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LOW VISION SOLUTIONS: Supported Scanners for OpenBook®

Supported Scanners for OpenBook

The following information is intended to help you choose an appropriate scanner for use with OpenBook® scanning and reading software.

Please realize that there are too many scanners available for any company to track. Freedom Scientific has monitored products from eight major scanner manufacturers. Since we cannot test all models, we rely on our customers and friends to share their experiences with us.

Information at a glance

If a scanner is TWAIN compliant, it will almost certainly work with OpenBook. Most new consumer scanners are TWAIN compliant, so it's easy to find a scanner that works well with OpenBook. Therefore, our scanner information does not ascertain if a particular scanner will work with our products. It gauges how well it works with OpenBook.

What are the common types of scanners?

The type of scanner to use with OpenBook is called a flatbed scanner (because the scanning surface is flat). This is the most common type of scanner; the one you will find in your local computer and office supply stores, as well as online. These scanners are easy to use, versatile enough for most tasks, and range from economy to luxury models.

Flatbed scanners

Some flatbed scanners have an Automatic Document Feeder or ADF. An ADF allows you to place stacks of paper in the scanner so they get fed through automatically. This is the same method you use to feed multiple pages at a time into a copy machine. ADFs reduce the amount of time you spend scanning because they can process stacks of pages without your intervention. They are also a great way to handle legal-sized pages.

High speed scanners

Scanners range from very basic to very sophisticated. Some scanners are referred to as "high speed scanners." They have extra capabilities and are much more expensive. OpenBook works with almost all flatbed scanners, including high speed scanners. You will want to turn off speech when using a high speed scanner.

All-in-one scanners

Some scanners are part of what is known as an "all-in-one" product, which typically is composed of a scanner, copier, fax machine, and printer. These products are convenient because they take up much less space than all the individual components would. OpenBook has worked with all all-in-one scanners we have tested so far.

Which specs are important to OpenBook?

Resolution: As long as a TWAIN-compliant scanner is capable of at least 300 DPI (dots per inch) resolution, it will work with OpenBook. Since most scanners on the market are capable of much higher resolution, this is not really an issue with recent scanners.

Interface: OpenBook supports both USB and the older parallel interface types. All scanners built these days have at least a USB interface.

TWAIN-compliant: TWAIN is the interface standard that enables a computer program (like OpenBook) to communicate with your scanner. Nearly all scanners are TWAIN compliant, which means the software you install with them includes a TWAIN driver. (By the way, some people say that TWAIN stands for Technology Without An Interesting Name.)