Tips and Support

Learn how to achieve the best results possible when using TextDetective and how to interact with us!

1. Tips on using TextDetective

What kind of text can the app detect and recognize?

  • Clean, crisp text, which can be documents, signs and handouts.
  • Note: even clean and crisp text can be structured into multiple columns and paragraphs (e.g. menus, newspaper articles, etc). Text Detective reads the words line by line from left to right, hence it does not recognize paragraphs of text. But, we’re working on it… stay tuned for future releases!

What kind of text is difficult to detect and recognize?

  • Noisy, interesting text, for example products and magazines.
  • Vertical paragraphs and columns (structured text), you find in menus, newspapers, and articles.
  • Text that is rotated more than 20 degrees, for example text that is upside down or vertical.
  • Text with a perspective or deformation which happens when the phone is not properly aligned with the object.

What’s the optimal distance?

  • It depends on the text. For documents and handouts, the rule of thumb is: a forearm’s length away.
  • If you try it on signs on the street and in buildings, which typically have larger font sizes, the distance varies with the size of the text. Generally, text farther than 6 feet away will be hard to detect.

What’s the optimal lighting condition?

  • The better the light, the better the detection results, but ambient lighting is usually sufficient for good detection and recognition results.
  • Note: Text Detective does not use the flash in dark environments.

Where is the camera lens?

When you hold the phone with the touch screen facing towards you, the lens is located in the top right corner, close to the ON/OFF button, on the back side of the phone, i.e. on the opposite side of the touch screen. You may also feel a small round rim around the lens, distinguishing it from the clear, flat surface of the back side of the phone.

How do I point the phone?

  • Hold the phone in landscape, home button to the right or left and place the camera lens against the center of where you expect text.
  • Move the phone away from the object, about a forearm’s length.
  • Don’t tilt or rotate, and keep the phone straight aligned to the document!
  • Double tap on the “Start Scan” button.

How do I best detect text in documents?

  • Place the document on a flat surface (e.g. table top).
  • Place the phone in landscape with the home button aligned with the right or left edge of the document.
  • Lift the phone away from the document – about a forearm’s length.
  • Don’t tilt or rotate, and keep the phone straight aligned to the document!
  • Tap the “Start Scan” button and wait for the “Evaluating” prompt.
  • The phone will vibrate for found detections.

2. How to interact with us

Contact us

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on improving TextDetective or its tutorial, please email us at at Or you can fill in the feedback form with comments and feature ideas.