Basic OCR in Obsidian

OCR Templater Script for Obsidian

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Templater Script for Obsidian.

Video Demonstration

Installation

Pre-requisites

Install the Tesseract OCR engine.

Prebuilt Binaries for Linux and Windows are available. On Mac: brew install tesseract.

Create Templater System Command for Tesseract

  1. Open Settings > Templater
  2. Turn on Enable System Commands
  3. Add a User Function named ocr
/usr/local/bin/tesseract "$ocr_input" -

NOTE I reccomend increasing the Templater Timeout to 10s or more as the OCR may take a moment.

Add OCR.md template

Add the OCR.md template to your Templater templates folder.

---
creation date: <% tp.file.creation_date() %>
tags: [OCR]
---

<%*
const supportedFileTypes = ["jpeg", "jpg", "png"];
const images = this.app.vault.getFiles().filter((item) => supportedFileTypes.indexOf(item.extension) >= 0)
const target = await tp.system.suggester((item) => item.path, images, true);
const out = await tp.user.ocr({ocr_input: target.path});
%><%* tR += out %>

Usage

  1. Invoke Templater: Create new note from template Pallet command
  2. Choose OCR
  3. Choose an image file in your vault. This may take a few seconds.

video demonstration

11 Likes

Could you please help guide me on what templater command I should put for window?
i tried: 'C:\Program Files\Tesseract-OCR\tesseract.exe' "$ocr_input" - but console saying syntax is incorrect.

Hey, sorry. I don’t have windows so not entirely sure what to put there. If you have access to cygwin or the Windows Subsystem for Linux, you might be able to get that working by installing tesseract in cygwin or WSL and setting your Templater system shell to bash, but I’m not able to test that out

1 Like

My guess is the default shell in windows is cmd.exe and you might try ’C:\Program Files\Tesseract-OCR\tesseract.exe' "%ocr_input%" … likely have to play with tesseract at the command line to get the right command

1 Like

not correct yet, but i think try googling cmd command will help. Thank you so much!

sweet; if you get it working, let me know and I’ll update the OP. Again, so sorry :bowing_man:

Will do.
No apology needed at all. Thank you for your help!

Ok, i was able to make some progress with: powershell 'C:\Program Files\Tesseract-OCR\tesseract.exe' '%ocr_input%'
I think this should work for user function.

The current problem now i think is the ocr_input is giving the obsidian path instead of system path.

Thanks. That’s interesting. The relative obsidian path works okay on my mac, but that must not work on windows. You could change your system command to include the path to your obsidian vault, e.g. powershell 'C:\Program Files\Tesseract-OCR\tesseract.exe' 'C:\Users\...\???\Documents\notes\%ocr_input%' … (guessing at a workaround here)

1 Like

Yep, it does work!
The console showing the correct path.
However, Obisidian link seperate folder structure with / while window seperate folder with \.
Is there a way to replace the forward/backward slash in ocr_input?

you could try modifying the OCR template to look like this (notice the replaceAll addition)

---
creation date: <% tp.file.creation_date() %>
tags: [OCR]
---

<%*
const supportedFileTypes = ["jpeg", "jpg", "png"];
const images = this.app.vault.getFiles().filter((item) => supportedFileTypes.indexOf(item.extension) >= 0)
const target = await tp.system.suggester((item) => item.path, images, true);
const out = await tp.user.ocr({ocr_input: target.path.replaceAll("\/", "\\")});
%><%* tR += out %>

Thank you so much for the template but I can’t seem to get it working. I’m getting the following error:

Template parsing error, aborting. Eta Error: Bad template syntax

Invalid or unexpected token
===========================
var tR='',__l,__lP,include=E.include.bind(E),includeFile=E.includeFile.bind(E)
function layout(p,d){__l=p;__lP=d}
let _prs = [];
_prs.push(tp.file.creation_date());
_prs.push(\*
const supportedFileTypes = ["jpeg", "jpg", "png"];
const images = this.app.vault.getFiles().filter((item) => supportedFileTypes.indexOf(item.extension) >= 0)
const target = await tp.system.suggester((item) => item.path, images, true);
const out = await tp.user.ocr({ocr\_input: target.path}););
_prs.push(\* tR += out);
let _rst = await Promise.all(_prs);
tR+='--- \ncreation date: '
tR+=_rst[0]
tR+=' \ntags: [OCR] \n--- \n'
tR+=_rst[1]
tR+=_rst[2]
if(__l)tR=await includeFile(__l,Object.assign(tp,{body:tR},__lP))
if(cb){cb(null,tR)} return tR

    at EtaErr (eval at <anonymous> (app://obsidian.md/app.js:1:1), <anonymous>:288:15)
    at compile (eval at <anonymous> (app://obsidian.md/app.js:1:1), <anonymous>:851:19)
    at handleCache (eval at <anonymous> (app://obsidian.md/app.js:1:1), <anonymous>:1094:68)
    at eval (eval at <anonymous> (app://obsidian.md/app.js:1:1), <anonymous>:1140:33)
    at new Promise (<anonymous>)
    at render (eval at <anonymous> (app://obsidian.md/app.js:1:1), <anonymous>:1138:24)
    at renderAsync (eval at <anonymous> (app://obsidian.md/app.js:1:1), <anonymous>:1172:12)
    at TemplateParser.eval (eval at <anonymous> (app://obsidian.md/app.js:1:1), <anonymous>:1787:34)
    at Generator.next (<anonymous>)
    at eval (eval at <anonymous> (app://obsidian.md/app.js:1:1), <anonymous>:52:71)

Any idea how I can fix it?

Not really. There is a lot of missing context: what platform you are on, have you verified there aren’t any copy paste errors, etc. you can also try commenting out parts of the template to see where the error is from on your setup.

I’ve managed to get this working on a windows 10 machine.

  1. added tesseract to path environment variable, confirmed tesseract is working at command prompt.
  2. user function in templater called ocr_win : powershell tesseract "%ocr_input%" -
  3. template like this:
---
creation date: <% tp.file.creation_date() %>
tags: [OCR]
---

<%*
const supportedFileTypes = ["jpeg", "jpg", "png"];
const images = this.app.vault.getFiles().filter((item) => supportedFileTypes.indexOf(item.extension) >= 0)
const target = await tp.system.suggester((item) => item.path, images, true);
const out = await tp.user.ocr_win({ocr_input: target.path.replace('/', '\\')});
%><%* tR += out %>
3 Likes

can it recognize Chinese?
cause I tried I think it can’t

Or need other settings?

For that you should check the Tesseract user manual Tesseract User Manual | tessdoc

Thanks man

supposedly there is support for it but if it’s not working out of the box, I’m not sure what the next step is. I believe there is a way to use custom training data or data files from this SO post, but it looks a little dated. @fred1357944

Thank you so much.

I am trying a lot to get this running, but the problem lies with the fact that somehow it has problems recognizing tesseract as a function in powershell. If i do it manually, I can get it to run.

I added

C:\Program Files\Tesseract-OCR\

to Path Variable.

Copied your template, still an error message. Getting frustrated right now, would you be able to expand a bit what exactly you did?