How to use scanner from command line in Linux

Published on 09/07/2022

Some time ago I had the need to scan a lot of single page documents. I had always used Simple Scan (Document Scanner in the last Ubuntu versions) with satisfaction, but to be quicker automatizing work as much as possible I had to use the command line.

Simple Scan is only a GUI so it cannot be used from the command line.

The command to interact with the scanner is scanimage. This command comunicates with the SANE interface and permits to control the scanner.

The scanimage man page presents a lot of options, I used only some of them.

scanimage -d epson2 --mode=Gray --resolution=150 -o /tmp/sample.jpg

  • -d name of device to use, epson2 in my case. Use scanimage -L with the scanner on to obtain the list of devices.
  • --mode scan mode.
  • --resolution resolution to use (this option is specific of the epson scanner).
  • -o output file. Looking the filename extension, the command try to understand the format to use.

Thanks to this script I have been able to speed up the tedious operations and to reduct the manual part: now I need only to put the document into the scanner and type the output file name.

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