Canon imageFormula R40 review: Capable performance at a good price

It lacks network support, but the R40 is an efficient desktop scanner with good management software

A photograph of the Canon imageFormula R40

IT Pro Verdict


  • +

    Good value

  • +

    Bundled software is capable (if basic)

  • +

    Strong output quality


  • -

    No network support

  • -

    Colour scan speeds could be better

Coming in at the entry point of Canon’s family of imageFormula desktop scanners, the R40 offers home workers and small offices an affordable solution that’s easy to set up and use. It’s a standalone USB-only device with no network capabilities and, for the price, claims good speeds of 40ppm for mono scans at 300dpi and 30ppm for colour scans.

An advantage of USB scanners is their simple installation process. We chose a Windows 10 host PC, ran a single utility to load the TWAIN drivers plus the CaptureOnTouch 4 software, and plugged the scanner in.

There are some compromises: the R40 comes with the basic CaptureOnTouch Standard version so you don’t get the batch scanning and barcode recognition features of the Pro version. Furthermore, only Canon’s higher-end desktop scanners include the CapturePerfect scan editing tool and Kofax VRS (Virtual ReScan) image-enhancement app.

To be fair, the target market is unlikely to need these tools, and we found the software to be very capable with plenty of scan automation features. It links document and output profiles together and can assign nine shortcuts to the scanner’s single-digit LED display for fast walk-up scans.

Document profiles group together settings for colour or mono scans, resolution, simplex or duplex modes, blank page skipping and image straightening and rotation. The advanced setting option disables these and loads the TWAIN driver, which can be used to configure all the basic scan settings and apply extra functions such as brightness and contrast controls, background smoothing and shadow removal.

A photograph of the Canon imageFormula R40 with extended paper tray

Output profiles determine where scans will be sent. Along with support for local and network folders, the installation routine pre-installs nine extra plugins. These allow CaptureOnTouch to send scanned documents to user–defined apps, printers, FTP or SharePoint servers and email, plus Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and SugarSync cloud storage.

Profiles convert scans to PNG, BMP, JPG, TIFF and PPTX formats, while OCR is automatically applied when PDF is selected. If you choose the email option, CaptureOnTouch doesn’t send the scan directly but loads whatever client app is installed on the host PC and creates a new blank message with the scanned document attached.

Cloud scanning is also basic: the app simply sends the scans straight to your local sync folder. However, the setup manual has a link for a free download of the ReadIris Pro 16 OCR software, which supports direct scanning to cloud storage accounts.

The R40 combines a generous 60-page ADF with a 4,000-page daily duty cycle. Performance is a mixed bag, though, with duplex greyscale scans of 30 bank statements returning 46ppm at 200dpi and 300dpi, 6ppm faster than Canon’s claim.

Colour speeds were less impressive. The R40 delivered the quoted 30ppm at 200dpi, but dropped to 21.2ppm at 300dpi. The difference was more marked at 600dpi, with 16.8ppm greyscale and 4.6ppm colour scans.

The higher resolutions won’t be required for general document archiving as we found 200dpi produces perfectly sharp images with fonts down to 6pt correctly converted for searchable PDFs. Paper handling is also impeccable: the R40 had no problems with our collection of till receipts and flimsy courier waybills and will scan passports when placed in Canon’s optional carrier sheets.

Performance is inconsistent, but the imageFormula R40 offers a scan-friendly package at a good price. The scan management software will cover most basic requirements, making this a good choice for small offices and home workers that don’t require network support.

Canon imageFormula R40 specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Format600dpi A4 colour scanner
Scan speed30/40ppm at 300dpi colour/mono
ConnectivityUSB 2
Scan typeDuplex
ADF60-page ADF
Recommended monthly duty cycle4,000 pages (daily)
Bundled softwareCanon CaptureOnTouch 4 Standard, ReadIris Pro 16, CardIris 5 software
Dimensions291 x 250 x 245mm (WDH, closed)
Warranty1yr standard hardware warranty
Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.