5 Scanning Tools for Linux Desktop

From what I have gathered in forums, working with scanners on Linux desktops isn’t a pleasant experience. But things don’t have to be that way because there are actually efficient scanner utility options that you can set up on your machine with ease.

It is for this reason that we bring you our list of the 5 Scanning Tools for the Linux desktop. They are all free and open source so have a field day.

1. XSane

XSane is an application that allows you to control scanners using the SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) library. It is the most feature-rich scanner utility in this list so you might as well just end your search here.

It can even work with scanners that were designed for Mac and Windows systems thanks to the fact that it has no support for scanners on its own – but works with any scanner supported by the SANE library. You can use it to scan files, make photocopies, create a fax, and use it as a GIMP plugin.

2. Skanlite

Skanlite is a lightweight scanner utility brought to use with love from the KDE community.

Its features include saving images in JPG, PNG, PPM, XPM, XBM, and BMP, autosave, presetting scan quality, document save location, and the ability to save parts of scanned documents as separate files.

3. Gscan2pdf

Gscan2pdf is a GUI app that lets you scan documents and save them as PDF and DjVu files.

It is compatible with virtually all Linux distros and offers several editing features like extracted embedded images in PDFs, rotate, sharpens images, select pages to scan, select side to scan, resolution colour mode etc.

Gscan2pdf also features OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and many features that accessible from the terminal if you want more functionality.

4. Simple Scan

Simple Scan is a lightweight Scanner utility with a handful of editing features. It allows you to scan documents at the click of a button, rotate and/or crop your scan, and save it as JPG, PNG, or PDF.

By default, it uses 300dpi for photos and 150dpi for text – settings you can edit in its preferences menu.

Simple Scan is the default scanner app on many Linux distros including the GNOME desktop so you should check it out.

5. GIMP with Quitelnsane

You read that right, GIMP is capable of working with your scanning device, all you need to do is install Quitelnsane.

Quitelnsane is a GUI for SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) and you can use it with GIMP to scan documents and easily edit them before saving them in your preferred format.

There are alternatives like VueScan and TurboPrint Control but they are neither free nor open source. Are there scanner tools worthy of this list that we have left out? Feel free to pen your thoughts in the comments section below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

Each tutorial at GeeksMint is created by a team of experienced writers so that it meets our high-quality writing standards.

5 thoughts on “5 Scanning Tools for Linux Desktop”

  1. Why are you even listing TurboPrint as a *scanner* utility? It’s a PRINTER utility, and their page says nothing about operating a scanner.

  2. Unfortnately all of the solutions here use SANE, and SANE is INSANE because it has not kept up with the new breeds of eSCL/AirScan and WSD scanners. They still rely on proprietary or in some cases buggy open source. HPLIP is buggy and unreliable, but most newer HP scanners support eSCLAirscan. I think it is time we have a new scanning solution on Linux for the more modern scanners. SANE was great while it lasted but I think it is nearing end of life. Driverless scanning has arrived and has been in Windows since Windows 7 as well as OSX and iOS for a while . Linux is supposed to be the cutting edge but in scanning it is again falling behind, and it is not the first time.

  3. my favourite is GScan2PDF. It is not only a Scanning Tool. I was searching a long time for a good Document Management System, but with GScan2PDF I found a very powerfull alternative. One reason is the OCR in embedded PDFs. The other reason is, you can switch from one-side-Scan to two-side-Scan with only one mouseclick. With GScan2PDF I can scan all my Documents in seconds, save the separate Documents in a structured filesystem, and can search and find them with another tool called DocFetcher. These two tools (GScan2PDF and DocFetcher) are the best solution in private Document Management.

  4. I decided to take a look (do a search) on one of the non-free applications mentioned here–VueScan. It was a stunning experience.
    Almost universally, the users’ comments in the review articles were highly negative and extremely critical; I have never read reviews like these.

    I strongly suggest that your readers spend some time reading the reviews of VueScan before spending money on it–a frequent sentiment contained in the reviews–and then make their own decision.
    There are some positive reviews of the product.

    Personally, I think XSane is an outstanding choice.

    Thank you for a very good informative, well-written, and enlightening article, as usual. Good work!

  5. Quitelnsane was last updated 4 years ago. A lot has happened in that time and Gimp also changed so I’m not sure if that would even work. I didn’t find Quitelnsane in AUR so probaly this package is long dead.


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