What Does TWAIN Mean?

TWAIN is an application programming interface (API) and transportation protocol that helps in establishing communication between software and digital image devices such as scanners, webcams, CCTVs or digital cameras. TWAIN is sometimes mistakenly thought to be a hardware-level protocol which is not true. TWAIN requires software-level drivers for each device it is running on.


Techopedia Explains TWAIN

The TWAIN working group aims to bring standardization in image acquisition devices so that they can be linked with each other easily. TWAIN is of great significance because makes a digital image compatible with hardware devices. It offers multiplatform support for various devices and drivers, and maintains backward compatibility at the same time to ensure ease of implementation. A free developer toolkit with the software makes it easy for the hardware to customize and edit settings according to nature of the image. TWAIN holds an open-source license and offers a wide range of settings for adaptation.

Although the term is spelled in uppercase, it is not an acronym. However, the backronym “technology without an interesting name” was later created for it.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.