I have an email with a scanned .pdf attached in my Gmail account. When I clicked "View", I see that Google has OCRed it. When I click "Download", the PDF is the original one, i.e. without being OCRed.

How can I download a .pdf file with content OCRed by Google?

1 Answer 1


Upload them into Google Docs. Google Docs does OCR see here how.

Last June [2011], we introduced the ability to upload documents into Google Docs using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). OCR analyzes images and PDF files, typically produced by a scanner (or the camera of a mobile phone), extracts text and some formatting and allows you to edit the document in Google Docs.

  • +1. Thanks! But I would like the OCRed text to be put at the corresponding positions in the original scanned pdf, and download the pdf with the OCRed text as part of the pdf file. If you click "view" for a scanned pdf attachment and select text in a scanned pdf file, you will see what I mean by putting the OCRed text on top of the scanned pdf file.
    – Tim
    Nov 27, 2012 at 0:09
  • @Tim I know what you mean, text over image. I know ABBYY does that, but don't know of a webservice that does that. That doesn't mean it might not be one. Nov 27, 2012 at 0:13
  • Google search's "view" and Gmail attachment's "view" for pdf files do lay OCRed text on the pdf files. It is so close, but I don't know how to download them as a whole.
    – Tim
    Nov 27, 2012 at 0:33

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