Quick Start Guide for FineReader Engine 12 for Windows

Installation process

1. Run product installation


2. Read and accept the End-User License Agreement. Confirm that you have a valid license and wish to install the software.


This step is necessary even if you have a separate License Agreement with ABBYY (in such a case, this separate License Agreement overrules the End-User License Agreement).

3. Select the program features you want to install.

You have a choice to install files for integrating the SDK into 32-bit and/or 64-bit applications.


4. Enter Your Installation Folder


5. For usage of the Trial License: Ignore the request to connecting to Network License Server

Trial Licenses are typically provided as Stand-alone licenses. When installing a Stand-alone license, please do not enter any License Server details (which are only needed if you would need to install a Network license). Therefore leave the check box empty, and click on Next.


6. Enter your Customer Project ID

If you are installing a Trial License, you can use either the Software or Online license keys for your Stand-alone license.

  • For the Software license key, please, enter your Customer Project ID only:


  • For the Online license key, please enter your Customer Project ID, click on "I have an activation-token file for Online license", enter the full path to Online license Activation Token and the License Password:


7. Finish the installation process

Click on Finish to complete installation. If you use a Software license key, your next step will be product activation. (If you use an Online license key, you do not need to activate the product.)


Activation step

You might be using either the Software License Key (requires activation) or the Online License Key (no activation necessary).

A) Software license key

Activation of the Software license key is carried out with the help of an Activation Wizard. This wizard is built into the License Manager utility.


Activation information is sent as a code (Installation ID). This code is based on the information about the computer hardware on which the program is being installed.

No personal information related to the user or to the computer is used or transmitted and this code cannot be used to identify the user. 

There are several options for activation:


We recommend to choose the option ‘Via the Internet’. In this case, an activation is carried out automatically and the process takes only a few seconds.

In case you choose one of the options ‘By e-mail’ or ‘By e-mail from another computer’ (if your computer doesn’t have an Internet connection), you need to enter the path to the Activation File received from ABBYY in the corresponding field of the Activation Wizard.


Once the activation is completed, the program can be used.

B) Online license key

This licensing mechanism ensures uninterrupted operation of ABBYY FineReader Engine 12 in the cloud and usage within virtual environments, including Docker containers, and can be as well used for on-premises installation.

This Online license key does not require activation. Please note that a permanent internet connection* is necessary for the Licensing Service to connect to ABBYY's servers.

* short interruptions possible

Parameters of the Online license key can be reviewed in the License Manager.

Important: Verify that you allow connections to *.abbyy.com on port 443


How to use the Online license key:

  1. Place an activation token file into a folder of your choice. Usually it is a folder where FREngine.dll resides.
  2. Call the 'InitializeEngine' function with the following parameters:
    • Customer Project ID
    • Full path to Online license Activation Token
    • Password to your license
    • [Optional, may be an empty string] Path to the folder, in which ABBYY FineReader Engine should store user-specific data. By default, it is the FineReader Engine data folder (%ProgramData%\ABBYY\SDK\12\FineReader Engine for automatic installation
    • [Optional, may be an empty string] Path to the folder for ABBYY FineReader Engine temporary files. By default, it is %TEMP%\ABBYY FineReader Engine 12 folder
    • [Optional] A Boolean value that specifies whether the CPU cores should be used in shared mode;
    • Output variable for Engine object.

The configuration file will look like this (all data will be inserted automatically during the installation step):



Sample code in C#:


Application Development

ABBYY FineReader Engine distribution pack contains a set of sample source codes showing how to use Engine in different scenarios. These sample codes help you to get quickly started. They are are free to use.

The following section contains a short description of these samples. A detailed description of the samples can be found in the Code Samples Library provided with this distribution pack (Start > Programs > ABBYY FineReader Engine 12 > Code Samples Library).


For a quick start, we recommend you to test two samples:

1) Hello Sample

The 'Convert a document' sample (Hello sample) shows all steps you need to perform to make your ABBYY FineReader Engine work for your application. This sample application recognizes and exports an image file using the basic objects and methods of ABBYY FineReader Engine. It is a good example of a basic code to start development of your application. 


This video shows how to run ABBYY FineReader Engine sample.

2) Predefined Processing Profiles Sample

The 'Predefined Processing Profile's sample shows how you can easily configure the ABBYY FineReader Engine using the predefined processing profiles. You simply select the profile suitable for your task (scenario) and ABBYY FineReader Engine will automatically select settings optimized for the selected scenario.

The sample application processes provided document images using two different predefined processing profiles. This way you can compare results and see the impact of the settings on the recognition process.


The following video shows usage of the processing profiles in ABBYY FineReader Engine. It is valid for FineReader 12 as well as for FineReader 11.

NOTE: Most of the samples show the basic method to load the Engine object: Loading FREngine.dll manually using the “naked” interface.

There are two more ways to load the Engine object in ABBYY FineReader Engine. Each of the loading methods has its own specifics, affecting the use of the object under different circumstances.

You can find more details about ways to load the Engine Object as well as code samples in the Help File: Start > Programs > ABBYY FineReader Engine 12 > Developer’s Help > Guided Tour: Advanced Techniques > Programming Aspects: Different Ways to Load the Engine.

Basic Usage Scenarios for the SDK

Before you start with your application development, please read the Basic Usage Scenarios Implementation chapter in the Help File: Start > Programs > ABBYY FineReader Engine 12 > Developer’s Help > Guided Tour. It describes the most common usage scenarios for ABBYY FineReader Engine. Each article contains a detailed description of the scenario, implementation advice, and suggestions on optimizing the code for specific tasks.


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