PDF Or TIFF: Which Format Is Better For Document Scanning

Companies of all sizes work with documents that need to be scanned, archived and stored. To create a digital version of your documents for storage, you need to ensure they are properly formatted. Two of the best and most widely used digital document formats are PDF and TIFF.

Both formats have their pros and cons for document imaging and to help you determine which format is best for document scanning, we’ve created a thorough table.

Stands for Portable document format Tagged image file format
Colour vs black and white Can scan in colour or black and white. Can also contain clickable links Can scan in colour or black and white. Cannot contain links
Multi-page Multi-page scanning can be done, however, not as effectively Easy to scan multiple pages as a single page
Archiving Designed for long-term digital archiving and readability Can be archived, however, may not be readable in the years to come without specific document imaging software
Modifications Requires special software to modify PDF documents Does not require special software to make modifications
Compression Small enough for storage but you will need more storage space TIFF files are smaller and more suitable if you are storing a large amount of documents
Security Very secure. Can set a password for the best protection. You can also revoke security privileges even after the doc is sent to another person Does not have security features in place, no password protection
Searchability Can contain metadata and attach to other documents, easily found in search Can only accommodate simple tags. Requires additional software to create better searchability
Adoption Document imaging allows PDFs to be opened across all platforms and can be read in a web browser Cannot be read in a web browser but can be used in applications like PowerPoint and MS Word
Readability Incredible readability and presentation quality Presentation quality not as high but still readable
Print capabilities Prints well but is better suited to be viewed in a digital format Prints well due to its image only format

As we explored above, each format has its advantages and disadvantages. Although, many businesses tend to gravitate towards PDF formatting for their digital documents, it doesn’t mean that TIFF won’t work for your document imaging needs. As long as you have the proper software installed and you create a procedure for the scanning and storing of digital documents.


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