scanimage(1) SANE Scanner Access Now Easy scanimage(1)
scanimage - scan an image
scanimage [-d|--device-name dev] [--format format] [-i|--icc-profile
profile] [-L|--list-devices] [-f|--formatted-device-list format]
[-b|--batch [=format]] [--batch-start start] [--batch-count count]
[--batch-increment increment] [--batch-double] [--accept-md5-only]
[-p|--progress] [-o|--output-file] [-n|--dont-scan] [-T|--test]
[-A|--all-options] [-h|--help] [-v|--verbose] [-B|--buffer-size
[=size]] [-V|--version] [device-specific-options]
scanimage is a command-line interface to control image acquisition de-
vices 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 im-
ages), TIFF format (black-and-white, grayscale or color), PNG format,
or JPEG format (compression level 75). scanimage accesses image acqui-
sition 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 scan 100x100 mm to the file image.tiff (-x and -y may not be avail-
able with all devices):
scanimage -x 100 -y 100 --format=tiff >image.tiff
To print all available options:
Parameters are separated by a blank from single-character options (e.g.
-d epson) and by a "=" from multi-character options (e.g. --de-
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 or the file specified by the --output-file option. format
can be pnm, tiff, png, or jpeg. If --format is not specified, PNM is
written by default.
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 /usr/local/etc/sane.d). This is par-
ticularly the case when accessing scanners through the network. If a
device is not listed in a configuration file, the only way to access it
is by its full device name. You may need to consult your system admin-
istrator to find out the names of such devices.
The -f or --formatted-device-list option works similar to --list-de-
vices, but requires a format string. scanimage replaces the placehold-
ers %d %v %m %t %i %n with the device name, vendor name, model name,
scanner type, an index number and newline 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, out%d.png for --format png
or out%d.jpg for --format jpeg) will be used. This option is incompat-
ible with the --output-path option. 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 1. --batch-count count specifies the number
of pages to attempt to scan. If not given, scanimage 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 docu-
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 -o or --output-file option requests that scanimage saves the scan-
ning output to the given path. This option is incompatible with the
--batch option. The program will try to guess --format from the file
name. If that is not possible, it will print an error message and exit.
The -n or --dont-scan option requests that scanimage only sets the op-
tions 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 -A or --all-options option requests that scanimage lists all avail-
able options exposed the backend, including button options. The infor-
mation is printed on standard output and no scan will be done.
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 option without argument changes the input buffer size from the
default 32KB to 1MB. For finer grained control, use --buffer-size=
followed by the number of KB.
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:
-l 0..218mm 
Top-left x position of scan area.
The description above shows that option -l expects an option
value in the range from 0 to 218 mm. The value in square brack-
ets indicates that the current option value is 0 mm. Most back-
ends provide similar geometry options for top-left y position
(-t), width (-x) and height of scan-area (-y).
--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 ap-
pears. 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
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 re-
quests automatically. The file must have 0600 permissions or
stricter. You should use this file in conjunction with the --ac-
cept-md5-only option to avoid server-side attacks. The resource
may contain any character but is limited to 127 characters.
sane(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.
10 Jul 2008 scanimage(1)
Man(1) output converted with