Installing OCRmyPDF

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. This installation guide provides information allowing you to compare the current version to the one provided by your platform.

If you want to use the latest version of OCRmyPDF and all of its optional dependencies, the easiest way to get that is install the Homebrew package. Homebrew is best known as a macOS package manger, but also works for Linux and Windows Subsystem for Linux. After Homebrew is installed, simply run brew install ocrmypdf.

You can also use the more detailed procedures here to manually install OCRmyPDF from source or with the pip package manager for binary wheels. The reason for these varied steps is that OCRmyPDF requires third-party executables that are not part of Python.

Installing on Linux

Debian and Ubuntu 18.04 or newer

OCRmyPDF versions in Debian & Ubuntu
OCRmyPDF latest released version on PyPI
Debian 9 stable ("stretch") Debian 10 testing ("buster") Debian unstable
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Ubuntu 18.10 Ubuntu 19.04 Ubuntu 19.10

Users of Debian 9 (“stretch”) or later or Ubuntu 18.04 or later, including users of Windows Subsystem for Linux, 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 If the version available for your platform is out of date, you could opt to install the latest version from source.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. Ubuntu 16.10 to 17.10 inclusive also had ocrmypdf, but these versions are end of life.

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 Fedora 30 Fedore Rawhide

Users of Fedora 29 or 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If the version available for your platform is out of date, you could opt to install the latest version from source.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 - you can install that with apt, but it is quite old now. To install a more recent version, uninstall the old version of ocrmypdf, and install the following dependencies:

sudo apt-get -y remove ocrmypdf
sudo apt-get -y update
sudo apt-get -y install \
    ghostscript \
    icc-profiles-free \
    liblept5 \
    libxml2 \
    pngquant \
    python3-cffi \
    python3-distutils \
    python3-pkg-resources \
    python3-reportlab \
    qpdf \
    tesseract-ocr \

We will need a newer version of pip then was available for Ubuntu 18.04:

wget && python3

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
python3 -m pip 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, such as the Ubuntu 16.04 Docker images 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
pip3.6 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

The optional dependency unpaper is only available at 0.4.2 in Ubuntu 14.04, and no backports are available. Previously the author maintained a backported .deb package for unpaper 6.1, but since Ubuntu 14.04 is now end of life, this is not supported. As such, unpaper is not available on Ubuntu 14.04 or must by compiled by hand.

To add JBIG2 encoding, see Installing the JBIG2 encoder.

Arch Linux (AUR)


There is an Arch User Repository (AUR) package for OCRmyPDF.

Installing AUR packages as root is not allowed, so you must first setup a non-root user and configure sudo. The standard Docker image, archlinux/base:latest, does not have a non-root user configured, so users of that image must follow these guides. If you are using a VM image, such as the official Vagrant image, this work may already be completed for you.

Next you should install the base-devel package group. This includes the standard tooling needed to build packages, such as a compiler and binary tools.

sudo pacman -S base-devel

The OCRmyPDF package depends on the python-pdfminer.six AUR package. Dependencies on AUR packages are not automatically resolved, so this package must be manually installed first.

curl -O
tar xvzf python-pdfminer.six.tar.gz
cd python-pdfminer.six
makepkg -sri

With that complete you can then repeat the same series of steps for the OCRmyPDF package.

curl -O
tar xvzf ocrmypdf.tar.gz
cd ocrmypdf
makepkg -sri

At this point you will have a working install of OCRmyPDF, but the Tesseract install won’t include any OCR language data. You can install the tesseract-data package group to add all supported languages, or use that package listing to identify the appropriate package for your desired language.

sudo pacman -S tesseract-data-eng

As an alternative to this manual procedure, consider using an AUR helper. Such a tool will automatically fetch, build and install the AUR package, resolve dependencies (including dependencies on AUR packages), and ease the upgrade procedure.

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


The OCRmyPDF AUR package currently omits the JBIG2 encoder. OCRmyPDF works fine without it but will produce larger output files. The encoder is available from the jbig2enc-git AUR package and may be installed using the same series of steps as for the installation of the pdfminer.six and OCRmyPDF AUR packages. Alternatively, it may be built manually from source following the instructions in Installing the JBIG2 encoder. If JBIG2 is installed, OCRmyPDF 7.0.0 and later will automatically detect it.

Alpine Linux

Alpine Linux

To install OCRmyPDF for Alpine Linux:

apk add ocrmypdf

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

This will include only the English language pack. If you need other languages you can optionally install them all:

brew install tesseract-lang  # Optional: Install all language packs


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-lang  # 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 on FreeBSD


FreeBSD 11.3, 12.0, 12.1-RELEASE and 13.0-CURRENT are supported. Other versions likely work but have not been tested.

pkg install py37-ocrmypdf

To install a more recent version, you could attempt to first install the system version with pkg, then use pip install --user ocrmypdf.

Installing the Docker image

For some users, installing the Docker image will be easier than installing all of OCRmyPDF’s dependencies.

See OCRmyPDF Docker Image for more information.

Installing on Windows


Native Windows support is new. Consider it “beta” software. Some functionality is missing or may be more difficult to enable. If you need a production-ready solution, use Windows Subsystem for Linux or a Docker image.


Administrator privileges will be required for some of these steps.

You must install the following for Windows:

  • Python 3.7 (64-bit)
  • Tesseract 4.0 or later
  • Ghostscript 9.50 or later

You can install these with the Chocolatey package manager:

  • choco install python3
  • choco install --pre tesseract
  • choco install ghostscript

Also consider adding:

  • choco install pngquant

Windows 10 64-bit and 64-bit versions of applications are recommended. Earlier versions of Windows and 32-bit versions of these programs are not tested, and not supported at this time.

OCRmyPDF will check for Tesseract-OCR and Ghostscript in your Program Files folder. If they are in some other location, you may need to modify the PATH environment variable so Tesseract, Ghostscript, and other any optional executables can be found. You can enter it in the command line or follow these directions to make the change persistent and system-wide.

You may then use pip to install ocrmypdf:

  • pip install ocrmypdf

Installing on Windows Subsystem for Linux

  1. Install Ubuntu 18.04 for Windows Subsystem for Linux, if not already installed.
  2. Follow the procedure to install OCRmyPDF on Ubuntu 18.04.
  3. Open the Windows command prompt and create a symlink:
wsl sudo ln -s  /home/$USER/.local/bin/ocrmypdf /usr/local/bin/ocrmypdf

Then confirm that the expected version from PyPI (OCRmyPDF latest released version on PyPI) is installed:

wsl ocrmypdf --version

You can then run OCRmyPDF in the Windows command prompt or Powershell, prefixing wsl, and call it from Windows programs or batch files.

You can also Install the Docker container on Windows. Ensure that your command prompt can run the docker “hello world” 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

Requirements for pip and HEAD install

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-beta or newer

As of ocrmypdf 7.2.1, the following versions are recommended:

  • Python 3.7 or 3.8
  • 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.

For development

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.

Shell completions

Completions for bash and fish are available in the project’s misc/completion folder. The bash completions are likely zsh compatible but this has not been confirmed. Package maintainers, please install these at the appropriate locations for your system.

To manually install the bash completion, copy misc/completion/ocrmypdf.bash to /etc/bash_completion.d/ocrmypdf (rename the file).

To manually install the fish completion, copy misc/completion/ to ~/.config/fish/completions/