Tuesday’s Tip: Transcript


How many times have you heard that the best way to make sure you have read an entire document is to transcribe it?  Probably like, a lot of times.  I know I have.  I’m fortunate because I have room on my desk for two rather large monitors side-by-side.  Not everyone is that lucky.  For you, there is an easy (and free) solution!

It’s called Transcript.  It is the brain child of Jacob Boerema, a Dutch genealogist who was frustrated – probably like most of us – with having to flip back and forth between image and text to transcribe a document.  So he created this solution.

Just so there are no misconceptions, it does NOT perform text recognition on your documents (which, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of transcribing them in the first place).  It is also not available for Mac.  It’s Windows only, sorry guys.  The most recent update was in 2012.  But that’s okay – because it works!

Transcript screenshot

The way it works is that your images opens in the top panel and your text goes in the bottom panel.  As you transcribe your document, every time you hit ‘enter’ the image adjusts and moves down a line, which makes it easier to keep track of your place on the image.  The software also remembers your position in the image and text if you have to save and close your work.

It has a very simple text editor, though there are the basic formatting options (bold, italics, underline, strikethrough), and you really shouldn’t need more than that.  You can use bullets, numbered lists, superscript/subscript (though it does not support footnotes or endnotes), and you can change the text and background colors.

I use it often, and I highly recommend it – especially if you don’t have multiple monitors.  I like to use it to transcribe documents, then copy/paste into my genealogy database program … or into a blog post.  It makes quick work of it!


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Author: Jenny Lanctot

I have been working on my genealogy in earnest (albeit in fits and starts) since around 1990. My approach to my research has evolved exponentially since those days (read: I actually appear to know what I'm doing now), and I am enrolled in ProGen 24 on my way toward certification. I am a Paralegal in a small law firm in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I am the Editor of Southern Roots & Shoots, the quarterly publication of the Chattanooga Delta Genealogy Society. Aside from work, blogging, and my genealogy research, in my spare time I like to ... wait ... I forgot, I don't have any spare time. If I had ANY spare time, I would travel (for research) and write (about my research).

16 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Tip: Transcript”

    1. I know, Laura! I guess I was taking it for granted that if I knew about it, everyone else already did too (because I’m usually the last to know about cool stuff like this!) Now get to work! 🙂

    1. I doubt it, Dave. Especially since it’s been 2 years since anyone worked on the Windows version … but you can always run it on Parallels (or something similar), right? There may be another option out there for the Mac, I just never had a reason to look.

  1. Thanks for the tip. I use GenScriber for creating indexes from images of documents, but Transcript sounds better for plain text transcriptions, so I’ll try it. I see that the most recent version is ‘Beta version 2.4.1 build 101 – August 3, 2014’.

    1. I’m trying to learn to use GenScriber too, Judy – for creating a database for our society. But you’re right; for plain old one-document transcriptions (like for personal use – not for databases), it’s perfect.

      I also noticed he had a beta version … but I didn’t want to put that out there since it’s not “finished.” Maybe Jacob will see this thread and add a version for all the Mac users out there 🙂

  2. Hi Jenny. I’ve just downloaded Transcript and I am looking forward to trying it when I get some time for my own family history. GenScriber is fine for creating databases/indexes for Archives records that I’ve photographed (you may have seen the 53,000 names on my Web site!) but Transcript will be more suitable for my own family documents.

  3. Hi. I’m the maker of Transcript. Thanks for you interest in my program.

    As has been mentioned Transcript doesn’t work on a Mac. Since I don’t have a Mac (nor need one for myself) and my programming environment that I need to make Transcript doesn’t support Mac either you will understand that It will be difficult to make a Mac version.

    Although it has been two years since the last stable version of Transcript came out I still work on it when time permits. In fact the latest beta version probably has less bugs than the stable version 2.4. I intend to release a new stable version later this year again as time permits.

    As a side note please be aware that Transcript is only free for personal use.

    1. Thanks for jumping in, Jacob! First, let me just say “thanks!” for creating Transcript. Obviously, I’m a big fan. I’m also glad to hear that you’re continuing to work on the software – and I may go and download the beta version and test it out.

      I also completely understand about not having a Mac version. 🙂

  4. I’ve used Transcript for at least a year and I love it. I’ve used it to transcribe wills, deeds, letters and newspapers. In fact, I just finished transcribing four deeds this morning. When I was working and had two monitors I still used Transcript. I can’t imagine being without it.

  5. I also like the built-in tools to improve the image quality for legibility, and the way the image automatically scrolls down as you transcribe in the window below. Really makes the work easy!

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