Using gImageReader for OCR

In a previous post I went through the process of writing a shell script for optical character recognition from the terminal or console. While the post was educational enough in that one had to learn bash scripting in the process, I have to admit that it was not optimal especially for a production environment.

It only served to demonstrate the Unix philosophy: that complex operations are done through small utilities chained together, and this is the soul of being productive on a Linux machine.

However, a reader contacted me with a simple question, which I thought merited a response in a post. His query was: “Well, now that we can do this on the terminal, does it mean that there is no other application we can use for conducting OCR?”

Sure enough, there it is: a graphical application known as gImageReader.1

In this post, I will be showing you how to use the gImageReader to do your OCR operations.

Getting It

The gImageReader is found in most Linux repositories, such that it is a matter of running a command such as

sudo apt install -y gimagereader

on Debian/Ubuntu, or

dnf install gimagereader

on Fedora.

On the other hand, if you are for the latest application, you can get it from the GitHub repository.

You can download it from this site and manually install it.However, this process of manually downloading source code and compiling it will be covered in a future post.

Using it

After installation, the process of converting an image to a text document is straightforward:

  • Launch your Start Menu and go to Graphics and you will find the new gImageReader entry.
  • Alternatively, just launch your Search Bar by pressing the Super Key2 and type “gImageReader”.
  • Press Enter to launch the application.

The application has a simple interface:

  • It contains a list box to hold a document queue for conversion.

  • Pressing the TAB key will take you to the buttons for adding individual files or folders.

  • Browse to any image you like and place it in the list.

  • Hit the Convert button to initiate the conversion process.

    The smart thing with the gImageReader is that if you try to convert a PDF document which is already accessible (meaning that its text is searchable and not image), it will alert you of the fact. In other words, gImageReader is optimised for converting inaccessible images to text. If you would rather convert a PDF document to some other form, you would be served well by employing another tool such as pdftotext or the Calibre Ebook Converter.


gImageReader is a useful tool to possess in your productivity arsenal if you work with lots of documents on Linux. It is fast and efficient when it comes to handling documents. It is accessible with the Orca screen-reader.

I hope this post will be of help in your text-processing adventure. Thank you for reading this post.


  1. Like most Graphical applications, the “G” prefix denotes Gnome. ↩︎

  2. Also known as the Windows key ↩︎

Ishe Chinyoka
Ishe Chinyoka
Access Technology Instructor

My research interests include operating systems, access technology, programming, and science fiction.