Is TIFF or PDF the better format for scanned images?
Scanned images can be stored in several different formats but the two most favoured are TIFF and PDF. The question of which is best is frequently asked and the answer is that it is a matter of a personal rather than a technological choice.
Tagged image file format (TIFF) is a widely supported open file specification and has been acclaimed as the industry standard format for many years. The only drawback used to be that a viewing program was required to access the images but nowadays most operating systems have an integrated TIFF viewer as standard so viewing is no longer an issue.
Portable document format (PDF) is an open standard for document exchange and PDF files can be viewed using Adobe’s Acrobat Reader software which is a free download.
The storage space required for each format is about the same but the key factor is how the images are to be retrieved. If detailed indexing relating to the scanned images is required, the index references will need to be stored in an associated database and the file format, therefore, would have to be TIFF. TIFF images are normally the preferred format if a document management system is being used and more complex searches are to be carried out.
PDF format, however, is more likely to be the choice if a simple file name is the only identifier required and the user has a fairly good idea which document is to be retrieved. Neither one is better than the other it is purely a question of how the scanned files are to be used.
For general advice on file formats and document scanning please call The IPC Group on 08081 45 46 47.