The Windows App Team announced the release of a Microsoft OCR Library for Windows Runtime, enabling developers to integrate text-recognition capabilities in Windows Phone 8/8.1 and Windows 8.1 apps.

Optical character recognition (OCR) software converts images containing text into a digitally readable format. The technology’s inclusion in Windows Runtime, Microsoft’s Windows 8/8.1 application architecture, allows Windows developers to copy text from images, perform text searches in images and translate text from a multitude of image types.

The OCR Library was released in a NuGet package format, and it runs entirely on the client by supporting 21 languages and image processing from sources such as cameras and image files. Developers simply open an app in Visual Studio and pull up the Microsoft OCR NuGet package.

When adding the new Windows Runtime library to an application, the developer controls how the OCR Library extracts, interprets and returns text—configuring the library to recognize text patterns such as email addresses, phone numbers and URLs. Microsoft has also released a sample OCR Library app to test the technology.

More information can be found on the Windows blog and on MSDN.