How to Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

Chromebooks are generally looked down upon when it comes to performing heavy operations related to digital publishing, media conversion, photo editing, and so on. However, there are certain ways you can perform many of the tasks if you have the penchant to solve problems. In this article, we are taking a look at how to run a powerful offline OCR tool on a Chromebook. You will be able to convert images and non-searchable documents using a powerful OCR service. So on that note, let’s go ahead and find the instructions to perform OCR conversion on a Chromebook.

Use Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

Here, we are going to use the powerful Tesseract OCR service that is open-source, free, and maintained by Google. Since it’s a command-line tool, we will be using gImageReader which is developed on Tesseract’s engine. It has a GUI interface and works really well without any issues.

On the Chromebook, we are going to use the Windows version of gImageReader for which we need Linux support. And we will use a compatibility layer called Wine to run Windows apps on a Linux system. Bear in mind, Chromebooks issued by schools won’t be able to use this method due to the lack of Linux support.

If you find the instructions lengthy and complex then you can use online OCR services (e.g. newocr.com). As for this article, I am strictly explaining an offline way to perform OCR conversion. On top of that, the process is completely free and can convert large stacks of documents on your Chromebook just like native apps so that is great. Having said all of that, let’s now go through the guide.

Set Up Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

1. First of all, enable Linux and set up Wine on your Chromebook by following our linked guides. The process is a bit lengthy but certainly doable.

Install Wine 5.0 on Your Chromebook

2. Next, run the below commands one by one in the Linux Terminal to keep your Linux up to date.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

3. Having done that, download gImageReader (Free) and move it to the Linux files section. After that, rename it to something short. For instance, gimage. Also, move the image or PDF file to the Linux files section that you want to convert.

Use Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

4. Now, open the Linux terminal and run the below command to install gImageReader. It will start a setup wizard just like Windows. So just click on “Next” and install the application.

wine gimage.exe

Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

Run gImageReader on a Chromebook

1. After the installation, execute the below command in the Linux Terminal to run gImageReader. Make sure to change username to the actual username you have assigned to Linux on your Chromebook. To find it, check the initial name before @penguin under the Linux Terminal. That’s your username.

Note: If you want to open gImagReader through an easy shortcut then refer to our above guide on how to set up Wine and go through the shortcut section.

wine "/home/username/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/gImageReader/bin/gimagereader-qt5.exe"

Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

2. Now, the OCR tool will open up on your Chromebook. Click on the “File” icon to get started.

Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

3. Here, click on / and navigate to home -> username. You will find the PDF file that you had moved to the Linux section. Select and open it.

Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

4. Now, simply click on “OCR Mode” and change it to “hOCR, PDF” if you want a searchable output in PDF format. If you just want searchable text then keep it “Plain Text”. Finally, click on “Recognize all” and it will start the OCR conversion. Keep in mind, depending on the size of the document, the process may take some time.

How to Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

5. Finally, click on the Export icon located at the right pane and select “Export to PDF“. Next, click on “OK” if you get a dialog box.

How to Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

6. Now select where do you want to save the converted document. Make sure to open / and navigate to home -> username and then save the file.

How to Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

7. This is what the converted document looks like. The conversion is absolutely on point with minimal errors. For good measures, I also threw a heavy file (36MB) having 41 pages and it converted the whole file like a charm.

How to Run an Offline OCR Tool on a Chromebook

List of Popular Chromebooks

Our tutorial will work with all of the following Chromebooks. It is not an exhaustive list and is only here to serve as an example.

Brand NameModel Name
AcerAcer Chromebook 315
Acer Chromebook CB315-3H-C2C3
Acer Chromebook CB315-3HT-C296
Acer Chromebook CB315-3H-C4QE
Acer Chromebook CB315-2HT-44MJ
Acer Chromebook CB315-3HT-C3J0
Acer Chromebook CB315-3H-C5JS
Acer Chromebook CB315-3HT-C6XF
Acer Chromebook CB315-3H-C36A
Acer Chromebook CB315-3HT-C16B
Acer Chromebook 314
Acer Chromebook CB314-1H-C34N
Acer Chromebook CB314-1H-C66Z
Acer Chromebook CB314-1H-C02A
Acer Chromebook 311
Acer Chromebook CB311-9HT-C4UM
Acer Chromebook CB311-9H-C12A
Acer Chromebook 311 - CP311-3H-K5GD
Acer Chromebook CB311-9H-C7C8
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 - CP713-2W-79H3
Acer Chromebook 512 - C851-C1J7
Acer Chromebook 311 Touch - CB311-9HT-C4UM
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 - CP311-3H-K5GD
Acer Chromebox CXI3 - CXI3-I7V16GNKM4
Acer Chromebox CXI3 - CXI3-4GKM4
Acer Chromebox CXI3 - CXI3-4GNKM4
Acer Chromebook Spin 13 - CP713-1WN-51EA
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 - CP713-2W-79H3
Acer Chromebook Enterprise Spin 13 - CP713-1WN-76M7
Chromebook Spin 13 - CP713-1WN-813G
CB714-1W-32D4
CB714-1W-525Q
Acer Chromebook Spin 514
Acer Chromebook 311 C733-C0FK
Acer Chromebook CB314-1H-P7ZZ
ASUSASUS Chromebook C204EE
ASUS Chromebook C403NA
ASUS Chromebook Flip C214MA
ASUS Chromebook C203XA
ASUS Chromebook C202XA
ASUS Chromebook 14 C425TA
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434TA
ASUS Chromebook Flip C433TA
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA
ASUS Chromebook Flip C436FA
ASUS Chromebook C202SA
ASUS Chromebook C423NA
ASUS Chromebook C523NA
ASUS Chromebook C223NA
ASUS Chromebook Flip C101PA
GoogleGoogle Pixelbook Go GA00521-US
Google Pixelbook Go GA00519-US
Google Pixelbook Go GA00526-US
Google Pixelbook Go GA00124-US
Google Pixelbook Go GA00519-UK
Google Pixelbook Go GA00523-US
Google Pixel Slate C1A
HPHP Chromebook - 14a-na0003tu
HP Chromebook 11A G6 EE
HP Chromebook x360 12b-ca0010TU
HP Chromebook - 14a-na0002tu
HP Chromebook - 11-v010nr
HP Chromebook - 15-de0010nr
HP Chromebook - 14-db0030nr
HP Chromebook - 14-db0020nr
HP Chromebook - 15-de0015nr
HP Chromebook - 14a-na0097nr
HP Chromebook - 14a touch optional
HP Chromebook - 14-db0098nr
HP Chromebook 11a-nb0047nr
HP Chromebook 11a 11a-na0010nr
HP Chromebook 11a 11a-na0060nr
HP Chromebook 14A G5
HP Chromebook Enterprise 14A G5
HP Chromebook 11A G6 Education Edition PC
HP Chromebook 14A G5
HP Chromebook 11A G8 Education Edition
HP Chromebook x360 11 G3 EE
HP Pro c640 Chromebook
HP Chromebook 11A G8 Education Edition
HP Chromebook 14A G5 Notebook PC
HP Pro c640 Chromebook
HP Elite c1030 Chromebook
HP Pro c640 Chromebook Enterprise
HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Notebook PC
HP Pro c645 Chromebook
HP Chromebook x360 12b-ca0010nr
HP Chromebook x360 - 14c-ca0065nr
HP Chromebook x360 - 14b-ca0010nr
HP Chromebook x360 14a-ca0097nr
HP Chromebook x360 14c-ca0085nr
HP Chromebook x360 - 14ct-ca000
HP Chromebook 11 G1 Notebook PC 1NW60UT
HP Chromebook - 14-ca020nr
HP Chromebook 11 G6 Education Edition 3PD94UT
HP Chromebook x360 11 G1 EE - Customizable
LenovoChromebook Duet (10.1") 2 in 1
Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet
500e Chromebook 2nd Gen (11.6") Intel
300e Chromebook 2nd Gen (11.6")
100e Chromebook 2nd Gen (11.6")
14e Chromebook (14")
Chromebook C340 (11")
Chromebook C330 (11.6")
Yoga Chromebook (15.6")
Chromebook 3 (14”)
Lenovo Chromebook S345 (14”)
Chromebook Flex 3i (11”)
Chromebook Flex 5 (13”)
100e Chromebook 2nd Gen (11.6”) AMD
300e Chromebook 2nd Gen (11.6”) AMD
SamsungSamsung Galaxy Chromebook
Samsung Chromebook Plus (LTE)
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Samsung Chromebook 4+
Samsung Chromebook 4
Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2)
Samsung Chromebook 3
Samsung Chromebook Plus

Use Tesseract OCR on a Chromebook Using gImageReader

So that is how you can run an offline OCR tool on a Chromebook with help of Linux and Wine. Sure, the installation process is a bit tedious but once you have set it up, it’s immensely helpful to convert OCR files to searchable PDFs in a jiffy.

For the record, I tried the dedicated Debian installer of gImageReader but the output was not as good as the Windows one which is pretty weird. Anyway, that is all from us. For more such tips, go through our article on the best Chrome OS tips and tricks.

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