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Use optical character recognition to read images

Supported editions for this feature: Enterprise Standard and Enterprise Plus; Education Standard and Education Plus. Compare your edition

Optical character recognition (OCR) is a technology that extracts text from images. It scans GIF, JPG, PNG, and TIFF images. If you turn it on, the extracted text is then subject to any content compliance or objectionable content rules you set up for Gmail messages.

For example, say you configured your content compliance setting so that messages with credit card numbers are moved to quarantine. A customer sends you a message with a PNG image attachment of an invoice that contains a credit card number. If you turn on OCR, Gmail converts the image attachment to text, detects the credit card number, and moves the message to quarantine. 

Note: OCR doesn’t scan images embedded in attached files, such as Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word documents. And, it's not always 100% accurate. Sometimes, it doesn’t detect content that triggers a compliance setting action. 

Turn OCR on or off

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu and then Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenGmailand thenCompliance.
  3. (Optional) On the left, select an organization.
  4. Scroll to the the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) setting, in the Compliance section.
  5. Check or uncheck the Enable OCR for email attachments box to turn OCR on or off. 

Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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