Hi folks,

After having presented previously the basic idea about scanner drivers as well as the bottom line on TWAIN, today, we will try to shed some light on WIA.

The definition

The Wikipedia definition reads:

Windows Image Acquisition (WIA; sometimes also called Windows Imaging Architecture) is a Microsoft driver model and application programming interface (API) for Microsoft Windows ME and later Windows operating systems that enables graphics software to communicate with imaging hardware such as scanners, digital cameras, and digital video-equipment.

So what does it mean from a user’s point of view? And how is WIA different from TWAIN?

Similarities and differences between TWAIN and WIA

Well, to begin with, both TWAIN and WIA goal is to connect various imaging devices to various imaging software.


  • TWAIN is meant to be an industry standard (covering all image acquisition devices, for all Operating Systems) while WIA is a vendor (Microsoft) API provided to image acquisition device manufacturers for Windows Operating Systems only.
  • WIA is said to offer better support when it comes to digital cameras, while TWAIN has a strong orientation towards scanners.
  • both TWAIN and WIA allow scanning operation control via dialog or programmatically (with no dialog showed).
  • WIA uses a common dialog for all devices, while TWAIN uses the dialog created by the device manufacturer.
  • when scanning in duplex mode, TWAIN supports options for each side of the page, while WIA uses the same settings for both sides.
  • if the device manufacturer has created custom capabilities, TWAIN allows you to use them even though they don’t exist in the TWAIN specifications.
  • WIA provides a transparent compatibility layer which allows TWAIN-compatible applications to employ and use WIA-driver-based devices.

Remember that PaperScan and GdPicture.NET support both TWAIN and WIA, so it provides users with the universal image acquiring feature, full image and document processing power!

See you next week!