285.41), (168.36, 288.95)