Document scanning functionality is a critical component for a software developer building a website, content management system, or office automation system. There are several different scanning drivers in the market: TWAIN, WIA, ISIS and SANE. Naturally, you may be confused as to what is the best solution for you.
TWAIN, WIA, ISIS and SANE, are all scanning drivers that support acquiring physical images from scanners and storing the digital images on a computer. Although they are trying to achieve the same task basically, a popularity search shows that TWAIN is leading the game.
These four scanning drivers have some different scanner functionalities and compatibilities, which makes them suitable for different situations. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
TWAIN is scanning protocol that was initially used for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems, and it added Linux/Unix support since version 2.0. The first release was in 1992. It was designed as an interface between image processing software and scanners or digital cameras.
It has three key elements, the Application software, the Source Manager software, and the Data Source software. The Source Manager Interface provided by TWAIN allows your application to control data sources, such as scanners and digital cameras, and acquire images, as shown in the figure below.
Nowadays TWAIN is the most commonly used protocol. Actually, TWAIN is already the de facto standard in document scanners. In most cases, users should be able to either get a free TWAIN driver or easily find one (from the manufacturer’s website), for their scanners – Canon, HP, Epson, Kodak, Xerox, you name it.
Although nearly all scanners contain a TWAIN driver that complies with the TWAIN standard (the latest version is 2.4), the implementation of each TWAIN scanner driver may vary slightly in terms of scanner setting dialog, custom capabilities, and other features. It is good if you want to use features specific to a particular scanner model, but if you want your application’s scanning behavior to be consistent on different scanners, you need to be wary of customized code.
The TWAIN standard is now evolving to the next generation, called TWAIN direct. The TWAIN working group, that Dynamsoft is an associate of, claims that with TWAIN direct vendor specific drivers will no longer be needed. The application will be able to communicate directly with scanning devices. The best of TWAIN direct is still to come.
If you are interested in a TWAIN scanning SDK, you can take a look at the SDKs we provide:
WIA (Windows Image Acquisition), introduced by Microsoft since Window Me, is the driver platform delivered with the Windows OS, including Windows 7, Windows 8, etc. It enables applications to acquire images from all kinds of digital cameras and scanners. It sounds very similar to TWAIN, doesn’t it?
Both TWAIN and WIA can work with scanners and cameras as long as the driver is installed. Generally, if your application is going to interact with scanners most of the time, especially if old scanners need to be supported, TWAIN is recommended. For cameras, WIA offers better support. But, sometimes TWAIN based applications can communicate with WIA devices, such as scanners or cameras, via the “TWAIN compatibility layer”.
There are other differences between TWAIN and WIA. TWAIN has three transfer modes(native, memory, file) while WIA has only two (memory, file). TWAIN enables device vendors to create a customized user interface for each driver. WIA uses a simplified user interface for all devices, based on a scripting object model. If you only need basic scanning functions, WIA is enough. If you need to use more sophisticated features of a scanner, such as different options for each page when scanning in duplex mode, TWAIN should be your choice.
ISIS (Image and Scanner Interface Specification) is a proprietary scanner interface developed by Pixel Translations in 1990 (today: EMC Captiva).
Unlike TWAIN, produced by a non-profit organization, ISIS doesn’t come for free. Scanner vendors need to pay a royalty fee in order to use the ISIS driver. Although ISIS was originally targeted for a production environment (higher volumes, supporting advanced features of high-end scanners), the high cost is driving vendors away. As a result, ISIS is not popular in enterprises.
Moreover, despite ISIS’s reputation in performance, many developers also claimed that no obvious technical advantage is identified when comparing ISIS to TWAIN.
SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) is an application programming interface (API) commonly used in UNIX (including GNU/Linux). SANE is an open source project. You can download its source code (latest version 1.0.24) at http://www.sane-project.org/source.html .
Unlike TWAIN, SANE separates the user-interface (front-end) from the driver of a device (backend). The SANE driver only provides a backend interface, with the hardware and the use of a number of “options” to drive each scan. One example of an option to define the scan area is as below,
SANE scan area “options”
This separated implementation makes SANE perfectly suitable for a network scanning scenario, where you have all computers connected in a LAN and the scanners connected to only one or two computers as shared scanners. Also, without tying with a specific GUI, as TWAIN does with Win32 or the Mac API, SANE is easier to implement a command-line driven interface. On the other hand, SANE does have some GUIs, like XSane, phpSANE etc., that you can use if needed. Or, you can customize one GUI specifically for one scanner.
So now have you got an idea and made up your mind?
Below is a comparison table for these 4 drivers that summarizes what was mentioned above.
Make no mistake, using a wide-format printer can be an expensive proposition that makes producing traditional office documents seem downright economical. After all, everything is bigger, including the printer's price tag, the paper and how much ink you need.
All of this adds up to a potential budget buster. If your company is struggling with the expense associated with creating banners, posters and marketing materials (but you need a wide-format printer), there are several ways to curtail the costs. From buying ink in bulk to combining prints, there's a lot you can do without sacrificing the printed materials your company counts on.
Here are eight ways to reign in wide-printing costs.
1. Bigger is better with ink cartridges.
It might seem counterintuitive, but one of the easiest ways to save money on wide-format printing is to buy the largest ink modules you can get. That's because as the ink module's size increases, the ink's cost drops quickly. It's the same ink, it just costs less.
For instance, Canon sells three cartridge sizes for its iMagePROgraf Pro-4000 series: 160, 330 and 700 milliliters (ml). The cost of the ink declines from 61 cents per milliliter for the small (160 ml) cartridge to 52 cents per ml for the medium one (330 ml) to 42 cents per ml for the large (700 ml) cartridge. Overall, it can add up to significant savings.
Better yet, printers that don't utilize ink cartridges can save you even more. Some printers, like the LUS 150 formulation that the Mimaki JFX 2000 uses, contain ink reservoirs. When a particular color of ink is running low, you simply pour ink from a bottle into the appropriate reservoir. It can be messy, but the cost is approximately 10 cents per ml of ink. [Interested in buying a wide-format printer? Check out our best picks.]
2. Use draft mode.
The easiest way to shave wide-format printing costs is to avoid using top resolution or photo-quality settings for works in progress. Instead, print in draft mode. You'll get a print that is suitable for marking up and soliciting comments on while slashing 20 to 40 percent of your costs.
You may be able to configure the printer's default settings so that an item is automatically set to print in draft mode. Users must then manually change the printer's setting to print an item with high resolution for final prints.
3. Combine print jobs.
Wide-format printers create large printed items that other devices can't produce. But smaller items can be combined to cut costs, save time and reduce paper use.
Say, for example, that you have 10 prints to make ranging in size from 24 x 36 inches to 48 x 60 inches on your Roland Soljet EJ-640. They can be printed individually or arranged across the EJ-640's 64-inch wide bed. They're printed more quickly, and there's less waste (but the prints will need to be trimmed).
Some printer manufacturers include nesting software, like Epson's Layout Manager, that optimizes placement of individual prints on the sheet to help you make the most of your print jobs.
4. Faster printers allow for greater efficiency.
We're always in a hurry to get the print job done, but a faster printer can be a great way to further lower expenses and make the printer pay for itself, because the more you use it, the less it costs per item printed.
Take printing a dozen D-sized (24 x 36-inch) posters with HP's PageWide XL 6000 printer. It's capable of producing them in less than a minute, leaving the printer ready for its next job. This increases the printer's capacity utilization while lowering the cost per item. You might even be able to consolidate costs by eliminating slower printers in your office and instead using one fast device.
5. Two rolls are better than one.
It may seem like an inconvenience, but a wide-format printer that can switch between two or more paper rolls easily can be a money saver. This is because you don't need to waste 10 or 15 minutes taking the old roll out, inserting the new one and feeding the paper properly. With a dial-roll device, you select the right paper size in the setup menu, just like you would with a regular printer if you were printing legal-sized documents versus letter-sized items.
6. Reduce paper waste with print preview and overseeing printing.
One of the best ways to cut paper and ink costs is to train employees to use the Print Preview function before they print their project. This step eliminates a lot of mistakes and waste.
It's also a good idea to monitor your print job. The paper doesn't always feed straight into the printer or the ink isn't always laid down evenly. If you catch it early, you can start again with less waste.
Some printers, like Epson's SureColor P20000, have a sensor hidden near the print heads that monitors the print, detecting any changes in ink density variations, paper skewing and slack. If it detects a problem, it corrects it instantly so there are fewer wasted prints.
7. Cut repair bills with an extended warranty.
Wide-format printers are complicated, expensive machines, and there's nothing worse than having a broken machine sit idle. That's where an extended warranty comes in.
For instance, it costs about $2,200 to extend the original one-year warranty for Canon's imagePROGRAF iPF785for an extra year. It's money well spent, because in the event the printer requires a major repair, the costs to repair the printer coupled with the costs to your business in terms of delays, productivity, etc., are astronomic compared to $2,200.
Check to make sure the extended warranty is transferable should your company sell the printer.
8. Limit employee use and require necessary approvals.
Finally, one of the best ways to reduce printing costs is to limit its use. Curtail access to the printer to only those employees who need to print and monitor who's printing what.
HP's SmartTracker software works with all PageWide XL devices to control the printing process, including who can and cannot print on the device. It also shows who is using the printer with helpful graphs and can estimate per-page costs.
Another bonus to this approach is that you can charge back the use of this companywide resource to those departments that use it most.
“A good file name helps to identify its content and context without having to open the file itself.”
It’s true! If the file name is good enough, there will be no difficulty sorting the files. If you can name the scanned files according to your own logic, it must be super easy to find the correct one!
Speaking of the file names for scanned files, I think most people will think of the serial number, or the format of date and time! Of course, such a file name is not a problem for scanning, the problem is in the subsequent filing and classification. Since you want to scan the document into an electronic file, you definitely want to find it more convenient and efficient in the future. It is better to know the file type from the file name, so we usually modify the name of the scanned file manually!
Modify the name of the scanned file manually!!!
That is to open the file one by one to see what the content is, then rename each file one by one!!!
What!! How long does it take to do this!!
Should it be so annoying to sort the scanned files! ?
This problem can be exactly solved before the scanning process. Plustek exclusively developed the DocAction II program that has built-in a variety of file naming formats. In addition to “set barcode as filename” that has been separately introduced before, you can also use the combination of prefix and suffix for classification, so that it is not necessary to open each file after scanning to manually modify the file name. Setting the filename format is very simple, just dropdown the list and select the suitable format.
In this way, sorting files is not a problem anymore. It not only saves time and effort, but also completes the classification of the scan files. Just take a glance, you could know the type of file and find the correct file without difficulty.
Previously we had mentioned the “barcode as the filename”, and the “multi-naming formats” of the combinations by prefix, suffix, the serial number and the date & time to help you to manage the scanned document. If you are still worried that you cannot find the file you are looking for, no problem, we have another powerful trick – FTS full-text search!
A full-text search is a comprehensive search method that compares every word of the search request against every word within the document or database. In other words, no matter how small your clues are, you can find the file you are looking for, SUPER!
Plustek exclusively developed the DocAction II program that has built-in ”Add Index to Filename” file naming format. After each scan, you can select the indexes you want to add to the filename from the text. These indexes can help you to associate with the file content upon seeing the filename. It’s not only increase the connection with the file content, but also save the file through the optical character recognition, all the content texts are read out, and the full text search can be performed through the FTS Manager.
Let’s take a look at how the elf completes the file-search job through FTS full-text search!
Searching for files through FTS full-text search is really convenient. If you still vaguely remember the indexes added in the filename, you can search the file by filename. If you only remember some texts in content, you can choose to search by full text. No matter how small the clues are, FTS full-text search can help you to find the exact file!
By Joe Yankle
The drive towards digital transformation shows no signs of slowing down as organizations in all sectors recognize the competitive advantages of digitizing their manual or paper-based processes.
This new digital economy is forcing public-sector organizations to face up to how they receive, store, secure and manage their data. There’s an overwhelming need to get smarter about using all this data to deliver valuable insights, reduce costs and improve citizen relationships.
It's far from a single step from analog to digital information management, because organizations are faced with a mixture of data collection methods -- some digital and others paper-based -- and lack transparency around the nature of the data, leaving many drowning in a sea of data chaos.
This situation is compounded in the public sector where digital transformation is not moving as rapidly as in commercial sectors because of longer procurement cycles and spending constraints that often prevent agencies from adopting cutting-edge technology. This is especially frustrating because the public sector recognizes the benefits of digital workflows, but with limited budgets it remains adrift in a sea of data, unable to process, store, manage and analyse that data efficiently.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. By focusing attention on specific areas, some of which are outlined below, agencies can gradually realize the value of transitioning to a digital world.
Paper-based invoicing costs time and money for invoice preparation, printing, dispatching and postage. Digital invoice processing is one of the most advanced solutions available and can handle end-to-end processing in many cases without any human intervention.
Digitizing paper inputs in accounts payable enables the faster processing and easier control of payments, which allows agencies to take advantage of discounts and avoid penalties. They can also avoid the time-consuming and laborious practice of matching invoices with purchase orders and can reduce the time spent tracking and chasing approvals.
Filling out paperwork is widespread in the public sector, forcing public agencies to spend money on a slow and error-prone process that can be easily automated. There are significant advantages to offering citizens a digital-only forms processingalternative (eForms, for example) or by digitizing and processing data automatically. Benefits include:
Onboarding new employees, citizens or customers generates a considerable cost for most agencies. These expenses can include the manual administration and tracking of employee paperwork, manually provisioning a new contract and the rekeying of data when updating information into other systems across the agency.
The process requires far less work when it is digitized. Using the right platform, an organization can bring new customers on board quickly and smoothly, leading to increased customer satisfaction and a significant reduction in manual errors.
Government agencies must follow clearly defined processes and rules for handling and storing documents. Throughout the document lifecycle, data must meet compliance requirements and retention policies. The forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation, for example, which applies to any U.S. organization that handles citizen data from Europe, will overhaul how data is stored, secured and managed.
New regulations require process adjustments, additional validation and documentation, which makes records management a moving target and particularly hard to administer in a paper-based environment.
Through digitization, agencies can eliminate inefficiencies and time wasted on the direct and hidden costs of a paper-based system. They can also protect against disasters like fire, hurricanes and flooding, which can cause enormous damage to paper-based systems. It’s also easier to protect sensitive personal data in digital systems with passwords, data encryption and two-factor authentication.
Other advantages include eliminating time-consuming manual processes, establishing ongoing operational cost savings, improving employee productivity and, crucially, maximizing tight budgets. Some analysts estimate that government digitization, using current technology, could generate more than $1 trillion annually worldwide. The process can be challenging, but the benefits of digitization are far reaching.
Architects, engineering firms and construction companies all have large amounts of paper drawings, blueprints and other oversized documents that take up real estate and are difficult to manage and share with partners and sub-contractors. By scanning them, organizations are able to easily access and share large format documents when in the field or in the office.
Why You Should Scan Your Large Format Documents?
Once scanned, your large format images, which are often cleaner than the original, can be loaded into your project management software, other line-of-business systems or document management software. This will eliminate the time and hassle of searching through flat drawers, tubes and hanging files—especially when you need these documents in the field. Scanning also ensure these critical documents are archived while freeing up valuable real estate. Drawings are no longer lost or damaged by the wear and tear of handling and copying them, and they can be searched for by any employee from anywhere and emailed to third parties.
Focus on Your Core Business vs. Managing Your Paper.
Scanning your drawings and other oversize documents ensures that mission-critical information is both preserved and accessible by all authorized parties. When architects, engineering firms and construction companies no longer have the worry, inefficiency and expense of managing large format documents in paper form, they can focus on their core business of designing and building the world’s next great structures.
In more than one way, a paperless office indicates how savvy the business owner is. Today many businesses are choosing to do away with paper documents in favor of digital ones. It is a quickly accelerating trend due to the efficiency, security, and accessibility that come with digital document management solutions.
If you still depend on paper documents in your business, here are 10 great reasons why you should consider going paperless.
1. Be Eco-Friendly:
An estimated 2,500 trees are cut down to make 10 million pages and the average office worker in the U.S. prints about 10,000 pages every year. In the US, about 85 million tons of paper become waste every year. More than 400 million ink cartridges end up in landfills annually, as do about 100 million toner cartridges. Going paperless allows you to make an immense contribution to protecting the Earth and fulfilling your business’s green objectives. Plus, clients who take their environmental responsibilities seriously will appreciate your eco-friendly practices.
2. Save Space:
Safely storing paper documents requires several bulky file cabinets in your office. Switching to a digital solution allows you to free up valuable floor space where you can set up essential equipment, make room for more employees, or maybe set up a new foosball or ping-pong table.
3. Manage Data More Easily:
Using a digital data management solution means that going paperless is not only aesthetically appealing, but also more practical. Businesses often need to safeguard immense amounts of data, and when this data is stored in paper files, retrieval is an enormous challenge no matter how efficient the filing system is. Going digital gives you the advantage of locating and accessing data instantly. This significantly improves your operational efficiency and employee productivity, since people don’t waste time searching endlessly for each piece of data they need.
4. Secure Your Data:
Paper files may get lost, copied, folded, removed from the office or simply misplaced. When any of these situations arises, sensitive information is at risk. Go digital and you can safeguard all your data with top-notch security, allowing you to track who is accessing which files. You could even limit access to different data sets to specific employee groups, thus ensuring complete control over data flow throughout the organization.
5. Reduce Costs:
For any business to embrace a change, the change must positively impact the bottom line. Just imagine the kind of expense represented by the 10,000 pages the average worker prints every year. In addition, you have the cost of ink and toner and the cost of maintaining printers. Going paperless allows your business to cut costs on equipment like printers and copiers as well as office supplies like paper, ink, toner, paperclips, pins, folders and much more. Becoming a zero-paper office can mean big savings for your business.
6. Respond Faster:
According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report, 5 to 15% of professionals’ time is spent reading information, but a whopping 50% of their time may go into looking for it. Since accessing data is faster and more accurate when your data is stored digitally, your response time to customer queries and business needs is reduced dramatically. If you are using a data Cloud, the ability to access data from different locations cuts down the time taken for communication and data transfer. This is also valuable during disaster management. In the event that your business premises are inaccessible or unusable, perhaps due to a bad storm or a power outage, business need not come to a standstill, since all of your critical data is still available from remote locations.
8. Be Professional:
The marketplace is immensely competitive today and a business that comes across as being a completely professional and tech-savvy stands the best chance of succeeding. Your clients are not likely to be impressed if you carry around critical information in paper files that can easily be lost or stolen. Digital-data management gives your business a more professional appearance and indicates to your potential clients that you embrace business technology.
9. Swiftly Edit, Review, and Change Digital Files:
Digital files are not only easier to access and transfer but also lend themselves beautifully to edits, changeovers, and reviews. Have your clients review your digital documents immediately, make changes where necessary, and complete the communication process in a matter of minutes over the table or online. There is no need to go back to your office to get a corrected version of the document.
10. Integrate with Other Business Applications:
One of the greatest conveniences of digital data is that you can integrate it with other business applications instantly and easily. For instance, you can talk over the terms of a deal, draw up a contract, make changes requested by your client, and email the contract to him right away all in a single sitting. Or create a product for your client, integrate it into a presentation, or put it up on your website directly.
Whether you look at it from a social, environmental, financial, or practical perspective, you will find numerous benefits to going paperless with your business. You might even say that digital data paves the way for better and more efficient business overall.
Source : eFileCabinet
The world is going paperless! Previously the prerogative of large corporations and departments, digitisation has become more democratic and now applies to all organisations, regardless of size or sector. Faced with growing volumes of paper processed every day, digitisation is a solution to several problems.
Constrained by the economic situation, some organisations have reduced their budget allocated to manual processing whereas others strive to modernise them. The aim? Reducing document printing costs: consumables (toners, paper, envelopes, etc.), franking, physical storage... not forgetting related costs linked to the reproduction of documents and printer management.
Speeding up lead times
On increasingly competitive markets, companies need to show their reactivity at all levels. That is why they try to find ways to speed up internal processes while reducing information processing time. This has become a crucial factor in optimising customer relations.
Changes in regulations help to speed up the paperless process. This optimises tracking of documents and their content, secures them and also offers better protection against risks and fraud. Enhanced scanning quality also guarantees better use of documents, by also establishing their integrity.
Supporting sustainable development
Environmental responsibility is not exclusive to major groups and is now a concern for all businesses. This trend is illustrated by a stated will to reduce paper consumption and the carbon footprint.