ExactScan Might Be the ScanSnap Replacement You Need

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2020/05/06/exactscan-might-be-the-scansnap-replacement-you-need/

The loss of the 32-bit ScanSnap Manager software has prevented users of Fujitsu’s older ScanSnap scanners from upgrading to macOS 10.15 Catalina. But ExactSCAN, third-party software that supports many ScanSnap devices, might provide a solution to this problem. Dave Kitabjian takes you through the pros and cons of this promising alternative.

I have a ScanSnap s1300i—I’m not sure how old it is, but I think about 7 years—and the Fuji site says that I can use it with Catalina by using the ScanSnap Home software. I’m still running Mojave—I’m waiting to upgrade until Apple releases a new OS that actually confers benefits that outweigh the drawbacks—but I expect I’ll try that out when the time comes. I’m not sure how old a ScanSnap has to be before software that’s compatible with Catalina is actually unavailable.

Epson recently come out with Epson Scan 2 which is in 64-bit code, unlike the original Epson Scan. I find it somewhat awkward, but it suffices for my needs with my Epson Perfection V330 scanner.

I also have a SnapScan S1300i. Prior to the Catalina upgrade I was able to initiate scans from within PDF Pen Pro 10. It would automatically use the ScanSnap Manager software to complete the scan, which would show up in PDF Pen with no other intervention on my part.
After the upgrade I can no longer initiate scans within PDF Pen. I can scan using the new ScanSnap Home software. It works, but I miss the convenience of scanning directly into PDF Pen. Now I am wondering if ExactScan will bring back that capability?
Note, I called Fujitsu. The support people told me the function didn’t work because the S1300i doesn’t have a TWAIN (whatever that means). I am not sure how that is relevant since the function worked when I was running Mojave.

Hey John, thanks for chiming in!

Since you have the S1300i, your model works with the new 64-bit ScanSnap Home software and therefore works under Catalina. You should not have to purchase any additional software like ExactScan unless, of course, the latter offers features you don’t get with Fujitsu’s OEM software.

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Interesting. Does Epson Scan 2 support most of their scanners in the field, or did they, like Fujitsu, abandon a ton of their customer by not making their new s/w compatible with their old h/w?

Very interesting! I don’t have PDF Pen, or I’d try it out for you. But as I mentioned in the article, ExactScan Pro did offer to install a TWAIN Bridge. I wonder if that implies that it would accomplish what you want?

Note, I called Fujitsu. The support people told me the function didn’t work because the S1300i doesn’t have a TWAIN (whatever that means). I am not sure how that is relevant since the function worked when I was running Mojave.

Great point. Maybe what they meant is that ScanSnap Home software doesn’t have a TWAIN driver? If so, that’s sad to hear that there’s yet another feature omission vs. the old ScanSnap Manager.

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I don’t know - I only have the Epson scanner, not any others. Oddly, I notice that the Printers/Scanners preferences in Mojave does not recognize my Epson scanner, but offers to install scanner software for my Brother HL-2140 printer (which does not have scanning feature.)

I use ExactScan with my ScanSnap S1500M on an iMac running Catalina and it works flawlessly. Additionally, the user interface is much easier to understand than the old Fujitsu software. I highly recommend it.

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Thanks for that specific info. I have the same model and will check it out

TWAIN has long been deprecated on the Mac in favour of the ICA (Image Capture Application) architecture, which is much more sophisticated and integrates more deeply into the OS. All modern applications which support scanning will support ICC but few will still work with TWAIN, even if you can find a driver.

I believe that TWAIN drivers can be made compatible by a developer implementing a bridge to ICA so that any application supporting ICA may be able to use a scanner that has a TWAIN driver.

TWAIN and ICA are two completely different beasts, event at a conceptual level.

ICA is a proper device driver system to allow a common API to be used for accessing a wide variety of scanners.

TWAIN, on the other hand, really is not. It’s a software interface, not a device driver interface. I think this is best explained through an example.

I routinely use Photoshop Elements. It supports TWAIN and one of my installed scanner applications (EpsonScan) includes a TWAIN driver. When I choose to scan from Photoshop Elements, the TWAIN import mechanism reports the TWAIN-compatible applications (e.g. EpsonScan). When I select one, the associated application is launched. I perform the scan using that app.

The only difference between the TWAIN interface and launching the app directly is that when I launch the app directly, scans are saved to files, but when I launch the app via TWAIN, scans are sent to the calling application (Photoshop Elements) and no files are created.

At this point, it should be obvious why a scanner that only has a TWAIN driver really can’t be converted to ICA - because the Image Capture application (or some other app using the Image Capture APIs) is expecting to directly control the scanner, not launch a third party scanner application.

The other direction (use an ICA-only scanner with an application that requires TWAIN) should be possible, at least in theory. It should be possible to write a TWAIN appliction/plugin that uses the Image Capture APIs to access scanner hardware. I have no idea if anybody has actually implemented such an application.

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Hi, and thank you for the article! As founderof ExactCODE –the company behind ExactScan– I can assure you I took all your feedback seriously. The auto-crop & de-skew usually works perfectly with most of the other 500+ built-in drivers for other scanners, including the other ScanSnap and Fujitsu fi-series scanners. The only reason this occasionally is not perfect for some S1300 users yet, is due to their entry level scanners nature, which needs very low-level driver control to actually work and scan at all. With more new users with this scanners, we found that the differences in image sensor output are quite large, and thus requires our low-level color calibration code to be further refined for these scanners to deliver image data more suitable for our auto-crop & de-skew algorithm. For all except really high-end scanners this is always done in software on the computer side. The coming ExactScan updates will improve this so that auto-crop & de-skew will become as perfect as it is for the many other scanners supported.

The reason I considered the JPEG print issue you raised an edge case is that most users scan PDF, the default is PDF, and one actively need to change the configuration to a combination that does not print by default on current macOS versions. If I would have endless time and resources I would write some code for that, but honestly we have some 100+ more interesting and important features request and wish list items to implement. So yeah, the “print JPEG” is somewhere at hundred-x on this list, … I hope you enjoy using ExactScan and you can be ensured that we keep improving it based on all the customer feedback and interesting scanners out there!

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Hello again René!

Thanks for your feedback! Our readers will appreciate it!

From the article:

I raised this issue with ExactCODE’s support team, suggesting that, if they can’t make printing a JPEG work, then they should at least use an interface validation that prevents the user from selecting the JPEG+Print combination. They dismissed it as an edge case.

I can understand a lack of endless time and resources.

I have more trouble understanding the dismissal of the suggestion. If it doesn’t work, don’t make it look like it should work. Would that take endless time and resources?

This are multiple combinations of options, and the only thing is macOS not directly printing JPEGs anymore, which IIRC probably worked with some previous version of macOS when we implemented it. Printing scanned documents like a copy machine is a feature very few people actually use anyway, and Dave’s email was the first support inquiry about this anyway. Everyone has to prioritize support inquires, and do you do a rare exotic combination, or features multiple users are asking for? The easiest certainly would be to simply gray out printing for non PDF file formats for now, but I guess then we get support inquires why users can enable printing, :wink:

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Thanks Will and René for your thoughts.

What’s striking me now is that the workflow in question is to go straight from scanner to printer, in which case file format is irrelevant. One wonders if selecting “Print with…” shouldn’t always send a format like PDF or TIFF to the printer?

The gotcha appears to be if you request to also have a copy saved to a file, in which case respecting your choice of jpeg would present the current problem again.

Well, I expect most of few users who use the printing option to actually keep the file created. IMHO it is also not the right UX design that enabling one option changes some other option somewhere else. I will likely add disabling and graying out the print option for non PDF file formats today.

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My understanding is that many users do not enjoy the new Fujitsu software. It is also huge, the old was installing some 500 MB, IIRC the new even more, while ExactScan Pro is only a 20 MB download and even has some more option many of our users appreciate a lot :wink:

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Just purchased a pro license based on this discussion. I had looked at ExactScan last year, but for reasons unknown, was unable to get it to recognize my Fujitsu s1500m scanner. Saw this discussion today, and was motivated to revisit this, and try to see if I could get it to work.

After removing all the old Fujitsu ScanSnap software, I installed ExactScan Pro, and voila, it worked. I wish ExactScan Pro was a little less expensive, but to be fair it’s saving me from having to purchase a new scanner when I have a perfectly functional scanner already. Works exactly as expected, will hopefully buy me a few more years of use with my aging Fujitsu. Thanks!