Looking for up-to-date ScanImage documentation? That has moved here: docs.scanimage.org

This documentation is for a legacy ScanImage version. The current documentation is ScanImage 2019.
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Here we'll review the bare minimum to get a system up and running.

Software Requirements

Start by installing required software and hardware.

Scanimage Installation

Pick a location for ScanImage Installations, hereafter referred to as <ScanImage>



ScanImage requires write permissions to its installation folder. In Windows 7 and later, users do not have write permissions for the folder C:\Program Files by default. If this folder is chosen for the ScanImage installation, modify the Windows Folder Permissions of the ScanImage installation folder appropriately.

  1. Download ScanImage and extract the ZIP file into selected folder

  2. Launch Matlab and add the folder to the search path (Tip: It is sufficient to use the option 'Add Folder...' - On startup, ScanImage will add additional folder to the path 

  3. With scanimage on the Matlab path, run:


Machine Data File (MDF)

The Machine Data File contains information used to describe aspects of the hardware configuration that rarely change.  The MDF is only read when ScanImage starts; any change to the MDF during an experiment requires a Matlab restart.

The first time you start ScanImage you will be asked to configure or locate a Machine Data File. Since this is the first time you've run on this machine, you should choose to Create a new file.  Select a folder where that file should be stored.

The Machine Data File will be created in sections.  After each section is created, it will be displayed in the Matlab editor.  Edit the settings for each section and then save the file.  A small pop-up dialog box will await you to confirm you've done this before moving on to the next section.


Recommended location for the Machine Data File is a folder named CONFIG  at  root of the user's Data directory. This is a good way to ensure that configuration data is backed up whenever Data directory is (hopefully!) backed up



USR/CFG Settings

Additional hardware configuration and window position information is stored in the USR file.

On the first startup, you may be prompted to locate the USR File.  Hit Cancel to proceed using default settings.

After starting ScanImage successfully, you should soon thereafter arrange windows as you prefer them and then save a USR file via the File >> Save User Settings As... menu item on the Main Controls. Later, select this USR file to use the saved settings.