OCRmyPDF latest released version on PyPI

The easiest way to install OCRmyPDF is to follow the steps for your operating system/platform, although sometimes this version may be out of date.

If you want to use the latest version of OCRmyPDF, your best bet is to install the most recent version your platform provides, and then upgrade that version by installing the Python binary wheels.

Installing on Linux

Debian and Ubuntu 16.10 or newer

OCRmyPDF versions in Debian & Ubuntu
OCRmyPDF latest released version on PyPI
Debian 9 stable ("stretch") Debian 10 testing ("buster") Debian unstable
Ubuntu 17.10 Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Ubuntu 18.10

Users of Debian 9 (“stretch”) or later or Ubuntu 16.10 or later may simply

apt-get install ocrmypdf

As indicated in the table above, Debian and Ubuntu releases may lag behind the latest version. If the version available for your platform is out of date, you could opt to install the latest version from source. See Installing HEAD revision from sources.

For full details on version availability for your platform, check the Debian Package Tracker or Ubuntu


OCRmyPDF for Debian and Ubuntu currently omit the JBIG2 encoder. OCRmyPDF works fine without it but will produce larger output files. If you build jbig2enc from source, ocrmypdf 7.0.0 and later will automatically detect it (specifically the jbig2 binary) on the PATH. To add JBIG2 encoding, see Installing the JBIG2 encoder.

Fedora 29 or newer

OCRmyPDF version
OCRmyPDF latest released version on PyPI
Fedora 29 Fedore Rawhide

Users of Fedora 29 later may simply

dnf install ocrmypdf

For full details on version availability, check the Fedora Package Tracker.

If the version available for your platform is out of date, you could opt to install the latest version from source. See Installing HEAD revision from sources.


OCRmyPDF for Fedora currently omits the JBIG2 encoder due to patent issues. OCRmyPDF works fine without it but will produce larger output files. If you build jbig2enc from source, ocrmypdf 7.0.0 and later will automatically detect it on the PATH. To add JBIG2 encoding, see `Installing the JBIG2 encoder`_.

Installing the latest version on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Ubuntu 18.04 includes ocrmypdf 6.1.2. To install a more recent version, first install the system version to get most of the dependencies:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install \
    ocrmypdf \

There are a few dependency changes between ocrmypdf 6.1.2 and 7.x. Let’s get these, too.

sudo apt-get install \
    libexempi3 \

Then install the most recent ocrmypdf for the local user and set the user’s PATH to check for the user’s Python packages.

export PATH=$HOME/.local/bin:$PATH
pip3 install --user ocrmypdf

To add JBIG2 encoding, see Installing the JBIG2 encoder.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

No package is available for Ubuntu 16.04. OCRmyPDF 8.0 and newer require Python 3.6. Ubuntu 16.04 ships Python 3.5, but you can install Python 3.6 on it. Or, you can skip Python 3.6 and install OCRmyPDF 7.x or older - for that procedure, please see the installation documentation for the version of OCRmyPDF you plan to use.

Install system packages for OCRmyPDF

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y software-properties-common python-software-properties
sudo add-apt-repository -y \
    ppa:jonathonf/python-3.6 \
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y \
    ghostscript \
    libexempi3 \
    libffi6 \
    pngquant \
    python3.6 \
    qpdf \
    tesseract-ocr \

This will install a Python 3.6 binary at /usr/bin/python3.6 alongside the system’s Python 3.5. Do not remove the system Python. This will also install Tesseract 4.0 from a PPA, since the version available in Ubuntu 16.04 is too old for OCRmyPDF.

Now install pip for Python 3.6. This will install the Python 3.6 version of pip at /usr/local/bin/pip.

curl | sudo python3.6

Install OCRmyPDF

OCRmyPDF requires the locale to be set for UTF-8. On some minimal Ubuntu installations systems, it may be necessary to set the locale.

# Optional: Only need to set these if they are not already set
export LC_ALL=C.UTF-8
export LANG=C.UTF-8

Now install OCRmyPDF for the current user, and ensure that the PATH environment variable contains $HOME/.local/bin.

export PATH=$HOME/.local/bin:$PATH
pip3 install --user ocrmypdf

To add JBIG2 encoding, see Installing the JBIG2 encoder.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Installing on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (trusty) is more difficult than some other options, because of its age. Several backports are required. For explanations of some steps of this procedure, see the similar steps for Ubuntu 16.04.

Install system dependencies:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install \
    software-properties-common python-software-properties \
    zlib1g-dev \
    libexempi3 \
    libjpeg-dev \
    libffi-dev \
    pngquant \

We will need backports of Ghostscript 9.16, libav-11 (for unpaper 6.1), Tesseract 4.00 (alpha), and Python 3.6. This will replace Ghostscript and Tesseract 3.x on your system. Python 3.6 will be installed alongside the system Python 3.4.

If you prefer to not modify your system in this matter, consider using a Docker container.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vshn/ghostscript -y
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:heyarje/libav-11 -y
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alex-p/tesseract-ocr -y
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jonathonf/python-3.6 -y

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install \
    python3.6-dev \
    ghostscript \
    tesseract-ocr \
    tesseract-ocr-eng \
    libavformat56 libavcodec56 libavutil54 \

Now we need to install pip and let it install ocrmypdf:

curl -o - | python3.6 && python3.6 -m easy_install pip
pip3.6 install ocrmypdf

These installation instructions omit the optional dependency unpaper, which is only available at version 0.4.2 in Ubuntu 14.04. The author could not find a backport of unpaper, and created a .deb package to do the job of installing unpaper 6.1 (for x86 64-bit only):

wget -q '' -O unpaper_6.1-1.deb
sudo dpkg -i unpaper_6.1-1.deb

To add JBIG2 encoding, see Installing the JBIG2 encoder.



The author is aware of an ArchLinux User Repository package for ocrmypdf. You can use the following command.

yaourt -S ocrmypdf

If you have any difficulties with installation, check the repository package page.

Other Linux packages

See the Repology page.

In general, first install the OCRmyPDF package for your system, then optionally use the procedure Installing with Python pip to install a more recent version.

Installing on macOS



OCRmyPDF is now a standard Homebrew formula. To install on macOS:

brew install ocrmypdf


Users who previously installed OCRmyPDF on macOS using pip install ocrmypdf should remove the pip version (pip3 uninstall ocrmypdf) before switching to the Homebrew version.


Users who previously installed OCRmyPDF from the private tap should switch to the mainline version (brew untap jbarlow83/ocrmypdf) and install from there.

Manual installation on macOS

These instructions probably work on all macOS supported by Homebrew.

If it’s not already present, install Homebrew.

Update Homebrew:

brew update

Install or upgrade the required Homebrew packages, if any are missing. To do this, download the Brewfile that lists all of the dependencies to the current directory, and run brew bundle to process them (installing or upgrading as needed). Brewfile is a plain text file.

brew bundle

This will include the English, French, German and Spanish language packs. If you need other languages you can optionally install them all:

brew install tesseract --with-all-languages  # Option 2: for all language packs

Update the homebrew pip:

pip3 install --upgrade pip

You can then install OCRmyPDF from PyPI, for the current user:

pip3 install --user ocrmypdf

or system-wide:

pip3 install ocrmypdf

The command line program should now be available:

ocrmypdf --help

Installing the Docker image

For some users, installing the Docker image will be easier than installing all of OCRmyPDF’s dependencies. For Windows, it is the only option.

If you have Docker installed on your system, you can install a Docker image of the latest release.

Follow the Docker installation instructions for your platform. If you can run this command successfully, your system is ready to download and execute the image:

docker run hello-world

OCRmyPDF will use all available CPU cores. By default, the VirtualBox machine instance on Windows and macOS has only a single CPU core enabled. Use the VirtualBox Manager to determine the name of your Docker engine host, and then follow these optional steps to enable multiple CPUs:

# Optional step for Mac OS X users
docker-machine stop "yourVM"
VBoxManage modifyvm "yourVM" --cpus 2  # or whatever number of core is desired
docker-machine start "yourVM"
eval $(docker-machine env "yourVM")

Assuming you have a Docker engine running, you can download one of the three available images:

Image name Download command Notes
ocrmypdf docker pull jbarlow83/ocrmypdf Latest ocrmypdf with Tesseract 4.0.0-beta1 on Ubuntu 18.04. Includes English, French, German, Spanish, Portugeuse and Simplified Chinese.
ocrmypdf-polyglot docker pull jbarlow83/ocrmypdf-polyglot As above, with all available language packs.
ocrmypdf-webservice docker pull jbarlow83/ocrmypdf-polyglot All language packs, and a simple HTTP wrapper allowing OCRmyPDF to be used as a web service. Note that this component is licensed under AGPLv3.

For example:

docker pull jbarlow83/ocrmypdf

Then tag it to give a more convenient name, just ocrmypdf:

docker tag jbarlow83/ocrmypdf ocrmypdf

The alternative “polyglot” image provides all available language packs.

You can then run ocrmypdf using the command:

docker run --rm ocrmypdf --help

To execute the OCRmyPDF on a local file, you must provide a writable volume to the Docker image, and both the input and output file must be inside the writable volume. This example command uses the current working directory as the writable volume:

docker run --rm -v "$(pwd):/home/docker" <other docker arguments>   ocrmypdf <your arguments to ocrmypdf>

In this worked example, the current working directory contains an input file called test.pdf and the output will go to output.pdf:

docker run --rm -v "$(pwd):/home/docker"   ocrmypdf --skip-text test.pdf output.pdf


The working directory should be a writable local volume or Docker may not have permission to access it.

Note that ocrmypdf has its own separate -v VERBOSITYLEVEL argument to control debug verbosity. All Docker arguments should before the ocrmypdf image name and all arguments to ocrmypdf should be listed after.

In some environments the permissions associated with Docker can be complex to configure. The process that executes Docker may end up not having the permissions to write the specified file system. In that case one can stream the file into and out of the Docker process and avoid all permission hassles, using - as the input and output filename:

docker run --rm -i   ocrmypdf <other arguments to ocrmypdf> - - <input.pdf >output.pdf

For convenience, a shell alias can hide the docker command:

alias ocrmypdf='docker run --rm -v "$(pwd):/home/docker" ocrmypdf'
ocrmypdf --version  # runs docker version

Or in the wonderful fish shell:

alias ocrmypdf 'docker run --rm -v (pwd):/home/docker ocrmypdf'
funcsave ocrmypdf


The ocrmypdf Docker images are designed for application delivery, to enable use of OCRmyPDF without fussing with dependencies. docker run --rm argument tells Docker to delete the container after it runs, because each container is only good for a single job. The Docker image is not designed for use as a persistent web service or for use on Amazon EC2 Container Service (AWS ECS).

Installing on Windows

Direct installation on Windows is not possible. Install the Docker container as described above. Ensure that your command prompt can run the docker “hello world” container.

It would probably not be too difficult to run on Windows. The main reason this has been avoided is the difficulty of packaging and installing the various non-Python dependencies: Tesseract, QPDF, Ghostscript, Leptonica. Pull requests to add or improve Windows support would be quite welcome.

The command line syntax to run ocrmypdf from a command prompt will resemble:

docker run -v /c/Users/sampleuser:/home/docker ocrmypdf --skip-text test.pdf output.pdf

where /c/Users/sampleuser is a Unix representation of the Windows path C:\Users\sampleuser, assuming a user named “sampleuser” is running ocrmypdf on a file in their home directory, and the files “test.pdf” and “output.pdf” are in the sampleuser folder. The Windows user must have read and write permissions.

Bash on Ubuntu on Windows should also be a viable route for running the OCRmyPDF Docker container.

Installing with Python pip

OCRmyPDF is delivered by PyPI because it is a convenient way to install the latest version. However, PyPI and pip cannot address the fact that ocrmypdf depends on certain non-Python system libraries and programs being instsalled.

For best results, first install your platform’s version of ocrmypdf, using the instructions elsewhere in this document. Then you can use pip to get the latest version if your platform version is out of date. Chances are that this will satisfy most dependencies.

Use ocrmypdf --version to confirm what version was installed.

Then you can install the latest OCRmyPDF from the Python wheels. First try:

pip3 install --user ocrmypdf

You should then be able to run ocrmypdf --version and see that the latest version was located.

Since pip3 install --user does not work correctly on some platforms, notably Ubuntu 16.04 and older, and the Homebrew version of Python, instead use this for a system wide installation:

pip3 install ocrmypdf

OCRmyPDF currently requires these external programs and libraries to be installed, and must be satisfied using the operating system package manager. pip cannot provide them.

  • Python 3.6 or newer
  • Ghostscript 9.15 or newer
  • qpdf 8.1.0 or newer
  • Tesseract 4.0.0-alpha or newer

As of ocrmypdf 7.2.1, the following versions are recommended:

  • Python 3.7
  • Ghostscript 9.23 or newer
  • qpdf 8.2.1
  • Tesseract 4.0.0 or newer
  • jbig2enc 0.29 or newer
  • pngquant 2.5 or newer
  • unpaper 6.1

jbig2enc, pngquant, and unpaper are optional. If missing certain features are disabled. OCRmyPDF will discover them as soon as they are available.

jbig2enc, if present, will be used to optimize the encoding of monochrome images. This can significantly reduce the file size of the output file. It is not required. jbig2enc is not generally available for Ubuntu or Debian due to lingering concerns about patent issues, but can easily be built from source. To add JBIG2 encoding, see Installing the JBIG2 encoder.

pngquant, if present, is optionally used to optimize the encoding of PNG-style images in PDFs (actually, any that are that losslessly encoded) by lossily quantizing to a smaller color palette. It is only activated then the --optimize argument is 2 or 3.

unpaper, if present, enables the --clean and --clean-final command line options.

These are in addition to the Python packaging dependencies, meaning that unfortunately, the pip install command cannot satisfy all of them.

Installing HEAD revision from sources

If you have git and Python 3.6 or newer installed, you can install from source. When the pip installer runs, it will alert you if dependencies are missing.

If you prefer to build every from source, you will need to build pikepdf from source. First ensure you can build and install pikepdf.

To install the HEAD revision from sources in the current Python 3 environment:

pip3 install git+

Or, to install in development mode, allowing customization of OCRmyPDF, use the -e flag:

pip3 install -e git+

You may find it easiest to install in a virtual environment, rather than system-wide:

git clone -b master
python3 -m venv
source venv/bin/activate
pip3 install .

However, ocrmypdf will only be accessible on the system PATH when you activate the virtual environment.

To run the program:

ocrmypdf --help

If not yet installed, the script will notify you about dependencies that need to be installed. The script requires specific versions of the dependencies. Older version than the ones mentioned in the release notes are likely not to be compatible to OCRmyPDF.

To install all of the development and test requirements:

git clone -b master
python3 -m venv
source venv/bin/activate
pip install -e .
pip install -r requirements/dev.txt -r requirements/test.txt

To add JBIG2 encoding, see Installing the JBIG2 encoder.