TWAIN SANE Interface for MacOS X

This is a TWAIN datasource for MacOS X that aquires images using the SANE backend libraries. The SANE backend libraries provide access to a large range of scanners connected through SCSI or USB. For a complete list see the documentation on the SANE project homepage. It works with my HP SCSI scanner, and many people have reported success with a large number of different scanners. The feedback from users have helped the SANE developers to fix problems with various backends, so with each release of the SANE backends more of the MacOS X specific problems have been solved.

The TWAIN SANE interface is not a standalone application. It is designed to be used from within other applications. It works with applications supporting the TWAIN specification, which includes most applications on Mac OS X that handles images. However using it with Apple‘s Image Capture application has become increasingly tricky with every version of Mac OS X. You will have an easier experience if you choose any other application.

The TWAIN SANE Interface is provided as a binary package and as source code. To use the interface you only have to install the binary package. Before installing the TWAIN SANE Interface package you should install the libusb and the sane-backends binary packages.

There is also a optional SANE Preference Pane package available, which makes it easier to configure the sane-backends drivers. If you don’t install this package you can still configure the sane-backends using a text editor in the Terminal.

If you have trouble making it work, please consult the list of frequently asked questions.

If you want to compile the sources you also have to install the gettext package. If you are cross-compiling using the MacOS X cross-compilation SDKs you need to install the corresponding SDKs for the used packages.

You are welcome to contact me at if you want to have more information about the TWAIN SANE Interface, or if you want to submit bug reports, localizations errors, suggestions for improvments or patches.

The latest version is 3.4 and is available for Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and 10.10 (Yosemite). If you need the TWAIN SANE Interface for older Mac OS X releases, older versions ar availabe for older Mac OS X releases.

Mattias Ellert


Version Package Type Mavericks (10.9.x) Yosemite (10.10.x) Sources Project Homepage
TWAIN SANE Interface 3.4 binary
SANE Preference Pane 1.4 binary
SANE backends 1.0.24 binary
SDK (1)
libusb 0.1.13 beta binary
SDK (1)
gettext 0.19.3 binary
SDK (1)

(1) The SDKs in the table above are supposed to be installed on top of the MacOS X cross-compilation SDKs that comes with Xcode. If you are not going to do cross-compilations you do not need the SDKs.

Older versions.

Release Notes

TWAIN SANE Interface version 3.4, 2014-11-26

SANE Preference Pane version 1.4, 2014-11-23

sane-backends version 1.0.24-p2, 2014-11-23

libusb version 0.1.13 beta, 2014-11-22

gettext version 0.19.3, 2014-11-22


The TWAIN SANE Interface has been localized to the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Swedish. For most of the translation it relies on the localization support in the SANE backend libraries.

If you want to provide localization support for a different language you are welcome to do that. What you should do is the following:

Mattias Ellert