Re: Introducing GrabText app and financing problem

  • From: "qubit" <lauraeaves@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "bprogramming" <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 19:27:56 -0500

Jamal, are you suggesting that individuals pay $699 for a developers
license? or are you asking people to send in contributions toward one person
getting the developers license?
If one person buys the $699 license, does that make it possible for multiple
persons to access the source? or is that restricted?
Sorry, just trying to iron out the terms.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jamal Mazrui" <empower@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <ProgrammingBlind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <Program-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2010 5:33 PM
Subject: Introducing GrabText app and financing problem

Now available at

Thanks go to Donald Marang for getting me interested in the topic of
screen OCR.  My searches did not find a satisfactory free solution (Google
Tesseract, for example, does poorly on screen images).  I did find and
compare several commercial OCR libraries.  Typically, an individual
license costs in the hundreds of dollars, and a developer license in the
thousands -- often, with royalties charged for each distributed program.

I did find what seems like a worthwhile solution:  Text Grab SDK by
Renovation Software.  Based on this library, GrabText can conveniently
extract and gather text from almost any application windows.  An
individual license for the COM server library is $29 and a single
developer license is $699.  If you want to consider contributing to a way
of making GrabText freely available, read about the financing issue in the
initial documentation, pasted below.

Source code is in the GrabText.cs file in the GrabText program folder.


[Initial documentation]

Beta 0.6
March 26, 2010
Copyright 2010 by Jamal Mazrui
GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL)


GrabText is a command-line utility and dialog interface for grabbing text
from the screen.  The command-line syntax is

GrabText.exe SourceArea TargetOutput UserName LicenseKey

The first parameter specifies the area of the screen to serve as the
source of text.  The choices are ActiveWindow, FocusControl, CaretClip,
MouseClip, EveryArea, and PickWindow.  Capitalization does not matter.
ActiveWindow is the most common choice, referring to the top-level window
that is currently active.  FocusControl refers to the control within that
window that has focus.  CaretClip or MouseClip refer to the string of text
at the caret or mouse position, respectively.  EveryArea combines the
previous four areas into a longer string.  PickWindow presents a list of
top-level windows from which to choose.

The second parameter specifies what to do with the text:  Voice (say it),
MessageBox (display in a standard message box), Clipboard (append to the
clipboard), or File (append to a file).  The Voice, Clipboard, and File
options are On by default.  The default file name is GrabTextOutput.txt,
stored in the GrabText data directory, which is located at

A configuration file, GrabText.ini, is also stored there.  If a parameter
is not specified on the command line, its value is retrieved from the
configuration file, if present.

The UserName and LicenseKey parameters are needed because GrabText depends
on a commercial programming library called Text Grab SDK (software
development kit), available from the web site

At the time of this writing, a single license costs $29.  The trial
version, distributed with GrabText, lasts for two weeks.  Rather than
buying an individual license, consider contributing to the cost of a
developer license for the author of GrabText.  This costs $699.  It would
enable GrabText to be fully and freely functional for any user.  Note that
GrabText, itself, is open source, and no compensation is sought for its
use.  If anyone is able to set up a PayPal or equivalent site to be
transparent about any money collection effort, please say so.

The default hotkey for invoking GrabText is Alt+Control+F8.  This may be
changed by modifying properties of the GrabText shortcut on the Windows

The installer, gtsetup.exe, creates a GrabText program group in the
Windows Start Menu, with options for launching the program, uninstalling
it, or reading this ddocumentation.   The default program folder is
C:\Program Files\GrabText

GrabText needs to be invoked with a global hotkey so you can extract from
the current application window.  Once launched, the program remains in
memory until you explicitly terminate it.  Subsequent invocations of the
GrabText hotkey activate the current program in memory rather than loading
additional copies.

There is another desktop shortcut called GrabTextOptions.  By default, it
uses the same hotkey with a Shift added:  Alt+Control+Shift+F8.  It may be
invoked either with its hotkey or from the desktop.  This invokes a dialog
with configuration options and utilities.  The UserName and LicenseKey may
be specified.  You may change settings for the screen area or output type.
You may inspect or clear the clipboard.  You may pick an output file, open
it, remove it, or browse the GrabText data folder.  You may restore
default settings, or present this documentation in your web browser.  You
may quit running GrabText.  All controls of the dialog have unique
Alt+Letter combinations -- except for the Cancel button, which is
activated directly with the Escape key.

I welcome feedback, which helps GrabText improve over time.

Jamal Mazrui

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