How to Use OCR

Last Updated: Nov 06, 2018 04:13PM EST

Optical Character Recognition, OCR, is a technology that recognizes text within images. It allows Soda PDF to differentiate this text from the rest of the image so you can edit it.

You will be able to recognize an image by the red border that surrounds it when you select it while in Edit Mode.


When you use any OCR feature, you will find text boxes surrounding the text instead of just the image.


When the whole page is one large image, it is indicative of a document made up of scanned pages. Without OCR, they cannot be edited easily. 

The OCR Module has a series of resources designed for different circumstances.


Auto and Manual: 

These are only active when an individual image is selected. Rather than scanning an entire document, you can work image by image. These features do not create a new file, but scan the image within the existing PDF. Click here to learn more. 

Page Range 

Click here to select a page range to scan. Select the pages you’d like and hit Ok. A new file will be created from the selected range:


Entire Document: 

This option will apply the OCR Engine to the entire document at once. You will see the status bar appear advising you that Soda PDF is recognizing text. You can click on Cancel to stop it. When it is finished, a new file will open with all your images scanned. Your original file will not change.



With the Batch tool, you can use the OCR engine on multiple files at once. When you click on Add Files… or Add Folder…, you will be prompted to Browse your computer and choose your files. You can use the arrow options to change the order in which the files will be batched. You can remove any file from the list with Delete.


Click on Browse… to change where the files will be saved. When you click Batch, each recognized file will open individually in the order you selected:


From External Image:  

This will open a Browse window. Choose your file and it will open ready to be edited.  

Scan and Recognize: 

This feature will interface directly with your scanner. As you create your new PDF file directly from your scanner, the documents will be scanned with OCR as well, making them ready to edit. Click here to learn more about this feature.  

Create from Scanner is only available in Soda PDF Desktop. Soda PDF Online is a web app that does not access the operating system of your computer. We are working towards finding a way to bring this feature to Soda PDF Online as quickly as possible. 


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