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Linux / Unix Command: sane
Command Library


sane - Scanner Access Now Easy: API for accessing scanners


SANE is an application programming interface (API) that provides standardized access to any raster image scanner hardware. The standardized interface makes it possible to write just one driver for each scanner device instead of one driver for each scanner and application.

While SANE is primarily targeted at a UNIX environment, the standard has been carefully designed to make it possible to implement the API on virtually any hardware or operating system.

This manual page provides a summary of the information available about SANE.


An application that uses the SANE interface is called a SANE frontend. A driver that implements the SANE interface is called a SANE backend. A meta backend provides some means to manage one or more other backends.


The SANE standard defines the application programming interface (API) that is used to communicate between frontends and backends. It can be found at /usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/sane.ps (if latex is installed on your system) and on the SANE website: http://www.mostang.com/sane/html/ (HTML), or http://www.mostang.com/sane/sane.ps (Postscript). There is some more information for programmers in /usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/backend-writing.txt. Some of the internal SANE routines (sanei) are documented using doxygen: http://sanei.meier-geinitz.de/ . Before a new backend or frontend project is started, have a look at /usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/PROJECTS for projects that are planned or not yet included into the SANE distribution. Your help is always appreciated. Look at /usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/TODO for things that should be done. Not only programmers are needed, but also reading and fixing the documentation and reporting bugs would be nice. Further more, translations of the backend options are needed. Contact the SANE mailing list for details.


The package `sane-backends' contains a lot of backends, documentation (including the SANE standard), networking support, and the command line frontend `scanimage'. The frontends `xscanimage', `xcam', and `scanadf' are included in the package `sane-frontends'. Both packages can be downloaded from the SANE homepage (http://www.mostang.com/sane/). Information about other frontends and backends can be found on the frontend page (http://www.mostang.com/sane/frontends.html).


The following sections provide short descriptions and links to more information about several aspects of SANE. A name with a number in parenthesis (e.g. `sane-dll(5)') points to a manual page, in this case `man 5 sane-dll'. Entries like `/usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/sane.tex' are references to text files that were copied to the SANE documentation directory (/usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9) during installation. Everything else is an URL to a resource on the web.

SANE homepage
Information on all aspects of SANE including a tutorial and a link to the SANE FAQ can be found on the SANE homepage: http://www.mostang.com/sane/.
SANE mailing list
There is a mailing list for the purpose of discussing the SANE standard and its implementations: sane-devel. Since this is currently the only mailing list devoted to SANE, it's perfectly OK to ask questions that are not strictly related to SANE development. How to subscribe and unsubscribe: http://www.mostang.com/sane/mail.html
Compiling and installing SANE
Look at /usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/README and the os-dependent README files for information about compiling and installing SANE.
SCSI configuration
For information about various systems and SCSI controllers see sane-scsi(5). USB configuration For information about USB configuration see sane-usb(5).


Command-line frontend. See scanimage(1).
SANE network daemon that allows remote clients to access image acquisition devices available on the local host. See saned(1).
sane-find-scanner is a command-line tool to find SCSI and some USB scanners and determine their Unix device files. See sane-find-scanner(1). Also, have a look at the sane-frontends package (including xscanimage, xcam, and scanadf) and the frontend information page at


The SANE backend for Abaton flatbed scanners supports the Scan 300/GS (8bit, 256 levels of gray) and the Scan 300/S (black and white, untested). See sane-abaton(5) for details.
This backend supports AGFA Focus scanners and the Siemens S9036 (untested). See sane-agfafocus(5) for details.
The SANE backend for Apple flatbed scanners supports the following scanners: AppleScanner, OneScanner and ColorOneScanner. See sane-apple(5) for details.
The SANE Artec backend supports several Artex/Ultima SCSI flatbed scanners as well as the BlackWidow BW4800SP and the Plustek 19200S. See sane-artec(5) for details.
This is a SANE backend for using the Artec AS6E parallel port interface scanner. See sane-as6e(5) for details.
This backend supports Avision AV 630 CS flatbed scanners. See sane-avision(5) for details.
The bh backend provides access to Bell+Howell Copiscan II series document scanners. See sane-bh(5) for details.
The canon backend supports the CanoScan 300, CanoScan 600, and CanoScan 2700F SCSI flatbed scanners. See sane-canon(5) for details.
The canon630u backend supports the CanoScan 630u and 636u USB scanners. See sane-canon630u(5) for details.
The canon_pp backend supports the CanoScan FB330P, FB630P, N340P and N640P parallel port scanners. See sane-canon_pp(5) for details.
This is a SANE backend for Nikon Coolscan film-scanners. See sane-coolscan(5) for details.
The SANE epson backend provides support for Epson SCSI, parallel port and USB flatbed scanners. See sane-epson(5) for details.
The fujitsu backend provides support for Fujitsu 3091, 3093, 3096 and fi-4340 SCSI scanners. See sane-fujitsu(5) for details.
The SANE hp backend provides access to HP ScanJet scanners and OfficeJet multi-function peripherals (MFPs) which support SCL (Scanner Control Language by HP). See sane-hp(5) for details.
The SANE backend for the HP ScanJet 5S scanner. See sane-hpsj5s(5) for details.
This backend support the Across FS-1130, which is a re-badged LEO FS-1130 scanner. See sane-leo(5) for details.
This backend supports some Panasonic KVSS high speed scanners. See sane-matsushita(5) for details.
The microtek backend provides access to the "second generation" Microtek scanners with SCSI-1 command set. See sane-microtek(5) for details.
The microtek2 backend provides access to some Microtek scanners with a SCSI-2 command set. See sane-microtek2(5) for details.
The SANE mustek backend supports most Mustek SCSI flatbed scanners including the Paragon and ScanExpress series and the 600 II N (non-SCSI). Some Trust scanners are also supported. See sane-mustek(5) for details.
The mustek_pp backend provides access to Mustek parallel port flatbed scanners. See sane-mustek_pp(5) for details.
The mustek_usb backend provides access to some Mustek USB flatbed scanners. Some Mustek BearPaw scanners are supported by the plustek backend, however. See sane-mustek_usb(5) for details.
The SANE nec backend supports the NEC PC-IN500/4C SCSI scanner. See sane-nec(5) for details.
The pie backend provides access to PIE and Devcom SCSI flatbed scanners. See sane-pie(5) for details.
The SANE plustek backend supports Plustek parallel port and LM983[1/2/3] based USB flatbed scanners. See sane-plustek(5) for details.
The ricoh backend provides access to the following Ricoh flatbed scanners: IS50 and IS60. See sane-ricoh(5) for details.
The s9036 backend provides access to Siemens 9036 flatbed scanners. See sane-s9036(5) for details.
The sceptre backend provides access to the Sceptre S1200 flatbed scanner. See sane-sceptre(5) for details.
The SANE sharp backend supports Sharp SCSI scanners. See sane-sharp(5) for details.
The SANE sm3600 backend supports the Microtek ScanMaker 3600 USB scanner. See sane-sm3600(5) for details.
The snapscan backend supports AGFA SnapScan flatbed scanners. See sane-snapscan(5) for details.
This backend supports the Fujitsu FCPA ScanPartner 15C flatbed scanner. See sane-sp15c(5) for details.
The sane-st400 backend provides access to Siemens ST400 and ST800. See sane-st400(5) for details.
The SANE tamarack backend supports Tamarack Artiscan flatbed scanners. See sane-tamarack(5) for details.
teco1 teco2 teco3
The SANE teco1, teco2 and teco3 backends support some TECO scanners, usually sold under the Relisys, Trust, Primax, Piotech, Dextra names. See sane-teco1(5), sane-teco2(5) and sane-teco3(5) for details.
The sane-umax backend provides access to several UMAX-SCSI-scanners and some Linotype Hell SCSI-scanners. See sane-umax(5) for details.
The sane-umax_pp backend provides access to Umax parallel port flatbed scanners and the HP 3200C. See sane-umax_pp(5) for details.
The sane-umax1220u backend supports the UMAX Astra 1220U (USB) flatbed scanner (and also the UMAX Astra 2000U, sort of). See sane-umax1220u(5) for details.

Also, have a look at the backend information page at http://www.mostang.com/sane/sane-backends.html and the list of projects in /usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/PROJECTS.


Backend for Kodak DC210 Digital Camera. See sane-dc210(5).
Backend for Kodak DC240 Digital Camera. See sane-dc240(5).
Backend for Kodak DC20/DC25 Digital Cameras. See sane-dc25(5).
Backend for the Polaroid Digital Microscope Camera. See sane-dmc(5).
Backend for digital cameras supported by the gphoto2 library package. (See http://www.gphoto.org for more information and a list of supported cameras.) Gphoto2 supports over 140 different camera models. However, please note that more development and testing is needed before all of these cameras will be supported by SANE backend. See sane-gphoto2(5).
Backend for Connectix QuickCam cameras. See sane-qcam(5). Also, have a look at the backend information page at http://www.mostang.com/sane/sane-backends.html and the list of projects in /usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/PROJECTS.


The sane-dll library implements a SANE backend that provides access to an arbitrary number of other SANE backends by dynamic loading. See sane-dll(5).
The SANE network daemon saned provides access to scanners located on different computers in connection with the net backend. See sane-net(5) and saned(1).
PNM image reader pseudo-backend. The purpose of this backend is primarily to aid in debugging of SANE frontends. See sane-pnm(5).
Backend for scanners that use the PINT (Pint Is Not Twain) device driver. The PINT driver is being actively developed on the OpenBSD platform, and has been ported to a few other *nix-like operating systems. See sane-pint(5).
The SANE test backend is for testing frontends and the SANE installation. It provides test pictures and various test options. See sane-test(5).
The sane-v4l library implements a SANE backend that provides generic access to video cameras and similar equipment using the V4L (Video for Linux) API. See sane-v4l(5). Also, have a look at the backend information page at http://www.mostang.com/sane/sane-backends.html and the list of projects in /usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/PROJECTS.


Please note that the default configuration uses sane-dll as the top-level backend. Hence it is probably a good idea to start with reading sane-dll(5). The top-level backend is determined by the libsane.* symlinks in /usr/lib/sane. For SCSI scanners reading of sane-scsi(5) is recommended. For USB scanners, sane-usb(5) may help. If you encounter any problems with getting your device(s) recognized, try setting the various environment variables that are available to assist in debugging such problems. The environment variables are documented in the relevant manual pages. For example, to get the maximum amount of debug information when testing a Mustek SCSI scanner, set environment variables SANE_DEBUG_DLL, SANE_DEBUG_MUSTEK, and SANE_DEBUG_SANEI_SCSI to 128 and then invoke scanimage or whatever program you're trying to debug. For a Mustek scanner at /dev/scanner, you might want to invoke scanimage as follows:
scanimage -d mustek:/dev/scanner -h
If this works, you could try to acquire an image with:
scanimage -d mustek:/dev/scanner >t.pnm

To check that the SANE libraries are installed correctly you can use the test backend, even if you don't have a scanner or other SANE device:

scanimage -d test -T
You should get a list of PASSed tests.

If you are not sure what generic SCSI or USB device your scanner is connected to, try the command sane-find-scanner. Usually, It's sufficient to invoke the program without any arguments. Invoking this command should produce output similar to this:

$ sane-find-scanner
sane-find-scanner: found "MUSTEK MFC-06000CZ 1.01" at device /dev/scanner
sane-find-scanner: found "MUSTEK MFC-06000CZ 1.01" at device /dev/sge

Note that sane-find-scanner will find any scanner that is connected to a SCSI bus and also some USB scanners. It will even find scanners that are not supported at all by SANE.

There may be several causes for the following messages from the frontends: "scanimage: no SANE devices found" or "xscanimage: no devices available.".

Your scanner is not recognized by any backend. It is not supported. You may ask the maintainer of your backend (see /usr/share/doc/sane-backends-1.0.9/AUTHORS) or the SANE mailing list (see above) if support is planned.
SANE can't access the device files (e.g /dev/sg0). Check the permissions.
Your backend is not listed in /etc/sane.d/dll.conf (or commented out).
There are older installations of SANE on your system. If you installed the SANE libraries in /usr/local/lib (default) you should check if there are older SANE libraries at /usr/lib. Remove them (rm -r /usr/lib/libsane* /usr/lib/sane).
If you can use SANE with scanimage but not with other (graphical) frontends, check that /etc/ld.so.conf contains /usr/local/lib and does not contain /usr/local/lib/sane. See also the documentation of the frontends.

Important: Use the man command (% man) to see how a command is used on your particular computer.

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