How to Setup and Run an Offline OCR Tool on Chromebook

Chromebooks are lightweight gadgets and often not preferred for daily uses. Still, they can serve various purposes. One of those is using Chromebook for offline OCR conversion. This will also allow us to convert images. In this guide, I will explain to you how to set up and run an offline OCR tool on a Chromebook. While you can do online OCR conversions, but most of that may not be free or provides limited free use.

We will implement the Tesseract OCR from Google. It is a free and open-source application. Along with that, we will also be using the gImageReader app. For this, you have to enable Linux on your Chromebook and use an app to deal with compatibility. The question of compatibility arises because gImageReader happens to support Windows OS. Now, let’s get to the detailed steps of the guide.

setup and run offline OCR tool on Chromebook

Setup and Run an Offline OCR Tool on Chromebook

Here are the steps for setting up the OCR.

  • Enable Linux on your Chromebook [Your Chromebook must be 2019 manufactured and should run ChromeOS 79 to support Linux]
  • Install Wine app to provide compatibility for the gImageReader app
  • Launch the Linux terminal
  • Enter the following two commands
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Download the gImageReader app for free from Github.
  • You have to transfer this .exe file to Linux Files.
  • Post download change the name of the app to something short for ease during command line insertions[for example change it to gimager or anything that you find convenient.]
  • Again go to the Linux terminal and give the following command.
    wine gimager.exe
  • A setup wizard will show up. Click Next to continue and follow the onscreen instructions and install the gImageReader on Chromebook.
  • Now to run the gImageReader you have to give the following command
    wine "/home/username/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/gImageReader/bin/gimagereader-qt5.exe"

    This above command replaces the username highlighted in bold with the actual username you have on your Chromebook.

Steps for OCR Conversion

  • The OCR tool will launch
  • Go to the File icon and click on it
  • Then browse through the Linux files section to fetch that PDF which you want to convert
  • The file will now open
  • Just above the open file, you will see the OCR Mode option. Click on it to expand the drop-down menu
  • Then set it to hOCR, PDF [This will enable a searchable output in the PDF format]
  • Otherwise, set it to Plain Text from the drop-down menu [if you wish to keep the text searchable]
  • At the right-hand panel under Output, click on Export to expand the menu
  • Select between Export to PDF, Export to ODT, or Export to Plain Text depending upon your requirement.
  • Select the location to which the newly converted file will save itself.

So, that’s all about setting up and running the offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook. If you prefer offline conversions then do try this out.

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