OCRmyPDF adds an OCR text layer to scanned PDF files, allowing them to
be searched or copy-pasted.
ocrmypdf # it's a scriptable command line program
-l eng+fra # it supports multiple languages
--rotate-pages # it can fix pages that are misrotated
--deskew # it can deskew crooked PDFs!
--title "My PDF" # it can change output metadata
--jobs 4 # it uses multiple cores by default
--output-type pdfa # it produces PDF/A by default
input_scanned.pdf # takes PDF input (or images)
output_searchable.pdf # produces validated PDF output
- Generates a searchable
PDF/A file from a regular PDF
- Places OCR text accurately below the image to ease copy / paste
- Keeps the exact resolution of the original embedded images
- When possible, inserts OCR information as a “lossless” operation without rendering vector information
- Keeps file size about the same
- If requested deskews and/or cleans the image before performing OCR
- Validates input and output files
- Provides debug mode to enable easy verification of the OCR results
- Processes pages in parallel when more than one CPU core is
- Uses Tesseract OCR engine
- Supports more than 100 languages recognized by Tesseract
- Battle-tested on thousands of PDFs, a test suite and continuous integration
For details: please consult the documentation.
I searched the web for a free command line tool to OCR PDF files on
Linux/UNIX: I found many, but none of them were really satisfying.
- Either they produced PDF files with misplaced text under the image (making copy/paste impossible)
- Or they did not handle accents and multilingual characters
- Or they changed the resolution of the embedded images
- Or they generated ridiculously large PDF files
- Or they crashed when trying to OCR some of my PDF files
- Or they did not produce valid PDF files (even though they were readable with my current PDF reader)
- On top of that none of them produced PDF/A files (format dedicated for long time storage)
…so I decided to develop my own tool (using various existing scripts
as an inspiration).
Linux, UNIX, and macOS are supported. Windows is not directly supported but there is a Docker image available that runs on Windows.
Users of Debian 9 or later or Ubuntu 16.10 or later may simply
apt-get install ocrmypdf
and macOS users may simply
brew tap jbarlow83/ocrmypdf
brew install ocrmypdf
For everyone else, see our documentation for installation steps.
OCRmyPDF uses Tesseract for OCR, and relies on its language packs. For Linux users,
you can often find packages that provide language packs:
# Display a list of all Tesseract language packs
apt-cache search tesseract-ocr
# Debian/Ubuntu users
apt-get install tesseract-ocr-chi-sim # Example: Install Chinese Simplified language back
You can then pass the -l LANG argument to OCRmyPDF to give a hint as to what languages it should search for. Multiple
languages can be requested.
Documentation and support
Once ocrmypdf is installed, the built-in help which explains the command syntax and options can be accessed via:
Our documentation is served on Read the Docs.
If you detect an issue, please:
- Check whether your issue is already known
- If no problem report exists on github, please create one here:
- Describe your problem thoroughly
- Append the console output of the script when running the debug mode
(-v 1 option)
- If possible provide your input PDF file as well as the content of the
temporary folder (using a file sharing service like Dropbox)
The software is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR
CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.