5 Scanning Tools for Linux Desktop

Linux Document Scanners
Written by Martins Okoi

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.

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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.

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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.


About the author

Martins Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a Cybersecurity graduate student with an enthusiasm for open-source software. With over 700 articles under his belt, he continues to recommend the best software that the app market has to offer while tackling several discussion topics.