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Selecting the Correct File Format for Scanned Documents


In today’s business world, companies use countless different types of documents, but keeping hard copies of everything is often inefficient and wasteful. As such, they’ll scan these documents for further evaluation and storage on a computer.

But have you ever wondered which file type is the best for scanning? If so, you are in the right place. Here is what you should know when selecting the correct file format for scanned documents.

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG or JPG)

JPEGs are an excellent file type for images because of their ability to condense bulky files into compact versions that are easy to share. JPEGs do this through lossy compression, which eliminates certain pieces of a file’s data to reduce storage demands.

Unfortunately, a byproduct of lossy compression is that it splits up data from the original file, so lines often look less pleasing (especially for logos, titles, or any image with lines and graphics). Therefore, JPEGs are most suitable for photographs rather than text with lots of lines.

Portable Network Graphics (PNG)

PNG files have a unique history, but most people currently use them for digital images. These files do use compression for storing data, but not to the extent of a JPEG.

For document scanning with text or lines, PNGs are better because they are lossless. A lossless file means that the file experiences less distortion than compressed files, so it serves as a more accurate representation of the original file.

Tagged Image File Format (TIF or TIFF)

A TIFF file is very effective when you want to preserve as much of the original data as possible. However, this also means that TIFF files are larger and take up more storage space than other file types.

Nonetheless, if you want every detail in your document to remain consistent, a TIFF file is the best type. Whether you want to go with the most accurate or the least demanding file type is something to consider before using a document scanning service.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

The most common type of file for scanning documents is PDF. These files are best for text documents, images with words, and surveys or forms.

Documents are also more searchable and possess more digital editing capabilities when you scan them to PDF. The included automatic image compression also makes PDFs an excellent choice for storing images.

Ideally, your file of choice should be the one most suitable for the line of work you are in, such as a graphic design firm or writer’s workshop. Now that you know what to look for when selecting the correct file format for scanned documents, it’s time to make your decision!

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