Models for OCR-D processors

OCR engines rely on pre-trained models for their recognition. Every engine has its own internal format(s) for models. Some support central storage of models at a specific location (Tesseract, Ocropy, Kraken) while others require the full path to a model (Calamari).

Moreover, many processors provide other file resources like configuration files or presets.

Since v2.22.0, OCR-D/core comes with a framework for managing file resources uniformly. This means that processors can delegate to OCR-D/core to resolve specific file resources by name, looking in well-defined places in the filesystem. This also includes downloading and caching file parameters passed as a URL. Furthermore, OCR-D/core comes with a bundled database of known resources, such as models, dictionaries, configurations and other processor-specific data files. Processors can add their own specifications to that.

This means that OCR-D users should be able to concentrate on fine-tuning their OCR workflows and not bother with implementation details like “where do I get models from and where do I put them”. In particular, users can reference file parameters by name now.

All of the above mentioned functionality can be accessed using the ocrd resmgr command line tool.

What models are available?

To get a list of the (available or installed) file resources that OCR-D/core is aware of:

ocrd resmgr list-available
# alternatively, using Docker:
docker run --volume ocrd-models:/models -- ocrd/all:maximum ocrd resmgr list-available

The output will look similar to this:

- qurator-gt4hist-0.3 (
  Calamari model trained with GT4HistOCR
- qurator-gt4hist-1.0 (
  Calamari model trained with GT4HistOCR

- LatinHist.pyrnn.gz (
  ocropy historical latin model by

As you can see, resources are grouped by the processors which make use of them.

The word after the list symbol, e.g. qurator-gt4hist-0.3, LatinHist.pyrnn.gz, defines the name of the resource, which is a shorthand you can use in parameters without having to specify the full URL (in brackets after the name).

The second line of each entry contains a short description of the resource.

Installing resources

On installing resources in OCR-D, read the follow-up sections Installing known resources and Installing unknown resources.

Known resources are resources that are provided by processor developers in the ocrd-tool.json and are available by name to ocrd resmgr download.

Unknown resources, in contrast, are models, configurations, parameter sets etc. that you provide yourself or found elsewhere on the Internet, which require passing a URL (or local path) to ocrd resmgr download.

If you installed OCR-D via Docker, read the section Models and Docker additionally.

Installing known resources

You can install resources with the ocrd resmgr download command. It expects the name of the processor as the 1st argument and the name of a resource as a 2nd argument.

Since model distribution is decentralised within OCR-D, every processor can advertise its own known resources, which the resource manager then picks up.

For example, to install the LatinHist.pyrnn.gz resource for ocrd-cis-ocropy-recognize:

ocrd resmgr download ocrd-cis-ocropy-recognize LatinHist.pyrnn.gz

This will look up the resource in the bundled resource and user databases, download, unarchive (where applicable) and store it in the proper location.

Note: The special name * can be used instead of a resource name/url to download all known resources for this processor. To download all tesseract models:

ocrd resmgr download ocrd-tesserocr-recognize '*'

Note: Equally, the special processor * can be used instead of a processor and a resource to download all known resources for all installed processors:

ocrd resmgr download '*'

(In either case, * must be in quotes or escaped to avoid wildcard expansion by the shell.)

Installing unknown resources

If you need to install a resource which OCR-D does not know of, that can be achieved by passing its URL in combination with the --any-url/-n flag to ocrd resmgr download.

For example, to install the same model for ocrd-cis-ocropy-recognize as above:

ocrd resmgr download -n ocrd-cis-ocropy-recognize LatinHist.pyrnn.gz

Or to install a model for ocrd-tesserocr-recognize that is located at https://my-server/mymodel.traineddata:

ocrd resmgr download -n https://my-server/mymodel.traineddata ocrd-tesserocr-recognize mymodel.traineddata

This will download and store the resource in the proper location and create a stub entry in the user database. You can then use it as the parameter value for the model parameter:

ocrd-tesserocr-recognize -P model mymodel

Models and Docker

If you are using OCR-D with Docker, we recommend keeping all downloaded resources persistently in a host directory, independent of both:

That resource directory needs to be mounted into a specific path in the container, as does the data directory:

Initially, (if you use a named volume, not a bind mount,) the host resource directory will contain only those resources that have been pre-installed into the processors’ module directories. Each time you run the Docker container, the Resource Manager and the processors will access that directory from the inside to resolve resources, so you can download additional models into that location using ocrd resmgr, and later use them in workflows.

The following will assume (without loss of generality) that your host-side data path is under ./data, and the host-side volume is called ocrd-models:

To download models to ocrd-models in the host FS and /models in the container FS:

docker run --user $(id -u) \
  --volume ocrd-models:/models \
  ocrd/all \
  ocrd resmgr download ocrd-tesserocr-recognize eng.traineddata\; \
  ocrd resmgr download ocrd-calamari-recognize default\; \

To run processors, then as usual do:

docker run --user $(id -u) \
  --tmpfs /tmp \
  --volume $PWD/data:/data \
  --volume ocrd-models:/models \
  ocrd/all ocrd-tesserocr-recognize -I IN -O OUT -P model eng

This principle applies to all ocrd/* Docker images, e.g. you can replace ocrd/all above with ocrd/tesserocr as well.

List installed resources

The ocrd resmgr list-installed command has the same output format as ocrd resmgr list-available. But instead of the database, it scans the filesystem locations where data is searched for existing resources and lists URL and description if a database entry exists.

User database

Whenever the OCR-D/core resource manager encounters an unknown resource in the filesystem, or when you install a resource with ocrd resmgr download, it will add a new stub entry in the user database, which is found at $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/ocrd/resources.yml (where $XDG_CONFIG_HOME defaults to $HOME/.config if unset) and gets created if it does not exist.

This allows you to use the OCR-D/core resource manager mechanics, including lookup of known resources by name or URL, without relying (only) on the database maintained by the OCR-D/core developers.

Note: If you produced or found resources that are interesting for the wider OCR(-D) community, please tell us in the OCR-D gitter chat or open an issue in the respective Github repository, so we can add it to the database.

Where is the data

The lookup algorithm is defined in our specifications

In order of preference, a resource <name> for a processor ocrd-foo is searched at:

(where $XDG_DATA_HOME defaults to $HOME/.local/share if unset).

We recommend using the $XDG_DATA_HOME location, which is also the default. But you can override the location to store data with the --location option, which can be cwd, data, system and module resp.

In Docker though, $XDG_CONFIG_HOME=$XDG_DATA_HOME/ocrd-resources=/usr/local/share/ocrd-resources gets symlinked to /models for easier volume handling (and persistency).

# will download to $PWD/latest_net_G.pth
ocrd resmgr download --location cwd ocrd-anybaseocr-dewarp latest_net_G.pth
# will download to /usr/local/share/ocrd-resources/ocrd-anybaseocr-dewarp/latest_net_G.pth
ocrd resmgr download --location system ocrd-anybaseocr-dewarp latest_net_G.pth

Changing the default resource directory

The $XDG_DATA_HOME default location is reasonable because models are usually large files which should persist across different deployments, both native and containerized, both single-module and ocrd_all. Moreover, that variable can easily be overridden during installation.

However, there are use cases where system or even cwd should be used as location to store resources, hence the --location option.

Notes on specific processors

Ocropy / ocrd_cis

An Ocropy model is simply the neural network serialized with Python’s pickle mechanism and is generally distributed in a gzipped form, with a .pyrnn.gz extension and can be used as such, no need to unarchive.

To use a specific model with OCR-D’s ocropus wrapper in ocrd_cis and more specifically, the ocrd-cis-ocropy-recognize processor, use the model parameter:

ocrd-cis-ocropy-recognize -I OCR-D-SEG-LINE -O OCR-D-OCR-OCRO -P model fraktur-jze.pyrnn.gz

Note: The model must have been downloaded before with

ocrd resmgr download ocrd-cis-ocropy-recognize fraktur-jze.pyrnn.gz

Calamari / ocrd_calamari

Calamari models are Tensorflow model directories. For distribution, this directory is usually packed to a tarball or ZIP file. Once downloaded, these containers must be unpacked to a directory again. ocrd resmgr handles this for you, so you just need the name of the resource in the database.

The Calamari-OCR project also maintains a repository of models.

To use a specific model with OCR-D’s calamari wrapper ocrd_calamari and more specifically, the ocrd-calamari-recognize processor, use the checkpoint_dir parameter:

# To use the "default" model, i.e. the one trained on GT4HistOCR by QURATOR
ocrd-calamari-recognize -I OCR-D-SEG-LINE -O OCR-D-OCR-CALA
# To use your own trained model
ocrd-calamari-recognize -I OCR-D-SEG-LINE -O OCR-D-OCR-CALA -P checkpoint_dir /path/to/modeldir

Tesseract / ocrd_tesserocr

Tesseract models are single files with a .traineddata extension.

Since Tesseract only supports model lookup in a single directory, and we want to share the tessdata directory with the standalone CLI, ocrd_tesserocr resources must be stored in the module location. If the default path of that location is not the place you want to use for Tesseract models, then either recompile Tesseract with the tessdata path you had in mind, or use the TESSDATA_PREFIX environment variable to override the module location at runtime.

NOTE: For reasons of efficiency and to avoid duplicate models, all ocrd-tesserocr-* processors re-use the resource directory for ocrd-tesserocr-recognize.

OCR-D’s Tesseract wrapper, ocrd_tesserocr and more specifically, the ocrd-tesserocr-recognize processor, expects the name of the model(s) to be provided as the model parameter. Multiple models can be combined by concatenating with + (which generally improves accuracy but always slows processing):

# Use the deu and frk models
ocrd-tesserocr-recognize -I OCR-D-SEG-LINE -O OCR-D-OCR-TESS -P model 'deu+frk'
# Use the Fraktur model
ocrd-tesserocr-recognize -I OCR-D-SEG-LINE -O OCR-D-OCR-TESS -P Fraktur

Model training

With the pretrained models mentioned above, good results can be obtained for many originals. Nevertheless, the recognition rate can usually be improved significantly by fine-tuning an existing model or even training a new model on your own particular originals.


For training Tesseract models, tesstrain can be used. As it is not included in ocrd_all, you will still have to install it, first. For information on the setup and the training process itself see the Readme in the GithHub Repository.


While tesstrain only allows you to train models for Tesseract, with okralact you can train models for four engines compatible with OCR-D - namely Tesseract, Ocropus, Kraken and Calamari - at once. Especially if you want to use several OCR engines for your workflows or are not sure which OCR engine will give you the best results, this might be particularly effective for you. Just like tesstrain it is not included in ocrd_all, meaning you will still have to install it, first. For information on the setup and the training process itself see the Readme in the GithHub Repository.

Further reading

If you just installed OCR-D and want to know how to process your own data, please see the user guide.