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Use Automator for manipulating Scanned PDFs Scanners
If you have a scanner with an automatic document feeder it is convenient to scan double sided pages by scanning the front sides (odds) and then the back sides (evens). I have written an Automator workflow that will take those scanned pages as input, and then output them as a combined and reordered PDF document.
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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X Scanners
Mac OS X recognizes the Symbol PL470 wireless barcode scanner as a keyboard when the base station is plugged in via USB, but it is not able to understand it. There is a specific trick involved in getting the input to match up. I use the scanner mainly to input bar codes into Delicious Library (and Delicious Library will crash if the input is not valid!).

Here's how to get it to work. It's a weird series of steps.
  1. Make sure the scanner is synced to the base station and the base station plugged into your Mac.
  2. Open a new document in TextEdit or TextWrangler.
  3. Scan in a bar code.
  4. If it doesn't work, you will either see junk/whitespace or nothing.
  5. Now, unplug the power from the base station.
  6. Scan again. You will get an error on the scanner saying it can't contact the base station.
  7. Plug the base station back into the electrical and hit enter on the scanner to have it reconnect.
  8. Try scanning again. You should now have a valid bar code, e.g. 781932386776 followed by a line break (a keyboard return is included at the end of a valid scan).
I'm not entirely sure what is happening here; my best guess is that the lack of base station connectivity causes the scanner to reset its keyboard encoding output. That, or reconnecting to the base station causes a reset or renegotiation with the computer. Whatever the reason, it works -- happy scanning!
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10.6: Use some very old scanners under Snow Leopard Scanners
My Agfa SnapScan 1212u is about 10 years old now, but had been working perfectly through every OS X release. With the Update to Snow Leopard, however, the old app ScanwiseX wouldn't start anymore. The error I received was "ScanWise couldn't find ColorSync-Systemprofile."

To get my scanner working again, first I installed the OpenSource files from TWAIN SANE. First I installed libusb.pkg, then sane-backends.pkg, and finally sane-preference-pane.pkg.

With the freeware Scan Again for the SANE Extension (Scanner Access Now Easy), I could finally use my Agfa SnapScan 1212u again. After launching the app, it bounces a long time, but it will eventually work. There are not many preferences, but enough to do all important scans I need.
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Use a Windows PC Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner on the Mac Scanners
Fujitsu does not list Mac OS X drivers for the ScanSnap S510 on their English language website (maybe because they have a Mac version of the ScanSnap S510, the ScanSnap S510M). They do, however, list the OS X drivers for the ScanSnap S510 on the Japanese language site, but as you may expect, the program is also in Japanese. The directions that follow are to get the ScanSnap S510 working under Mac OS X, in English.
  1. Download the ScanSnap Manager software for the S510M (ScanSnap_V22L11.dmg). After downloading, install the software.
  2. Use Finder to locate the ScanSnap Manager.app file. Control click on it and choose Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. Then open the Contents » Resources folder.
  3. Copy the English.lproj folder to the desktop.
  4. Open the Applications folder and drag the ScanSnap folder to the trash, then empty the trash.
  5. Now that we have the English Language folder for the ScanSnap Manager software, we can go ahead and install the Japanese Snansnap Manager for the S510 under OS X. Open the Japanese Mac download page, and scroll down until you find the ScanSnap Manager for Mac section. Find the correct OS X version, and download the corresponding ScanSnap_V21L20.dmg file.
  6. Install ScanSnap Manager from the newly-downloaded file from the Japanese site. If you get an error saying that the software cannot be installed, make sure you have uninstalled/trashed the previous S10M version, making sure you have emptied the trash, maybe restart your Mac after those steps.
  7. Once the software is installed, you should be able to use your ScanSnap S10 without problem (except that the ScanSnap Manager program is in Japanese).
  8. Copy the English.Iproj folder from your desktop into the Resources folder for the new install -- follow the directions above for how to get there.
  9. Quit and restart the ScanSnap manager.
That should do it; the program should now run in English.

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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10.5: Possibly use the Microtek S400 in 10.5 Scanners
I have successfully gotten my "unsupported" Microtek S400 scanner to work under Leopard. First I copied the scanner driver from Tiger (in the /Library/Application Support folder), and installed it into the same folder in Leopard. Next, I installed the Scan Maker software. Maybe it's the 10.5.4 update that made it work; maybe my manual copy made it work, but either way, it's now working fine for me in 10.5.
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Use an unsupported Epson scanner on an Intel Mac Scanners
This hint describes how to modify the EPSON Scanner file to support older Epson scanners. Unfortunately, the process did not work for us with an Epson Stylus 2500 on an intel iMac running OS X 10.4.11.

The solution we found was to replace the Universal version of EPSON Scanner.app on the iMac (version 3.1.1) with the PowerPC version (version 3.1.0) from a G4 mac running OS X 10.4.11. We then modified the plist files as described in the original hint, and were able to scan with the Stylus 2500 using Image Capture.

[robg adds: Note that this change will have the scanner running in Rosetta mode on the Intel-powered machine. As with any change to a system file, I would recommend keeping a backup of the original, and you're on your own if this causes problems with your machine.]
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Force HP scanners to automatically clear temporary files Scanners
I have an HP All-in-one printer/scanner, but I assume this will be useful for other HP scanner models as well. I was mighty annoyed by the fact that the scanner leaves a temp file every time you use it. The temp file can be found in a subfolder of your Home folder (in: ~/Documents » All-in-One Data Folder » Archive, to be precise). I experimented with shell scripting to automatically clean out that folder periodically, but with less than satisfying results.

Then the following solution suddenly occurred to me: I deleted the folder Archive, and replaced it with a symbolic link to the system temp folder. For the non Terminal-savvy, this is the procedure in Terminal:
cd /Users/your_username/Documents/All-in-One Data Folder
ln -s /tmp Archive
Make sure to name the link exactly the same as the original folder where the temp files are saved (the the last word on the above line will be the name of the link). Now the scanner saves its temp files in /tmp, without the scanner applet even being aware of it. The folder /tmp is cleaned out on each restart, so I never have to bother with deleting those files myself anymore.
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Scan many pages (almost) directly into a combined PDF Scanners
I have to print, sign, scan, and email a lot of documents, and have been seeking out an easy way to do it for a while. It's been particularly aggravating for multi-page documents, because Image Capture saves each scan as an individual file. There are a couple of tools that can scan directly to PDF, but they cost about $60 or more, and that's a lot for a simple function like this, in my opinion. Today I hit upon an extremely easy way of scanning directly to PDF format that uses freeware tools:
  1. Get your scanner all set up, using whatever drivers you need. (This can sometimes be a bear on OSX. If your scanner manufacturer doesn't provide a driver, check out the SANE project; they may have something for you).
  2. Download and install CombinePDF, a really fantastic little tool that I've found handy on many occasions.
  3. Connect your scanner to your Mac and fire up Image Capture.
  4. In the toolbar to the right, click on the drop-down next to Automatic Tasks.
  5. Click on "Other..."
  6. Browse to wherever CombinePDF is installed, select it, and click Open.
  7. Now insert your document into the scanner and click Scan.
  8. As each page is scanned, its file will be dumped into CombinePDF. So this works for multi-page documents, too -- each page will appear as a filename in CombinePDF.
  9. When all of your pages are scanned in, click on "Merge PDF..." in CombinePDF.
  10. Select a location for the final PDF and give it a name, then click OK.
That's it -- when you click OK, your combined PDF will be created. I originally posted this on my blog.
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Make networked scanners available to other Macs Scanners
If, like me, you have a scanner as part of a networked multi-function device, you may find that the Mac support for scanning over the network is poor or even non-existent.

If you share a scanner using the Open Source SANE project, however, you can use Mattias Ellert's TWAIN/SANE interface to make it available to your Mac applications.

I used a Linux machine to share the scanner using SANE, allowing Macs on my network to use the scanner by connecting to the Linux box. Image Capture, Photoshop and Acrobat work fine with it. More information on my setup can be found here. I just happened to have a Linux machine available, but you can do a similar thing in an all-Mac environment.
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Use an unsupported Epson scanner with Image Capture Scanners
This hint basically explain how to make Image Capture to recognize an old Epson USB scanner (or all-in-one device) for which there are no Mac OS X drivers. It requires no additional software, and should works natively on Intel Macs.

I have an old Epson Stylus Scan 2500, which is still a perfect solution for my small office. I can make copies (even in color), print at fair quality and speed, and scan documents. And finally, it's a robust device, at least compared to the actual Epson printers.

Unfortunately, Epson decided to classify this all in one device as "unsupported by Mac OS X," and therefore never released updated drivers. Starting from Mac OS X Jaguar, with the help of CUPS and gimp-print, I can use this device as a printer (the printer part is essentially an Epson Stylus Color 740). But what about the scanner? A viable solution would be to use VueScan, which is a very good software, but I would like to have something more integrated with Mac OS X and, possibly, free. Therefore I investigated how Image Capture works, and found a solution.
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