API Reference

This page summarizes the rest of the public API. Generally speaking this should mainly of interest to plugin developers.


class ocrmypdf.PageContext(pdf_context: ocrmypdf._jobcontext.PdfContext, pageno)

Holds our context for a page.

Must be pickable, so stores only intrinsic/simple data elements or those capable of their serializing themselves via __getstate__.

get_path(name: str) pathlib.Path

Generate a Path for a file that is part of processing this page.

The path will be based in a common temporary folder and have a prefix based on the page number.

options: argparse.Namespace

The specified options for processing this PDF.

origin: pathlib.Path

The filename of the original input file.

pageinfo: ocrmypdf.pdfinfo.info.PageInfo

Information on this page.

pageno: int

This page number (zero-based).

plugin_manager: pluggy._manager.PluginManager

PluginManager for processing the current PDF.

class ocrmypdf.PdfContext(options: argparse.Namespace, work_folder: pathlib.Path, origin: pathlib.Path, pdfinfo: ocrmypdf.pdfinfo.info.PdfInfo, plugin_manager)

Holds the context for a particular run of the pipeline.

get_page_contexts() Iterator[ocrmypdf._jobcontext.PageContext]

Get all PageContext for this PDF.

get_path(name: str) pathlib.Path

Generate a Path for an intermediate file involved in processing.

The path will be in a temporary folder that is common for all processing of this particular PDF.

options: argparse.Namespace

The specified options for processing this PDF.

origin: pathlib.Path

The filename of the original input file.

pdfinfo: ocrmypdf.pdfinfo.info.PdfInfo

Detailed data for this PDF.

plugin_manager: pluggy._manager.PluginManager

PluginManager for processing the current PDF.


exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.BadArgsError
exit_code = 1
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.DpiError
exit_code = 2
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.EncryptedPdfError
exit_code = 8
message = "Input PDF is encrypted. The encryption must be removed to\nperform OCR.\n\nFor information about this PDF's security use\n    qpdf --show-encryption infilename\n\nYou can remove the encryption using\n    qpdf --decrypt [--password=[password]] infilename\n"
class ocrmypdf.exceptions.ExitCode(value)

An enumeration.

already_done_ocr = 6
bad_args = 1
child_process_error = 7
ctrl_c = 130
encrypted_pdf = 8
file_access_error = 5
input_file = 2
invalid_config = 9
invalid_output_pdf = 4
missing_dependency = 3
ok = 0
other_error = 15
pdfa_conversion_failed = 10
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.ExitCodeException
exit_code = 15
message = ''
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.InputFileError
exit_code = 2
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.MissingDependencyError
exit_code = 3
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.OutputFileAccessError
exit_code = 5
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.PdfMergeFailedError
exit_code = 2
message = 'Failed to merge PDF image layer with OCR layer\n\nUsually this happens because the input PDF file is malformed and\nocrmypdf cannot automatically correct the problem on its own.\n\nTry using\n    ocrmypdf --pdf-renderer sandwich  [..other args..]\n'
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.PriorOcrFoundError
exit_code = 6
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.SubprocessOutputError
exit_code = 7
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.TesseractConfigError
exit_code = 9
message = 'Error occurred while parsing a Tesseract configuration file'
exception ocrmypdf.exceptions.UnsupportedImageFormatError
exit_code = 2



Warn that function is deprecated.

exception ocrmypdf.helpers.NeverRaise

An exception that is never raised

class ocrmypdf.helpers.Resolution(x, y)

The number of pixels per inch in each 2D direction.

Resolution objects are considered “equal” for == purposes if they are equal to a reasonable tolerance.

ocrmypdf.helpers.available_cpu_count() int

Returns number of CPUs in the system.

ocrmypdf.helpers.check_pdf(input_file: pathlib.Path) bool

Check if a PDF complies with the PDF specification.

Checks for proper formatting and proper linearization. Uses pikepdf (which in turn, uses QPDF) to perform the checks.

ocrmypdf.helpers.clamp(n, smallest, largest)

Clamps the value of n to between smallest and largest.


Warn that function is deprecated.

ocrmypdf.helpers.is_file_writable(test_file: os.PathLike) bool

Intentionally racy test if target is writable.

We intend to write to the output file if and only if we succeed and can replace it atomically. Before doing the OCR work, make sure the location is writable.

ocrmypdf.helpers.is_iterable_notstr(thing: Any) bool

Is this is an iterable type, other than a string?

ocrmypdf.helpers.monotonic(L: Sequence) bool

Does this sequence increase monotonically?

ocrmypdf.helpers.page_number(input_file: os.PathLike) int

Get one-based page number implied by filename (000002.pdf -> 2)


Remove all log handlers, usually used in a child process.

ocrmypdf.helpers.safe_symlink(input_file: os.PathLike, soft_link_name: os.PathLike)

Create a symbolic link at soft_link_name, which references input_file.

Think of this as copying input_file to soft_link_name with less overhead.

Use symlinks safely. Self-linking loops are prevented. On Windows, file copy is used since symlinks may require administrator privileges. An existing link at the destination is removed.


class ocrmypdf.hocrtransform.HocrTransform(*, hocr_filename: Union[str, pathlib.Path], dpi: float)

A class for converting documents from the hOCR format. For details of the hOCR format, see: http://kba.cloud/hocr-spec/

classmethod baseline(element: xml.etree.ElementTree.Element) Tuple[float, float]

Returns a tuple containing the baseline slope and intercept.

classmethod element_coordinates(element: xml.etree.ElementTree.Element) ocrmypdf.hocrtransform.Rect

Returns a tuple containing the coordinates of the bounding box around an element

pt_from_pixel(pxl) ocrmypdf.hocrtransform.Rect

Returns the quantity in PDF units (pt) given quantity in pixels

classmethod replace_unsupported_chars(s: str) str

Given an input string, returns the corresponding string that: * is available in the Helvetica facetype * does not contain any ligature (to allow easy search in the PDF file)

to_pdf(*, out_filename: pathlib.Path, image_filename: Optional[pathlib.Path] = None, show_bounding_boxes: bool = False, fontname: str = 'Helvetica', invisible_text: bool = False, interword_spaces: bool = False) None

Creates a PDF file with an image superimposed on top of the text. Text is positioned according to the bounding box of the lines in the hOCR file. The image need not be identical to the image used to create the hOCR file. It can have a lower resolution, different color mode, etc.

  • out_filename – Path of PDF to write.

  • image_filename – Image to use for this file. If omitted, the OCR text is shown.

  • show_bounding_boxes – Show bounding boxes around various text regions, for debugging.

  • fontname – Name of font to use.

  • invisible_text – If True, text is rendered invisible so that is selectable but never drawn. If False, text is visible and may be seen if the image is skipped or deleted in Acrobat.

  • interword_spaces – If True, insert spaces between words rather than drawing each word without spaces. Generally this improves text extraction.

exception ocrmypdf.hocrtransform.HocrTransformError
class ocrmypdf.hocrtransform.Rect(x1: Any, y1: Any, x2: Any, y2: Any)

A rectangle for managing PDF coordinates.

property x1

Alias for field number 0

property x2

Alias for field number 2

property y1

Alias for field number 1

property y2

Alias for field number 3


Utilities for PDF/A production and confirmation with Ghostspcript.

ocrmypdf.pdfa.file_claims_pdfa(filename: pathlib.Path)

Determines if the file claims to be PDF/A compliant.

This only checks if the XMP metadata contains a PDF/A marker. It does not do full PDF/A validation.

ocrmypdf.pdfa.generate_pdfa_ps(target_filename: pathlib.Path, icc: str = 'sRGB')

Create a Postscript PDFMARK file for Ghostscript PDF/A conversion

pdfmark is an extension to the Postscript language that describes some PDF features like bookmarks and annotations. It was originally specified Adobe Distiller, for Postscript to PDF conversion.

Ghostscript uses pdfmark for PDF to PDF/A conversion as well. To use Ghostscript to create a PDF/A, we need to create a pdfmark file with the necessary metadata.

This function takes care of the many version-specific bugs and pecularities in Ghostscript’s handling of pdfmark.

The only information we put in specifies that we want the file to be a PDF/A, and we want to Ghostscript to convert objects to the sRGB colorspace if it runs into any object that it decides must be converted.

  • target_filename – filename to save

  • icc – ICC identifier such as ‘sRGB’


Adobe PDFMARK Reference: https://www.adobe.com/content/dam/acom/en/devnet/acrobat/pdfs/pdfmark_reference.pdf


Utilities to measure OCR quality

class ocrmypdf.quality.OcrQualityDictionary(*, wordlist: Iterable[str])

Manages a dictionary for simple OCR quality checks.

measure_words_matched(ocr_text: str) float

Check how many unique words in the OCR text match a dictionary.

Words with mixed capitalized are only considered a match if the test word matches that capitalization.


number of words that match / number


Wrappers to manage subprocess calls

ocrmypdf.subprocess.check_external_program(*, program: str, package: str, version_checker: Union[str, Callable], need_version: str, required_for: Optional[str] = None, recommended=False, version_parser: Type[distutils.version.Version] = <class 'distutils.version.LooseVersion'>)

Check for required version of external program and raise exception if not.

  • program – The name of the program to test.

  • package – The name of a software package that typically supplies this program. Usually the same as program.

  • version_check – A callable without arguments that retrieves the installed version of program.

  • need_version – The minimum required version.

  • required_for – The name of an argument of feature that requires this program.

  • recommended – If this external program is recommended, instead of raising an exception, log a warning and allow execution to continue.

  • version_parser – A class that should be used to parse and compare version numbers. Used when version numbers do not follow standard conventions.

ocrmypdf.subprocess.get_version(program: str, *, version_arg: str = '--version', regex='(\\d+(\\.\\d+)*)', env=None)

Get the version of the specified program

  • program – The program to version check.

  • version_arg – The argument needed to ask for its version, e.g. --version.

  • regex – A regular expression to parse the program’s output and obtain the version.

  • env – Custom os.environ in which to run program.

ocrmypdf.subprocess.run(args, *, env=None, logs_errors_to_stdout: bool = False, **kwargs) subprocess.CompletedProcess

Wrapper around subprocess.run()

The main purpose of this wrapper is to log subprocess output in an orderly fashion that indentifies the responsible subprocess. An additional task is that this function goes to greater lengths to find possible Windows locations of our dependencies when they are not on the system PATH.

Arguments should be identical to subprocess.run, except for following:


logs_errors_to_stdout – If True, indicates that the process writes its error messages to stdout rather than stderr, so stdout should be logged if there is an error. If False, stderr is logged. Could be used with stderr=STDOUT, stdout=PIPE for example.

ocrmypdf.subprocess.run_polling_stderr(args, *, callback: Callable[[str], None], check: bool = False, env=None, **kwargs) subprocess.CompletedProcess

Run a process like ocrmypdf.subprocess.run, and poll stderr.

Every line of produced by stderr will be forwarded to the callback function. The intended use is monitoring progress of subprocesses that output their own progress indicators. In addition, each line will be logged if debug logging is enabled.

Requires stderr to be opened in text mode for ease of handling errors. In addition the expected encoding= and errors= arguments should be set. Note that if stdout is already set up, it need not be binary.