TIFF vs. PDF: Which Format Is Right for Your Document Scanning Needs?

Posted on: May 10, 2016

So, you’ve determined that document scanning is the right solution for your document and records management needs. But have you decided which file type you’ll use to manage your records after the scanning is complete? Two popular options are TIFF and PDF. At QFI, Inc., we’re able to scan and convert all types of documents, but the type you select may impact how you manage and keep your records in the future. Here, we break down the difference between TIFF and PDF for you.

If you have any questions about your document scanning solutions, please do not hesitate to ask our experts!

About TIFF Files

TIFF (or Tagged Image File Format) was originally created as a solution file type for scanning black and white images and faxes.

The two main benefits of converting scanned images to TIFF files include:

  • Ability for single-page TIFF files – If you have multi-page documents, they can be scanned as single- or multi-page electronic TIFF files. Binary single-file TIFF stored in G4 format files are smaller in size and will be quicker to load.
  • Compressed storage – Binary TIFF files are smaller in size if scanned in a compressed format. Compressed TIFF files may be more efficient if you are scanning a large number of documents and don’t have unlimited storage space.

About PDF Files

PDF (portable document format) is a newer format than TIFF and also has many benefits:

  • Security – PDFs have a higher level of security sophistication compared to TIFF files. They can include password protection, restricted views, watermarking, and encryption.
  • Multiple format options – Within the PDF realm, you can choose multiple outputs that meet your needs, such as PDF/A (for archiving), PDF/E (for engineering), PDF/X (for print production) and more. PDF/A allows your documents to meet most legal requirements for compliance reasons as well.
  • Files are searchable – PDF files can be full-text searchable—an option during the scanning process. This is done by creating an image layer and a text layer in each PDF file to allow anyone to search for a word or phrase within the document.

Which Should You Choose?

Both file options support grayscale, color, and black and white documents and are also universally accepted by most applications. Determining the file type for your document scanning project should be a major decision, as it can have future implications within your records management.

At QFI, Inc., we specialize in document scanning and conversion and can walk you through the entire process to determine a customized solution for your needs. We offer nationwide services, so call us at (301) 284-8789 today or contact us online to get started!

Download our document scanning guide!