scanimage(1) SANE Scanner Access Now Easy scanimage(1)NAMEscanimage - scan an image
SYNOPSISscanimage [-d|--device-name dev] [--format format] [-i|--icc-profile
profile] [-L|--list-devices] [-f|--formatted-device-list format]
[--batch [=format]] [--batch-start start] [--batch-count count]
[--batch-increment increment] [--batch-double] [--accept-md5-only]
[-p|--progress] [-n|--dont-scan] [-T|--test] [-h|--help] [-v|--verbose]
[-B|--buffersize] [-V|--version] [device-specific-options]
DESCRIPTIONscanimage is a command-line interface to control image acquisition
devices such as flatbed scanners or cameras. The device is controlled
via command-line options. After command-line processing, scanimage
normally proceeds to acquire an image. The image data is written to
standard output in one of the PNM (portable aNyMaP) formats (PBM for
black-and-white images, PGM for grayscale images, and PPM for color
images) or in TIFF (black-and-white, grayscale or color). scanimage
accesses image acquisition devices through the SANE (Scanner Access Now
Easy) interface and can thus support any device for which there exists
a SANE backend (try apropos sane- to get a list of available backends).
To get a list of devices:
To scan with default settings to the file image.pnm:
To print all available options:
The -d or --device-name options must be followed by a SANE device-name
like `epson:/dev/sg0' or `hp:/dev/usbscanner0'. A (partial) list of
available devices can be obtained with the --list-devices option (see
below). If no device-name is specified explicitly, scanimage reads a
device-name from the environment variable SANE_DEFAULT_DEVICE. If this
variable is not set, scanimage will attempt to open the first available
The --format format option selects how image data is written to stan‐
dard output. format can be pnm or tiff. If --format is not used, PNM
The -i or --icc-profile option is used to include an ICC profile into a
The -L or --list-devices option requests a (partial) list of devices
that are available. The list is not complete since some devices may be
available, but are not listed in any of the configuration files (which
are typically stored in directory /system/resources/sane-back‐
ends/1.0.18/etc/sane.d). This is particularly the case when accessing
scanners through the network. If a device is not listed in a configu‐
ration file, the only way to access it is by its full device name. You
may need to consult your system administrator to find out the names of
The -f or --formatted-device-list option works similar to --list-
devices, but requires a format string. scanimage replaces the place‐
holders %d %v %m %t %i with the device name, vendor name, model name,
scanner type and an index number respectively. The command
scanimage-f “ scanner number %i device %d is a %t, model %m,
produced by %v ”
will produce something like:
scanner number 0 device sharp:/dev/sg1 is a flatbed scanner,
model JX250 SCSI, produced by SHARP
The --batch* options provide the features for scanning documents using
document feeders. --batch [format] is used to specify the format of
the filename that each page will be written to. Each page is written
out to a single file. If format is not specified, the default of
out%d.pnm (or out%d.tif for --format tiff) will be used. format is
given as a printf style string with one integer parameter. --batch-
start start selects the page number to start naming files with. If this
option is not given, the counter will start at 0. --batch-count count
specifies the number of pages to attempt to scan. If not given, scan‐
image will continue scanning until the scanner returns a state other
than OK. Not all scanners with document feeders signal when the ADF is
empty, use this command to work around them. With --batch-increment
increment you can change the amount that the number in the filename is
incremented by. Generally this is used when you are scanning double-
sided documents on a single-sided document feeder. A specific command
is provided to aid this: --batch-double will automatically set the
increment to 2. --batch-prompt will ask for pressing RETURN before
scanning a page. This can be used for scanning multiple pages without
an automatic document feeder.
The --accept-md5-only option only accepts user authorization requests
that support MD5 security. The SANE network daemon (saned) is capable
of doing such requests. See saned(8).
The -p or --progress option requests that scanimage prints a progress
counter. It shows how much image data of the current image has already
been received by scanimage (in percent).
The -n or --dont-scan option requests that scanimage only sets the
options provided by the user but doesn't actually perform a scan. This
option can be used to e.g. turn off the scanner's lamp (if supported by
The -T or --test option requests that scanimage performs a few simple
sanity tests to make sure the backend works as defined by the SANE API
(in particular the sane_read function is exercised by this test).
The -h or --help options request help information. The information is
printed on standard output and in this case, no attempt will be made to
acquire an image.
The -v or --verbose options increase the verbosity of the operation of
scanimage. The option may be specified repeatedly, each time increas‐
ing the verbosity level.
The -B or --buffersize option changes the input buffersize that scanim‐
age uses from default 32*1024 to 1024*1024 kbytes.
The -V or --version option requests that scanimage prints the program
and package name, the version number of the SANE distribution that it
came with and the version of the backend that it loads. Usually that's
the dll backend. If more information about the version numbers of the
backends are necessary, the DEBUG variable for the dll backend can be
used. Example: SANE_DEBUG_DLL=3 scanimage-L.
As you might imagine, much of the power of scanimage comes from the
fact that it can control any SANE backend. Thus, the exact set of com‐
mand-line options depends on the capabilities of the selected device.
To see the options for a device named dev, invoke scanimage via a com‐
mand-line of the form:
scanimage--help --device-name dev
The documentation for the device-specific options printed by --help is
best explained with a few examples:
--brightness -100..100% 
Controls the brightness of the acquired image.
The description above shows that option --brightness expects an
option value in the range from -100 to 100 percent. The value
in square brackets indicates that the current option value is 0
Set default values for enhancement controls.
The description above shows that option --default-enhancements
has no option value. It should be thought of as having an imme‐
diate effect at the point of the command-line at which it
appears. For example, since this option resets the --brightness
option, the option-pair --brightness 50 --default-enhancements
would effectively be a no-op.
--mode Lineart|Gray|Color [Gray]
Selects the scan mode (e.g., lineart or color).
The description above shows that option --mode accepts an argu‐
ment that must be one of the strings Lineart, Gray, or Color.
The value in the square bracket indicates that the option is
currently set to Gray. For convenience, it is legal to abbrevi‐
ate the string values as long as they remain unique. Also, the
case of the spelling doesn't matter. For example, option set‐
ting --mode col is identical to --mode Color.
Determines whether a builtin or a custom gamma-table
should be used.
The description above shows that option --custom-gamma expects
either no option value, a "yes" string, or a "no" string. Spec‐
ifying the option with no value is equivalent to specifying
"yes". The value in square-brackets indicates that the option
is not currently active. That is, attempting to set the option
would result in an error message. The set of available options
typically depends on the settings of other options. For exam‐
ple, the --custom-gamma table might be active only when a
grayscale or color scan-mode has been requested.
Note that the --help option is processed only after all other
options have been processed. This makes it possible to see the
option settings for a particular mode by specifying the appro‐
priate mode-options along with the --help option. For example,
scanimage--help --mode color
would print the option settings that are in effect when the
color-mode is selected.
Gamma-correction table. In color mode this option
equally affects the red, green, and blue channels
simultaneously (i.e., it is an intensity gamma table).
The description above shows that option --gamma-table expects
zero or more values in the range 0 to 255. For example, a legal
value for this option would be "3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12". Since
it's cumbersome to specify long vectors in this form, the same
can be expressed by the abbreviated form "3-12". What
this means is that the first vector element is set to 3, the
9-th element is set to 12 and the values in between are interpo‐
lated linearly. Of course, it is possible to specify multiple
such linear segments. For example, "3-3-7,10-6"
is equivalent to "3,3,3,4,5,6,7,10,8,6". The program
gamma4scanimage can be used to generate such gamma tables (see
gamma4scanimage(1) for details).
--filename <string> [/tmp/input.ppm]
The filename of the image to be loaded.
The description above is an example of an option that takes an
arbitrary string value (which happens to be a filename). Again,
the value in brackets show that the option is current set to the
The default device-name.
This directory holds various configuration files. For details,
please refer to the manual pages listed below.
This file contains lines of the form
scanimage uses this information to answer user authorization
requests automatically. The file must have 0600 permissions or
stricter. You should use this file in conjunction with the
--accept-md5-only option to avoid server-side attacks. The
resource may contain any character but is limited to 127 charac‐
SEE ALSOsane(7), gamma4scanimage(1), xscanimage(1), xcam(1), xsane(1),
scanadf(1), sane-dll(5), sane-net(5), sane-"backendname"(5)
David Mosberger, Andreas Beck, Gordon Matzigkeit, Caskey Dickson, and
many others. For questions and comments contact the sane-devel mail‐
inglist (see http://www.sane-project.org/mailing-lists.html).
For vector options, the help output currently has no indication as to
how many elements a vector-value should have.
sane-backends 1.0.18 23 Sep 2005 scanimage(1)