Common error messages

Page already has text

ERROR -    1: page already has text! – aborting (use --force-ocr to force OCR)

You ran ocrmypdf on a file that already contains printable text or a hidden OCR text layer (it can’t quite tell the difference). You probably don’t want to do this, because the file is already searchable.

As the error message suggests, your options are:

  • ocrmypdf --force-ocr to rasterize all vector content and run OCR on the images. This is useful if a previous OCR program failed, or if the document contains a text watermark.

  • ocrmypdf --skip-text to skip OCR and other processing on any pages that contain text. Text pages will be copied into the output PDF without modification.

  • ocrmypdf --redo-ocr to scan the file for any existing OCR (non-printing text), remove it, and do OCR again. This is one way to take advantage of improvements in OCR accuracy. Printable vector text is excluded from OCR, so this can be used on files that contain a mix of digital and scanned files.

Input file ‘filename’ is not a valid PDF

OCRmyPDF checks files with pikepdf, a library that in turn uses libqpdf to fixes errors in PDFs, before it tries to work on them. In most cases this happens because the PDF is corrupt and truncated (incomplete file copying) and not much can be done.

You can try rewriting the file with Ghostscript:

gs -o output.pdf -dSAFER -sDEVICE=pdfwrite input.pdf

pdftk can also rewrite PDFs:

pdftk input.pdf cat output output.pdf

Sometimes Acrobat can repair PDFs with its Preflight tool.