OCR to searchable PDF does not work

No, I don’t think the installation failed for that reason; but I think I remember having seen a similar problem in the forum a good while back, and I think the conclusion was that the download probably didn’t properly conclude, leaving a defective copy of the OCRHelper.

Have you restarted DEVONthink since doing that?

after deleting the folder and re installing the OCR add-on, the problem persists.

I’ve just searched the forum and here Jim suggests to the user of an m1 Mac that granting FDA to the OCRHelper app may help. I’ve just checked, and on my Intel mac, the OCRHelper app does not have - or need - FDA. And the user sadly didn’t provide information on whether it was that step which solved the problem or not. Worth a try though (but do remove FDA from the OCRHelper app if it doesn’t help).

Presumably you have tried more than one PDF and none works? Is anything logged to the log (Window/Log)?

If this step also does not help, I would suggest waiting the day to see whether Jim provides the solution here, and otherwise opening a support ticket.

I gave the OCRHelper app full-disk-access, and the problem persists :confused:

Yes, I have tried different files. I need to convert various screenshots into OCR PDF files (I do this all the time in DEVONthink to Go).

I am indeed using an M1 mac (MacBook air).

Have you rebooted the Mac?

PS: sorry for the tardy reply. I have the flu. I’ll spare you the details :grimacing:

Do you mean restart or shut down the mac?
Yes I have

Where did the PDF originate?

From Devonthink.
I have several screenshots that contain text. They are PNG files. I imported the PNG files into a DEVONthink library.
I tried to convert the PNG files into OCR Pdfs directly, and I had this issue. Then I converted the PNG into a regular PDF, that worked.

Then I tried to covert that pdf into an OCR pdf, that did not work

To help track down where the OCR is failing, could you turn on OCR logging, to do this:

  • Quit DEVONthink
  • In Finder select the menu Go->Go to Folder, copy and paste the line below and press Go.
    ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink 3/Abbyy
  • Copy the file OCR.plist (274 Bytes) to this folder.
  • Restart DEVONthink, if the OCR fails could you send a copy of the log files. The easiest way to do this is in DEVONthink select the Help menu and whilst pressing the Option key select the “Report a Bug” menu item. This will open an email with the logs attached. If you make it for attention of Alan.


I have sent the log files by email using the Help Menu


The log is reporting a miscellaneous error when trying to start the OCR, could you try the following:

  • Quit DEVONthink
  • In Finder select the menu Go->Go to Folder, copy and paste the line below and press Go.
    ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink 3/Abbyy
  • Double click on the DTOCRHelper application to start it, note this application does not have a user interface.
  • If there isn’t an error on launching , try opening DEVONthink and OCR a document
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That fixed it. I think I know what the problem was.
The DTOCRHelper does not work with M1.
When I double-clicked on the app, I got a message from MacOS indicating that I needed to download and install Rosetta to run the application.

I did not have Rosseta in my Mac because all my applications are M1 compatible, or so I thought…

After installing Rosetta, I launched Devonbthink, and I was able to OCR my pdf file.

My next question is:
is there a way DEVONthink can use the M1 version of the OCR library?

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ABBYY are in the process of developing an Apple Silicon version of their OCR library, until that update is released it has to be run under Rosetta. They haven’t announced any release releases dates so I am unable to give you any timeframe for it to be a fully native Apple Silicon application.

Thanks for following this through - that will add to my repertoire of questions to ask users with similar problems :slight_smile:

If you haven’t already done so, please remember to remove Full Disk Access from DTOCRHelper, as it probably isn’t required.

I already did

Thank you

Full Disk Access is only usually required when using a ScanSnap scanner with certain configurations of Scansnap Home or ScanSnap Manager.

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If you have a brand new MacBook Pro 2021 beast, and it is just installed and haven’t installed any other Intel-only app, DTOCRHelper will fail because lack of Rosetta 2. Once manually run for first time DTOCRHelper and asked for installation of Rossetta, it went flawlessly.

I installed Devonthink PRO on my new M1 mac, the OCR addon was downloaded and installed but there is no option to made a OCR of PDF in right click menu

DTOCRHelper doesnt throw any error, I have other Rosetta apps

EDIT: Solved! Search view doesnt offer OCR unfortuantely

I have the same issue. How did you install Rosetta?

I don’t have any experience with Rosetta, but does this Apple article help: If you need to install Rosetta on your Mac – Apple Support (UK)

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