How to Copy Unselectable Text on Your Screen

by Narendra

To copy text, simply highlight the subject with your cursor and press CTRL + C. Isn’t it simple? But what if you want to copy text from a location where it is not permitted? A right-click disable website, a write-protected PDF, a Windows error dialog box, or the comments from YouTube’s official Android app are all examples.

The most common method for copying unselectable text is to use an OCR reader. Simply take a screenshot of the text-filled area and run it through any good OCR software, such as Google Keep. However, this takes time and is not an ideal solution.

1 Copy Text from Disabled Website by Right-Clicking (Web)

Most websites use some form of JavaScript to prevent text copying, so the first thing to try is to disable JavaScript in your browser. If it’s a banking website, you can use a plugin such as RightToCopy.

However, if this does not work, you can examine the website’s source code or try the Google cache version of that site by appending cache:/ to the beginning of its URL. This method, however, is only applicable to blogs that are indexed by Google.

For example, if the original URL is

The final URL will then be


Finally, you can save the web page to your local machine by pressing CTRL + P to open the print preview, where you’ll see a save as PDF option. Make use of it.

2 Windows Copy Unselectable Text

Assume you need to copy text from an error dialog box. This is easier than you think; simply click on the dialogue box and press CTRL + C, and the entire error message will be copied to your clipboard.

But what if you want to copy text from another program, such as the registry editor or the control panel? In such cases, Textify can be useful. It’s a simple, lightweight app (76 KB) that does exactly what it says.

Simply run Textify.exe and select the window from which you want to grab the text. The system text will then be made selectable by Textify. (See video demonstration)

3 Make a Copy of Unselectable Text on a Mac

This is more difficult on the Mac because there is no lightweight app to do it. However, if you have XCode installed (a tool for developing apps for the Apple ecosystem), you can easily copy text from any Mac app.

Simply open the window from which you want to copy text and activate Accessibility Inspector. Developer > Application > Utilities > Accessibility tools is where you’ll find it.

However, installing large apps like Xcode just to extract text is not an option. You’d be better off using OCR readers. As a result, I haven’t personally tested this method, so for more information, see this StackExchange answer.

4 Android Copy Unselectable Text

As a YouTuber, I frequently have to copy comments from YouTube’s Android app, or say you want to copy text from the Facebook or Instagram mobile apps. In general, most native apps do not allow you to select text from them.

You can, however, use apps like Universal Copy to copy text from any app, even if there is no option to highlight it. Install the app, then go to any app where you want to copy the text, pull down the notification drawer, and select Activate Universal Copy mode. Now, tap on text to copy it to your clipboard.

Text, images, and video — anything you see on the screen — can be easily copied or downloaded to your computer. Using an OCR reader or the appropriate software.

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