I am planning to create a chess puzzle book for beginners. Diagrams need to be published in the book. Right now I have all the materials in PDF. But I need a software to create diagrams for a particular chess position. Is there any way to scan chess diagrams from a PDF?

  • 3
    What format should the diagrams be in? Postscript or something else?
    – Scounged
    Jun 5, 2016 at 12:01
  • 2
    Please answer Scounged's comment. Your question is very unclear: you have diagrams in your PDF and you want to create diagrams ???
    – user4378
    Aug 25, 2016 at 11:11

7 Answers 7


This website has a chess ebook reader available for scanning chess diagrams from PDF: https://chessvision.ai/

Additionally they also have browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox which is really handy in scanning images of positions on any web page.

  • 1
    I really like the extension, very easy to use and so far accurate.
    – user134593
    Nov 29, 2021 at 2:33
  • ebook feature of chess vision is cool. But, their board editor is not working sometimes, probably because they are using lichess behind the scene (and lichess suspects the tool as a bot, I guess). Dec 5, 2022 at 1:42

I wrote a program that can recognize positions from books and magazines and give you the FEN. Here is the web interface for Chessputzer

You can upload the image or paste directly from the clipboard.

Note: it is designed for the the most common fonts used in print. It won't work for images from Chessbase etc. For that, use Fenbot.

My aim was to make it good enough to read blurry images from old chess books so it should be pretty tolerant of artifacts and such.


Chessfimee can perfectly serve you.

It scans and analyses chessboards with chess diagrams, puzzles. All you need is to use the camera to take a photo of a chess diagram from books, papers, even LCD screens (PDFs, other sources). Also you can share the chess position (FEN) with other chess applications.

An iOS version will be coming soon.

  • Name of the tool changed to chessify (worth mentioning) Dec 5, 2022 at 1:36

Try the following. You upload the image, it scans and generates FEN. I don't know if it will read a pdf but converting a pdf to a common graphic format is not hard.

Chess Grabber

I tried it using the diagram from this posting. It generated its determination of the diagram and this FEN:

rn1qk1nr/Pp4P1/2p2P2/4P2p/1bp5/2NbPPP1/PP2N1BP/B1BQ1RK1 w kq - 0 1

  • I tried it and it took black pawns on dark squares to be white pawns. So it is not perfect. One has to be careful. Jun 5, 2016 at 17:32
  • Chess Grabber seems to be buggy.
    – Arun J
    Jun 3, 2019 at 7:17
  • Chess Grabber doesn't work if Adobe Flash is blocked ... I think Flash is basically deprecated now. Maybe archive.org can support it? Dec 5, 2020 at 17:23

CheSScan app available on Play/App Store does what you are looking for.


Disclaimer: I am the developer of the app.


Search "Chess diagram fonts". There is a LOT of stuff out there

  • This is the right way to do it, I think. Fewer mishaps. Sep 7, 2020 at 6:20

There's also ChessOCR, which I found useless, but as we always say, your mileage may vary.


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