Welcome to our technical blog, where we delve into the comprehensive guide on installing Tesseract OCR version 5 on Ubuntu. Tesseract OCR is a widely acclaimed open-source optical character recognition engine, and version 5 brings significant improvements and features. However, if you follow the official installation guide, the current Ubuntu repositories typically offer version 4.1.1, which might not meet the needs of those requiring the latest enhancements. This guide will walk you through the steps to upgrade to Tesseract 5.3.4.

Tesseract OCR Versions

It would be helpful to know the history of the tesserOCR releases and you’ll appreciate that you could use the newest version with the LSTM (Long Short-term Memory) neural network. LSTM is a recurrent neural network (RNN) that aims to deal with the vanishing gradient problem present in traditional RNNs.

Below is a table outlining the evolution of Tesseract OCR from versions 1 to 5, highlighting the key differences and improvements introduced in each major release.

Feature/VersionTesseract 1Tesseract 2Tesseract 3Tesseract 4Tesseract 5
Release Year19952006201020182021
OCR EngineInitial release, basic OCR capabilitiesImprovement in OCR algorithmsIntroduction of Adaptive Recognition and improved layout analysisIntroduction of LSTM neural networks for OCR, significantly improving accuracyContinued improvements and optimizations on LSTM, better performance and accuracy
AccuracyBasic, mainly for clean printed textImproved accuracy over version 1Further improvements, especially with adaptive recognition for various fonts and languagesMajor leap in accuracy, capable of handling a wide range of text types, including noisy backgroundsSlight improvements in accuracy and efficiency over version 4, with optimizations for speed and resource usage
Supported LanguagesLimitedExpanded language supportBroad language support, introduction of training tools for additional languagesComprehensive language support with improved LSTM models for better recognitionFurther expansion and refinement of language models, ensuring better accuracy across languages
PerformanceBasic, suitable for simple OCR tasksFaster processing than version 1Improved performance and stabilityEnhanced processing speed and accuracy with the LSTM modelOptimizations for even faster processing and efficiency, support for modern hardware
UsabilityCommand-line tool with limited optionsEnhanced command-line options and usabilityAPI improvements, better documentation, and usability enhancementsSignificant improvements to the API for developers, introduction of a more user-friendly command-line interfaceContinued enhancements to usability, with further refinements to the API and command-line tools
Training ToolsNot availableNot availableImproved tools for training on custom fonts and languagesAdvanced training tools for LSTM models, allowing for custom model creationUpdated training tools, documentation, and support for easier custom model training
Application ScopeLimited to clean printed textExpanded applicability to a wider range of printed textsApplicable to a broader range of documents, including those with complex layoutsSuited for a wide variety of OCR tasks, including challenging conditions and text typesIdeal for almost all OCR tasks, with state-of-the-art accuracy and efficiency
Tesseract OCR major releases

This table illustrates the continuous development and enhancement of Tesseract OCR, demonstrating its growth from a basic OCR tool to a sophisticated, neural network-based OCR engine that is one of the most powerful open-source options available today.

Removing Previous Versions

Before installing the new version, it’s crucial to remove any existing installations of Tesseract OCR to avoid conflicts. This can be achieved with the following command:

sudo apt remove --autoremove tesseract-ocr tesseract-ocr-*

This command ensures that all versions of Tesseract OCR and its associated packages are completely removed from your system.

Understanding and Adding the PPA

You may build tesseract-ocr5 from source code, and it takes time and you might run into unexpected issues. Instead, we’ll rely on the Personal Package Archive (PPA) built by other developers. PPAs allow Ubuntu users to install and upgrade software that is unavailable in the official Ubuntu repositories. For Tesseract OCR version 5, we rely on a PPA provided by Alexander Pozdnyakov:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alex-p/tesseract-ocr5
audo apt update

Adding this PPA updates your system’s software sources, enabling access to newer versions of Tesseract OCR. The information about this PPA is stored in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/, which apt-get uses to fetch package updates.

If you would like to install the development branch, you can add ppa:alex-p/tesseract-ocr-devel.

Installing Tesseract OCR 5

With the PPA added, installing Tesseract OCR version 5.3.4 becomes straightforward:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install tesseract-ocr
tesseract-ocr --version

These commands refresh your package list and install the latest Tesseract OCR, granting you access to all the new features and improvements of version 5.3.4.

Show tesseract’s version


Upgrading to Tesseract OCR 5 on Ubuntu requires removing any older versions, adding a specific PPA for access to the new version, and installing it using the apt package manager. This process ensures you’re equipped with the latest in OCR technology and ready to tackle text recognition tasks with improved accuracy and efficiency.

By understanding the role of PPAs and how they integrate with your system’s package management, you’re not just upgrading Tesseract OCR but also honing your skills in managing software on Ubuntu. Enjoy the enhanced capabilities of Tesseract OCR 5, and get more about our AI articles from here.

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