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Best format to store scanned images for later use in Access report

Posted on 2004-04-07
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
I am storing about 3,000 images which are each simply an 8.5 X 11 sheets of paper, each of which is a signed authorization from my clients.  From time to time, I need to retrieve the scanned authorization and print it in an access report.

My question is:  what is the best format to store these images?  

For some reason, when I look at the properties of the scanned images, they are all 2528 X 3300 pixels.  I don't even know how they got to be so large.  Perhaps I need to resize them all to 8.5 X 11 inches, using a batch program.  Also, the file sizes don't make sense.  Some are 100kb, while others are 1,013kb, and yet they are the same type of image.  They are currently stored as tif images.

I'd appreciate any suggestions.  Thanks.
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Question by:The_Sheckster
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Expert Comment

by:j3one
ID: 10781243
--> tif is good for you probably. The varied file sizes might be a scanner or actualy scanner software issue. You might be scnning with different quality settings somtimes.

Q. -> What program are you using to scan with?
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by:CRAK
ID: 10781662
>  I don't even know how they got to be so large.

Quite simple:
You mentioned their size in 8.5 * 11 inch, and 2528 X 3300.
2528 pixels / 8.5 inch = (approx.) 300 dpi.
3300 pixels / 11 inch = 300 dpi.
Obviously the images were scanned at that resolution.
If you scan them at 72 dpi (ok for screen, not for printing) you'd end up at 612 * 792 pixels (size in KB would also drop dramatically!)


The file format may depand on the purpose you're storing them for.
TIFF is a compressed filesize; not lossy
BMP is not comressed, so a lot larger
JPG is compressed and smapper than TIFF, since it's "lossy". Pixels with only a slight variation in color (shade) are stored as a single color.
PNG could be an alternative. Compressed; not-lossy....
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by:thurston_l
ID: 10781799
i agree with the above, but:
if you're storing raster images (ie photos) the best way to store them is 72 pixel/inch .jpg.
if you has a lot of scanned flowcharts, diagramms, images with only a few colors, it is best to store them in an optimized .gif (for photoshop use the save for web wizard) or: to trace them with a traceing software (adobe streamline - its a bit dumb - or corel trace) and to store them as vector grapfics, just like .svg, or -as best choice for windows - .wmf, or .ai and they could be streched without borders.
more on these issue:
optimizing:
http://www.webreference.com/dev/graphics/intro.html
http://www.siriusweb.com/tutorials/gifvsjpg/
http://www.webwitchery.com/articles/format/
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/geektalk/97/30/index3a.html?tw=design
tools for optimizing:
http://www.tucows.com/imageopti95_default.html
raster-vector differences:
http://www.ablesw.com/r2v/rasvect.html
http://www.nw-media.com/ps_intro/html/lesson_1/lesson1_pg3.html

good luck:

ati
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by:The_Sheckster
ID: 10783057
One point that I forgot to mention was that the images I have scanned are all black and white.  There is no need for color.  Bearing that point in mind, does that change your suggestions as to the best format to store the images?
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by:CRAK
ID: 10783882
In black & white images, there are 256 shades of grey: RRGGBB = 000000, 010101 etc. up to FFFFFF (FF hexadecimal = 256 decimal).
GIF images provide just that amount of "colors".
A very compact file type to!
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by:jderting
ID: 10784433
The industry standard is a Group IV Tiff Format at either 200x200 or 300x300 dpi. (From a document retention and/or legal standpoint.)
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by:thurston_l
ID: 10786663
what sort of black and white? grayscale or black and white lineart?
fort lineart, i think it's better to use vector graphic formats, for grayscale images use should use .gif or .jpg with 256 (greyscale) colors - thers is a rule: if there are big homogenous areas int the image, it's better to use .gif, if there are a high number of details, use .jpg. for .jpg there's a variety of quality settings wich define the size of the output file (as you can see this in photoshop, when you're saving to .jpg).
if you cant decide, try both, and search for the optimal output. then apply setting for all images - or for wich you think it's necessary - with a batch conversion.
Some softwares, like photoshop offer you a number of batch conversion action, but it's need a little trick. If you're a beginner, it's easier to use thumbnail creators - just like express thumbnail creator - because they're easier to configure. Thumbnail creators offer you the following: they resize images and set their size or even their color. You can set the filename too, and if you don't need thumbnails, you can turn out the create thumbnail function.
worth a try?
good luck:

 t.a.g.
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Lobo042399 earned 125 total points
ID: 10789730
Hi Sheckster,

>>if you're storing raster images (ie photos) the best way to store them is 72 pixel/inch .jpg

That may ring true for images that are to be published in the Net. However, for storage and printing purposes (which is what you need these images for) a higher resolution is necessary; and the JPG format might not be the best.

GIF may produce sketchy images if the tables are not properly set, and blotchy areas, too. We'r talking forms, not photographs, right?

Given that TIFF is a widely accepted format I would go for that. Greyscale TIFF saved with LZW compression should do it.

As per your question of why if all the images are the same size in pixels their file size varies... The way a TIFF file is compressed is by replacing a block of pixels of the same colour by one pixel of that colour plus a multiplier that tell you how many other pixels follow with the same colour value. (It's like replacing black.black.black.black.black with black[5]). What this means is that if there are large areas of the same colour the file will be able to save more data by simply applying larger multiplier numbers. Ingenious, huh?

Good Vibes!

Lobo
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by:thurston_l
ID: 10790521
Lobo, i know tiff was developed to store scanned - especially grayscale images.
I recomend jpg or gif for non-expert use because theay are more common, and they can be opened even with IE as a last chance.
For me - as a dtp techie - to store gray images im tiff, color in psd/eps, but i think using jpg/gif format for home use are fairly enogh.
bw:

t.a.g.
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Expert Comment

by:Lobo042399
ID: 10795526
Hi Thurston,

I understand your perspective; easier is sometimes the answer. However, in the original question Sheckster explains that he needs to store over 3 thousand images which are forms containing signatures from his clients. I don't believe that qualifies as "home use." What he needs is a reliable format that he can store images in and, in some cases, print from at size and for that 72dpi won't do.

Good Vibes!

Lobo
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by:thurston_l
ID: 10796191
thats true, but jpg can do any pixel per inch ratio. and i dont think he might use more than 300dpi
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by:Lobo042399
ID: 10799985
Yes, there's no limit to what resolution a JPG can be. However, the recommendation to use JPG clearly mentioned doing it at 72pixel/inch. Not what Sheckster needs. Another risk of using JPG to store important documents (specially for someone with little experience on file formats as Sheckster seems to be, no offense intended) is that the user might be tempted to save files size by compressing the image too much and rendering it useless for his document archival purposes. By using TIFF compression is achieved without quality loss, obviously the best option for storing important document scans that include signatures which must be indentifiable.

Good Vibes!

Lobo
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Expert Comment

by:Staceman03
ID: 10864726
If you are saving canned copies of authorization forms, I would highly suggest Adobe Acrobat.  It is a very versatile and usefull program and well worth the investment!
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