For some reason, Microsoft has never seen fit to implement
network sharing of scanners as it has printers–the reason
RemoteTwain and similar software exists. If you’re scanning a
single page, or a multi-page document that fits in the scanner’s
automatic document feeder (a paper tray for scanners) why shouldn’t
you be able to scan from the comfort of your own PC and work on
other stuff while it proceeds? This scenario is common enough, and
RemoteTwain facilitates it.
RemoteTwain is really two programs. The SharedScanner module
sits on the PC with the direct-attached scanner providing access,
and you install the RemoteTwain module on any PC from which you
want to scan remotely. There’s nothing to indicate that RemoteTwain
is installed. You’ll only know it’s there when you see it listed as
you scan from a program such as Photoshop or IrfanView, or,
“acquire from Twain” in the lingo. You’ll find this info in the
readme.txt file–there’s no other help at the moment.
RemoteTwain worked quite well, though it requires you to enter
the IP address of the PC with the SharedScanner server on it. E.g.
192.168.1.65. There are also some rough edges. For instance, you
must hit the “connect” button each time before you scan and the DPI
drop down menu offers every DPI setting from 50 to 6399–in
increments of 1. It’s actually easy to scroll through, but limiting
it to a few common DPIs such as 150, 300, 1500, etc. then allowing
you to type in uncommon ones would make life a bit easier.
With some scanners you’ll also see a WIA (Windows Imaging
Interface–a Windows bridge for Twain) version of the scanner
listed. With my Epson Perfection
2480, I was able to scan in color only with the WIA
There’s one other thing that’s a bit puzzling. Vendor Scanworks
Software bundles RemoteTwain with WebScan, a program which uses
your browser, Microsoft’s Silverlight,
and a portal at the company’s Web site to create a scanning
application. It’s actually a separate product, yet when you click
on the SharedScanner desktop or system tray icon WebScan is what
launches. You must right-click the system tray icon and select
options to actually see and configure the SharedScanner
module–something you probably won’t need to do. I’d prefer a more
separate approach, or at least make SharedScanner the default.
All told, RemoteTwain is a nice, affordable solution for the odd
occasion when you want to scan remotely or if you want to keep an
eye on scanning activities in a small business by funneling it all
through a single unit.
–Jon L. Jacobi