I want the process to look like:

  1. I choose the correct scan settings (dpi, color depth, etc)
  2. I lay the first page on the scanner and trigger the process
  3. The scanner scans the page and waits for me to position the next page correctly
  4. I confirm that the next page is ready for scanning
  5. Repeat the above two steps until I tell the scanner that there are no more pages to come
  6. The scanner saves everything into a single PDF.

I tried both xsane and gscan2pdf. First problem: they want me to know how many pages will be scanned. This is already a nuisance, but I can do the counting if needed.

The main problem is that in step 3, the scanner does not pause. It is probably optimised for being fed loose sheets. The next scan process is triggered automatically as soon as the CCD has returned to the start position. The time the scanner needs to return the CCD is very short and I can't turn the page and position the book properly.

Is there a software which can do the scan process in the way I described above, or did I just miss a setting available in xsane or gscan2pdf to make the scanner pause?

If it makes any difference, the scanner is an Epson Stylus SX620FW, I run it using the manufacturer-provided driver.


On the command line, you can use scanimage --batch --batch-prompt --source Flatbed to scan all the pages. That'll leave you with .pnm files (or TIFF files, if you add --format tiff), not a PDF unfortunately.

You don't have to count pages—it asks you to press enter if there is another, or control-D if there isn't.

There are then several workflows to get from PNM files to PDF. The easiest is to just use convert (part of ImageMagick): convert page1.pnm page2.pnm page3.pnm doc.pdf. You can use shell (or ImageMagick) wildcards, of course.

You may want to call unpaper on your pnm's first.


I recommend VueScan.

It isn't free I'm afraid. $40 or $80 depending on the version. It handles multi-page scanning really easily along with OCR and a whole load of automated and manual optimisations.

I've been using it for years, originally to scan a load of slides when I found that the native Canon slide scanner's software was pretty rubbish.

VueScan is cross platform, running on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Incidentally, VueScan will pause between pages if you want & you make it pause for a set number of seconds.


Gscan2pdf is what worked for me, but the settings were initially confusing. Selecting "all" pages leaves no apparent way to stop the scanning process and seems designed for an automatic document feeder. There is no need to pre-count the pages.

Set it at 1 and it will scan and stop. When the next page is ready, press scan again. All of the scanned pages will accumulate. It does a good job of compressing the images for a reasonably-sized finished file.


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