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136. TWAIN vs ISIS vs WIA Scanner Drivers

The EzeScan Desktop application can be configured to use TWAIN, ISIS of WIA scanner drivers.

Scanner Manufacturers make their own decisions as to which of these drivers they will release and support for each scanner they sell.

Consequently, some scanners support TWAIN only, ISIS only or WIA only. Other scanners will support a mixture of these drivers (TWAIN and WIA, or TWAIN and ISIS, or WIA and ISIS). Whilst some scanners will support all 3 of these drivers (TWAIN, ISIS and WIA).

With so many options to choose from, we are often asked by our customers what's better TWAIN, ISIS or WIA?

Here are our recommendations based on implementing TWAIN, ISIS and WIA scanner drivers at thousands of our customer sites since 2002.

TWAIN (Recommended)

TWAIN is written by the TWAIN Working Group.

The TWAIN Working Group is made up of scanning hardware and software vendors that have a common goal of continually developing and improving the TWAIN platform.

The TWAIN specification is being continually updated, and most production level scanner manufacturers regularly update their TWAIN drivers to take advantage of new TWAIN functionality

TWAIN supports Windows.

TWAIN is generally free.

TWAIN is the most widely shipped scanner driver by most scanning hardware and software vendors.

TWAIN is now supporting high-speed scanning. It performs well on scanners that scan at up to 200 PPM.

Based on our past experience TWAIN drivers are robust.

For these reasons, we'd give TWAIN a 5-star rating out of 5.


ISIS was originally created by a company called Pixel Translations.

ISIS is now owned by EMC.

There is often a charge associated with developing and also using the ISIS drivers. Scanner manufacturers have to pay EMC to develop the ISIS drivers for their scanners.

This often means that updates to ISIS drivers are infrequent because the scanner vendors don't seem to want to pay for driver fixes or updates.

ISIS is high-speed and often claimed to be faster than TWAIN. In our testing, we have found that it's not significantly faster than TWAIN.

The ISIS UI often exposes less functionality than the equivalent TWAIN UI does. This can be quite frustrating for scanner operators when a particular setting is not exposed in the ISIS UI.

If an ISIS driver is broken it can be difficult to get the issue fixed quickly.

Some scanner vendors now include ISIS drivers for free, whilst others may charge extra for an ISIS driver, or charge tiered pricing for that ISIS driver as the size and speed of the scanners increases.

Based on our past experience we think that ISIS drivers are slightly less robust than TWAIN drivers.

For these reasons, we'd give ISIS a 4-star rating out of 5.


Windows Image Acquisition is an entry-level driver interface supported natively by Microsoft Windows.

Designed primarily for use with digital cameras and SOHO scanning devices.

It only runs on Windows.

WIA is not functionally rich like TWAIN and ISIS.

WIA is bare bones and just presents enough settings in the UI to get the scanner to perform a simple scan of one or more pages.

When it doesn't work it's often hard to get the vendors to quickly fix a WIA driver issue.

If it's the only scanner driver provided with your scanner then use it, otherwise, we would recommend you to try TWAIN or ISIS drivers instead.

For production scanning use, we'd give WIA a 1-star rating out of 5.

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