Getting the most out of the OCR in SOLIDWORKS Inspection


The Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine is the foundation that gives SOLIDWORKS Inspection (standalone) its power and makes it so easy to use. Having a high quality and clear PDF goes a long way in SOLIDWORKS Inspection. You can capture your characteristics as fast as you can drag windows around them. Let’s look at a few tools and techniques that can further improve the OCR capture success.

The first step is to set the OCR dictionary to a font that closely matches your file. This is modified by going to the File menu, Options, Project Options, OCR. There are dictionaries for both Dimensions and Notes which can be set independently. If your project uses a unique font, you may need to create a custom OCR dictionary. See this blog post by Greg Buter showing you how that’s done.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine font options

After the OCR dictionary is set, adjust the zoom and only capture the dimension value. Having the zoom too far may capture more than only the dimension. If you look at this image, the OCR is trying to interpret the captured extension line as a minus sign and does not extract the dimension or tolerance.

The fix is easy, zoom in before the capture. Without the extension lines in the OCR window, SOLIDWORKS Inspection has no problem extracting the dimension and tolerance.

This process is very straightforward for horizontal dimensions but what do we do with vertical dimensions? Here is another situation where the dimension many not be instantly recognized.

The Characteristic Manager has the tools to rotate, zoom, crop and others to assist with these extraction situations.

Along the right side we have the following tools:

Rotate the characteristic 90° clockwise.

Rotate the characteristic 90° counter-clockwise.

Zoom in on the characteristic.

Zoom out on the characteristic.


Fine Rotation: Click-and-drag the slider bar to rotate a characteristic 45 ° clockwise or counterclockwise. You can also simply click to adjust the rotation, this works well when just a degree or two of rotation is needed.



Across the bottom are the Selective Recapture Tools. They work with the selection in the Characteristic Manager window. Click and drag a box, what’s selected will then be used for one of the following options.


All: click and drag a box around the selection and perform OCR on the entire dimension.

Nominal: click and drag a box around the selection for the nominal dimension.

Tolerance: click and drag a box around the selection for the tolerance.

Crop: click and drag a box you wish to crop, just like photo editing.

Recapture: Select to start a Recapture of the currently selected Characteristic.


To correct the vertical dimension, we’d want to rotate the characteristic 90 degrees clockwise  and then use to perform OCR on the capture. The result is exactly what we need for our project.

SOLIDWORKS Inspection will automatically rotate vertical characteristics if the height of the capture is more that 150% of the width.








We know how to handle horizontal and vertical orientations, what about everywhere in between? This is where the Fine Rotation tool will make an appearance. Here is another tricky situation where the capture is at an angle and the OCR does not extract the dimension.


A few clicks of Fine Rotation are used to set the capture to horizontal. If there’s anything else in the window, leaders or extension lines, click and drag a new box around the dimension and use crop to update the capture. To perform OCR on the updated capture, click and you can see that SOLIDWORKS Inspection correctly recognizes the dimension and tolerances.




So now you have a few extra tools to help you quickly create your SOLIDWORKS Inspection projects and generate the First Article Inspection report.

Kris Dubuque
Field Services Technical Manager
Computer Aided Technology