OCR is the process which extracts text information from the scanned document and makes them searchable.

By default, ocr process is triggered automatically on document file upload. The OCR process status is indicated by little circle next to document’s title. When OCR process is completed new document version is created and document becomes searchable.

Automatic OCR

By default OCR is triggered automatically when document is uploaded. However, you can disable automatic OCR triggering, in such case you can start OCR only when you consider necessary.


Documents for which OCR was skipped - are not searchable!

In order to disable automatic OCR, go to User Menu -> Preferences -> OCR -> Trigger -> Manual

Default OCR Language

In order to perform OCR on the document you need to indicate beforehand the language of respective document. Choosing ocr language for each and every document uploaded is tedious - instead, in preferences a default OCR Language is set - and that language is applied for each uploaded document.

In order to set default OCR language, go to User Menu -> Preferences -> OCR -> Language

Status Indicator

Papermerge DMS features real time OCR status indicator - this means that you can see document’s OCR status updates as they happen (i.e. in real time). The OCR status is displayed by a small circle next to the document’s title. The status indicates has following meanings:

  • gray circle - status is unknown (figure 1)

  • orange still circle - document was scheduled for OCR (figure 2)

  • orange rotating circle - document’s OCR process is in progress (figure 3)

  • green check - document’s OCR process completed successfully and document is now searchable (figure 4)

  • red cross - document’s OCR process failed.


Figure 1. OCR status - unknown


Figure 2. OCR status - pending - document was scheduled for OCR, but process did not start yet


Figure 3. OCR status - in progress


Figure 4. OCR status - complete

OCRed Text Layer

Once OCR process completed successfully a new document version is created - version with OCRed text layer. This version is available for download from the Download dropdown in document view.



Under the hood Papermerge DMS uses awesome OCRmyPDF utility to create OCRed text layer. Thus, in respect of OCRed text layer, Papermerge DMS acts like a graphical user interface for OCRmyPDF.

Document OCRed Text

You can view OCRed text of the entire document either from Commander or from Viewer, in both cases choose “OCRed Text” from context menu:


See OCRed text of the document from commander

If you want to see OCRed text of entire document (to be exact - all pages of the last document version) from the Viewer - just make sure that no pages are selected:


See OCRed text of the document from viewer

Selected Pages OCRed Text

In case document has many pages and you are interested in OCRed text of one (or multiple) very specific pages, then select pages first and then from context menu choose “OCRed Text” item:


See OCRed text ONLY of the selected pages


In case there are selected pages, OCRed Text menu item will show you OCRed text ONLY of the selected pages.


OCRed text modal dialog. Modal dialog shows OCRed text ONLY of the selected page.

OCR Languages Support

Papermerge DMS uses Tesseract to extract text from scanned documents. Tesseract supports over 130 languages - thus with Papermerge DMS you can have documents in any of those languages.