I want to convert a tiff image file to text document. My code works as I expected to convert tiff images with usual font, but it's not working for French script font. My tiff image file contains text. The font of text is in French script format. Here is my code:

import Image
import subprocess
import util
import errors
tesseract_exe_name = 'tesseract' # Name of executable to be called at command line
scratch_image_name = "temp.bmp" # This file must be .bmp or other Tesseract-compatible format
scratch_text_name_root = "temp" # Leave out the .txt extension
cleanup_scratch_flag = True  # Temporary files cleaned up after OCR operation
def call_tesseract(input_filename, output_filename):
    """Calls external tesseract.exe on input file (restrictions on types),
    outputting output_filename+'txt'"""
    args = [tesseract_exe_name, input_filename, output_filename]
    proc = subprocess.Popen(args)
    retcode = proc.wait()
    if retcode!=0:
def image_to_string(im, cleanup = cleanup_scratch_flag):
    """Converts im to file, applies tesseract, and fetches resulting text.
    If cleanup=True, delete scratch files after operation."""
        util.image_to_scratch(im, scratch_image_name)
        call_tesseract(scratch_image_name, scratch_text_name_root)
        text = util.retrieve_text(scratch_text_name_root)
        if cleanup:
            util.perform_cleanup(scratch_image_name, scratch_text_name_root)
    return text
def image_file_to_string(filename, cleanup = cleanup_scratch_flag, graceful_errors=True):
    If cleanup=True, delete scratch files after operation."""
            call_tesseract(filename, scratch_text_name_root)
            text = util.retrieve_text(scratch_text_name_root)
        except errors.Tesser_General_Exception:
            if graceful_errors:

                im = Image.open(filename)
                text = image_to_string(im, cleanup)
        if cleanup:
            util.perform_cleanup(scratch_image_name, scratch_text_name_root)
    return text
if __name__=='__main__':
    im = Image.open("/home/oomsys/phototest.tif")
    text = image_to_string(im)
    print text
        text = image_file_to_string('fnord.tif', graceful_errors=False)
    except errors.Tesser_General_Exception, value:
        print "fnord.tif is incompatible filetype.  Try graceful_errors=True"
        print value
    text = image_file_to_string('fnord.tif', graceful_errors=True)
    print "fnord.tif contents:", text
    text = image_file_to_string('fonts_test.png', graceful_errors=True)
    print text
  • Application development on Ubuntu is very much on topic here.
    – Takkat
    May 18, 2013 at 9:56
  • the above code works fine for usual font which is in tif image. I tested it. But when i supply tiff image which contain text in french script its not working.. May 18, 2013 at 10:13
  • By "french script" do you mean "written in French" or "using the font named French Script"? (or any other variation of pseudo-handwritten decorative font - see this for an example fonts.com/font/monotype/french-script/regular)?
    – Sergey
    May 18, 2013 at 10:20
  • i just used font named french script not a written in french,, May 18, 2013 at 10:25
  • Ahh, after re-reading the question I see that you mean "using a decorative font named French Script". Well, I'm pretty sure that decorative fonts like that are beyond the capabilities of any OCR.
    – Sergey
    May 18, 2013 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


Read through the Tesseract documentation you can train it to understand that font, like so: http://michaeljaylissner.com/blog/adding-new-fonts-to-tesseract-3-ocr-engine


Tesseract is a great and powerful OCR engine, but their instructions for adding a new font are incredibly long and complicated. At CourtListener we have to handle several unusual blackletter fonts, so we had to go through this process a few times. Below I've explained the process so others may more easily add fonts to their system.

The process has a few major steps:

  • Create training documents
  • Teach Tesseract about the documents

Create training documents

To create training documents, open up MS Word or LibreOffice, paste in the contents of the attached file named ‘standard-training-text.txt'. This file contains the training text that is used by Tesseract for the included fonts.

Set your line spacing to at least 1.5, and space out the letters by about 1pt. using character spacing. I've attached a sample doc too, if that helps. Set the text to the font you want to use, and save it as font-name.doc.

Save the document as a PDF (call it [lang].font-name.exp0.pdf, with lang being an ISO-639 three letter abbreviation for your language), and then use the following command to convert it to a 300dpi tiff (requires imagemagick):

convert -density 300 -depth 4 lang.font-name.exp0.pdf lang.font-name.exp0.tif

You'll now have a good training image called lang.font-name.exp0.tif. If you're adding multiple fonts, or bold, italic or underline, repeat this process multiple times, creating one doc → pdf → tiff per font variation.

Train Tesseract

The next step is to run tesseract over the image(s) we just created, and to see how well it can do with the new font. After it's taken its best shot, we then give it corrections. It'll provide us with a box file, which is just a file containing x,y coordinates of each letter it found along with what letter it thinks it is. So let's see what it can do:

tesseract lang.font-name.exp0.tiff lang.font-name.exp0 batch.nochop makebox

You'll now have a file called font-name.exp0.box, and you'll need to open it in a box-file editor. There are a bunch of these on the Tesseract wiki. The one that works for me (on Ubuntu) is moshpytt, though it doesn't support multi-page tiffs. If you need to use a multi-page tiff, see the issue on the topic for tips. Once you've opened it, go through every letter, and make sure it was detected correctly. If a letter was skipped, add it as a row to the box file. Similarly, if two letters were detected as one, break them up into two lines.

When that's done, you feed the box file back into tesseract:

tesseract eng.font-name.exp0.tif eng.font-name.box nobatch box.train .stderr

Next, you need to detect the Character set used in all your box files:

unicharset_extractor *.box

When that's complete, you need to create a font_properties file. It should list every font you're training, one per line, and identify whether it has the following characteristics: <fontname> <italic> <bold> <fixed> <serif> <fraktur>

So, for example, if you use the standard training data, you might end up with a file like this:

eng.arial.box 0 0 0 0 0
eng.arialbd.box 0 1 0 0 0
eng.arialbi.box 1 1 0 0 0
eng.ariali.box 1 0 0 0 0
eng.b018012l.box 0 0 0 1 0
eng.b018015l.box 0 1 0 1 0
eng.b018032l.box 1 0 0 1 0
eng.b018035l.box 1 1 0 1 0
eng.c059013l.box 0 0 0 1 0
eng.c059016l.box 0 1 0 1 0
eng.c059033l.box 1 0 0 1 0
eng.c059036l.box 1 1 0 1 0
eng.cour.box 0 0 1 1 0
eng.courbd.box 0 1 1 1 0
eng.courbi.box 1 1 1 1 0
eng.couri.box 1 0 1 1 0
eng.georgia.box 0 0 0 1 0
eng.georgiab.box 0 1 0 1 0
eng.georgiai.box 1 0 0 1 0
eng.georgiaz.box 1 1 0 1 0
eng.lincoln.box 0 0 0 0 1
eng.old-english.box 0 0 0 0 1
eng.times.box 0 0 0 1 0
eng.timesbd.box 0 1 0 1 0
eng.timesbi.box 1 1 0 1 0
eng.timesi.box 1 0 0 1 0
eng.trebuc.box 0 0 0 1 0
eng.trebucbd.box 0 1 0 1 0
eng.trebucbi.box 1 1 0 1 0
eng.trebucit.box 1 0 0 1 0
eng.verdana.box 0 0 0 0 0
eng.verdanab.box 0 1 0 0 0
eng.verdanai.box 1 0 0 0 0
eng.verdanaz.box 1 1 0 0 0

Note that this is the standard font_properties file that should be supplied with Tesseract and I've added the two bold rows for the blackletter fonts I'm training. You can also see which fonts are included out of the box.

We're getting near the end. Next, create the clustering data:

mftraining -F font_properties -U unicharset -O lang.unicharset *.tr 
cntraining *.tr

If you want, you can create a wordlist or a unicharambigs file. If you don't plan on doing that, the last step is to combine the various files we've created.

To do that, rename each of the language files (normproto, Microfeat, inttemp, pffmtable) to have your lang prefix, and run (mind the dot at the end):

combine_tessdata lang.

This will create all the data files you need, and you just need to move them to the correct place on your OS. On Ubuntu, I was able to move them to:

sudo mv eng.traineddata /usr/local/share/tessdata/

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