No other OCR tool for Mac is as simple, easy, or affordable as Elucidate.

Just drag and drop a scanned PDF over Elucidate, and a fully-searchable one is created in its place through the power of optical character recognition (OCR). Using your PDF editor of choice, you can highlight text, define words, use built-in text-to-speech functionality, and make comments.

Over 90 different languages are now supported, and the app is faster than ever. Elucidate will even separate pages from face-down book scans and output raw text files (enable in Preferences).

*Please note that Elucidate, like other OCR tools, is designed for high quality black-and-white scans of text. It will not work with color photos taken on a phone.

What’s New

Version 2.4

Fixed an issue where the split pages function didn't work correctly for PDFs that were rotated 180 or 270 degrees.

Ratings and Reviews

3.5 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Marja E ,

Good Ocr

I've found Elucidate very useful. It's a front-end for the Tesseract engine.

It can handle most pdfs, but fails with some poorly-scanned pdfs. It outputs a new pdf file, with a new text layer, so it's relatvely easy to check the text against the pdf. Unfortunately, it processes the output through Quartz, so it isn't entirely compatible with some other pdf tools.

Dylan G ,

Amazing App, a PDF and OCR workhorse!

As part of my academic work, I scan and collect tons of PDFs of various articles and books. If these PDFs are searchable in MacOS Preview, it facilitates my research process, allowing me to query, cite, and quote documents quickly. Unfortunately, many of the documents that I collect, especially those from JSTOR or ones that I scan myself, lack automatic text searchability in Preview. I run into this problem about ten times a day.

ELUCIDATE SOLVED MY PROBLEM. I now use Elucidate to convert these unsearchable PDFs into searchable ones. The operation is as simple as drag and drop. The advanced features in preferences are killer too! I am especially fond of the addition of various language dictionaries (I use German and English at the same time). The file overwrite-after-convert option is great as well.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to the developer, who has been so responsive to all of my questions about the application’s functionality. I look forward to working with this application for years to come, as it is now an integral part of my daily workflow. I would pay ten times the asking price for this app.

10/10 would purchase again!

Developer Response ,

Thanks Dylan! I developed Elucidate while I was in college because I had a similar issue: it was tough to find particular parts of academic reading that I wanted to reference. Glad you find it useful, and thanks for the kind review.

321go ,

Fantastic Lightweight (and cheap) OCR app

I have been looking for a cheap solution for OCR for a while, particularly one that did not include uploading to a website. I’ve beenreally pleased with this solution and hope that it continues to improve.

Feature Request: It would be great to see separate status bars for each PDF that I am OCR’ing. Currently, when I drop additional documents into the app, at least when one is already OCR’ing, I can only see the one status bar. It seems to have a little bit of trouble with OCR’ing multiple documents at the same time, but for the price, I can’t justify knocking off a star.


Harry Shamansky
20.9 MB

OS X 10.10 or later, 64-bit processor



Age Rating
Rated 4+
©2017 Harry Shamansky


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    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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