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How to share USB scanner over Network

Olga Weis Olga Weis Aug 2, 2022
share usb scanner over network

The most widespread way of physically connecting modern devices to your computer is via USB ports. Of course, there is plenty of other communication interfaces still used nowadays but, let’s be honest, whether you have a mouse, a printer, a scanner, or any other peripheral attached to your home PC, there is a good chance that they all communicate with your machine via USB connection.

Common problem: For example, you might need to share a USB scanner connected to your desktop with your colleagues’ laptops. Even if the computers are in proximity to each other, it is not always feasible to physically insert and re-insert the device into their USB ports, leaving alone computers located at a distance. This article will answer the long-lasting question "How do you share a scanner on the network?".

Software for sharing USB scanners over the network

There is a compact application to do it – USB over Ethernet Connector also known as USB Network Gate.
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USB Network Gate

Share USB over Ethernet on Windows
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USB Network Gate

USB Network Gate supports multiple platforms and can share scanners on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and Raspberry operating systems. For this article, we will mostly concentrate on the Windows part of the app.

It is fairly easy to share scanners with USB Network Gate, as can be seen from this video guide:

Here is a detailed instruction on how to share USB scanners on the network:
First, you need to download and install USB Network Gate on all computers that need access to the device.
 share scanner over network
Once the installation is complete, launch the app on the computer to which the device is attached. In the window displayed you will see a list of USB devices inserted into the computer.
Click the 'Share' button next to the USB scanner.
Your shared scanner will be visible in USB Network Gate launched on other computers, now they can connect to it to scan over the network.

USB Network Gate benefits:

  • There is a 14-day trial version of the software for you to decide whether you want to invest in it or not;
  • It works for various kinds of USB devices, including scanners;
  • The is no need to install scanner drivers for shared devices.
  • If required, you can use encryption to protect the connection or add compression.
  • If you have trouble using the software, there is a support service available round the clock.

How to install the scanner in Windows 10

When users connect a scanner to Windows 10 device or add it to a home network, they usually can begin scanning documents and pictures immediately.

But for those scanners that do not install automatically, we’ve provided the following instructions to explain how to add scanners to computers running Windows 10:

  1. Connect the USB cable from the scanner to an available USB port of a Windows 10 computer.

  2. Turn on the scanner. Windows should automatically begin installing the scanner drivers and configuring the device.

    In the majority of cases, these are the only steps required to set up a local scanner or discover a network scanner. If this process doesn’t work, here’s what you’ll need to do further.

  3. Navigate as follows: Start > Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners.

  4. Select Add a printer or scanner, then wait for it to find nearby scanners. add scanner Windows 10
  5. Select the desired scanner and click Add device.

    Note: If the scanner is part of a multifunction or All-In-One printer, users might only find the name of the printer. To find the scanner, select the installed printer under Printers & scanners, click Manage, and finally select the scanner.

    If your scanner isn't displayed, choose The printer that I want isn't listed, and proceed by following the instructions explaining how to add it manually.

    - To allow Windows 10 to locate and install the scanner, ensure the computer and scanner are connected to the same network.
    - Users may also find it necessary to get the administrator permissions that allow for the installation of some scanners.

    add network scanner Windows 10
  6. Look for your scanner under Printers & devices to verify the scanner was installed successfully.

How to install a scanner in Windows 11

Regarding the process of adding a scanner to Windows 11, it’s quite similar to the ones we showed for Windows 10 steps above. However, there are a few differences that need to be taken into account.

When users connect a scanner with their computer, Windows 11 should automatically install and configure the scanner drivers so users can begin scanning their documents and pictures immediately.

If Windows 11 fails to automatically install and set up the scanner, the steps below explain how to add scanner drivers manually:

  1. Navigate as follows: Start > Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Printers & scanners. printers & scanners Windows 11
  2. Click Add device located in the Printers & Scanners window. add scanner Windows 11
  3. Once Windows 11 locates nearby scanners, select the desired scanner by clicking the Add device button beside it.

If the scanner is not displayed on the device list, users must add the driver manually. Choose the Add manually option, then proceed by following the instructions provided.

add scanner manually Windows 11

Users should be able to locate a wireless or network printer after following the installation wizard below.

add network scanner Windows 11

If the desired wireless scanner wasn’t added to the home network, we recommend reviewing the manual that came with the scanner to find information on how to set up your particular device in Windows 11.

How to set up a scanner on Mac

It’s a pleasantly straightforward process to scan documents onto Mac computers. However, before connecting a scanner to Mac, one must ensure the scanning software on their macOS computer is up-to-date.

For those using multifunction AirPrint printers and scanners, feel free to skip checking for software updates.

Follow the steps below to learn how to install a scanner on Mac:

  1. Start with connecting a scanner and turning on the devices.

    Note: Do not install the software that comes with the scanner. The macOS computer will download the latest scanner software automatically.

  2. Navigate as follows: Apple menu > System Preferences > Printers & Scanners. scanners in system preferences Mac
  3. If the scanner doesn’t appear in the left-hand list, hit the (+) Add button (if a pop-up menu opens, click Add Printer or Scanner). add scanner to Mac
  4. Choose the desired scanner and hit Add.

If the scanner still does not appear on the list, refer to the documentation provided with the scanner to find guidance on how to add a scanner to Mac.

How to add a scanner on Linux (Ubuntu example)

Just as with Macs, scanning documents and images onto Linux computers is usually a simple and fast process. Conveniently, Linux has numerous packages for scanning to choose from.

The most popular package is called SANE, and so we’ll show how to use it to add a scanner in Linux on the example of Ubuntu.

SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) is open-source software enabling scanning on most Linux devices. It also enables Linux devices to utilize various image scanning hardware, and the community revolving around SANE offers added support for more scanners regularly.

Here is how to set up scanners on Ubuntu with SANE:

  1. Install SANE (though, it’s usually pre-installed as a base package in versions of Ubuntu 11.04 and later).

    You can run the following command to install it:
    apt-get install sane sane-utils libsane-extras xsane

  2. Run the following command to test your scanner:
    Applications > Graphics > XSane

    Users should see a scanning dialog window from the scanner. If SANE says it can't locate the scanner, users must perform a manual installation.

  3. The majority of the time, the back-end for your scanner gets enabled by default. For certain scanners, users enable this manually—which usually involves enabling the back-end and then adding a scanner to it.

For more detailed instructions regarding manual installation, see the Ubuntu SANE Troubleshooting guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

The easiest method is using USB Network Gate, which allows you to share and connect scanners to other computers via a network connection. UBS Network Gate software supports a variety of USB and serial devices (such as scanners, printers, etc.).
Begin by installing USB Network Gate on the PC with the USB scanner physically connected to it (called the Server). Perform the same installation on the machine requiring remote access to the scanner (called the Client). While operating the Server PC, run the application and hit “Share” (found beside the USB scanner being shared over the network). Run the application on the Client machine, locate the scanner from the list, and hit “Connect”.

Now the scanner is connected over the network to another computer.
If users aren’t willing to buy a device that supports network-based scanning, there’s no other option to share all-in-one printers/scanners besides purchasing scanner sharing software (such as USB Network Gate).
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Share USB over Ethernet on Windows
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Also Available: USB Network Gate is a cross-platform solution compatible with Mac, Linux and Android OSes:

UNG for Mac

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