New documents are constantly being authored, shared, revised and archived, creating an ongoing challenge to businesses to keep up secure repositories of information, as well as keep up with the ever changing formats in which information is composed. The wide selection of creator applications available today produces workflow and business processing challenges for organizations – even way more for big enterprises with disparate locations. Converting documents in one format to another can have many advantages for organizations, helping them realize increased productivity, better communication and enhanced process improvement, but what format should be utilized and why?
PDF, TIFF and JPEG are three file formats frequently found in the electronic information age. The necessity to convert documents from PDF to TIFF and PDF to JPEG depends upon several issues including information accessibility, image to pdf data security and file storage and archiving. The following factors should be studied into consideration when contemplating what file formats should be utilized, and when:
Accessibility & Productivity
Converting documents into universally readable formats increases business process workflow as well as worker productivity – while enhancing colleague collaboration and communication too. Since the introduction of the TIFF standard, many variations have now been introduced. The JPEG image compression format (used primarily because it’s browser supported) is just a lossy format, and thus some quality is lost when the file is compressed, which can be problematic when the file is restored or shared. Caused by these developments is that documents that were once frequently converted from PDF to TIFF and PDF to JPEG formats are now more frequently kept as PDF files – due to free readers, the standardization of the format and the preservation of document integrity.
Searchability & Archiving
TIFF is just a raster format and must first be scanned by having an OCR engine (optical character recognition) before a document in this format can be searched. PDF is just a more desirable archiving format than TIFF for a number of reasons: PDF files in many cases are more compact and therefore usually require merely a fraction of the memory space of respective TIFF files, often with better quality. Small file size is particularly advantageous for electronic file transfer (FTP, e-mail attachment etc.), and the PDF file format stores structured objects (e.g. text, vector graphics, raster images), and makes for efficient full-text search. Plus, metadata like title, author, creation date, modification date, subject, and keywords can be embedded in a PDF (or TIFF) file, enhancing archiving and retrieval.
Files stored in JPEG format (image files), aren’t directly text searchable (and frequently don’t contain word content), but may be named with titles (or otherwise indexed) and archived and located by naming attributes. However, JPEG files of documents may be scanned via OCR, and then text searched.
Document Structure & Portability
Standard TIFF doesn’t include any method for defining document structure beyond sequencing pages, while PDF documents can include bookmarks, hyperlinks, tags and annotations. Also, Web browsers don’t support TIFF – so the format isn’t helpful for Web pages – while PDF pages may be optimized for Web delivery, via an optional Adobe plug-in.
TIFF, JPEG and PDF are all portable across operating environments – so files can look exactly the same on both PCs and Macs – possibly eliminating the need to convert some files from PDF to TIFF and PDF to JPEG.
TIFF and JPEG formats do not contain built-in security protocols, so users can only just be allowed, or restricted, use of documents. The PDF format on another hand, features a sophisticated security system, which can be used setting document access passwords, or restrict usage.
PDF to TIFF and PDF to JPEG – to Convert or To not Convert – there’s no one answer
As a first faltering step towards electronic document archiving, many organizations implemented TIFF archives – ensuring long-term viability, an established document structure, and a simple to transmit format – but one that is not easily searchable. Evolving business needs have dictated that the higher functionality of the PDF format is necessary for document storage, while companies commonly use the JPEG image file compression for storage and Web compatibility for color image files. Additionally, PDF is more versatile in that it can be utilized to store JPEG images and searchable text within the document as well.
Another good format alternative for JPEG to produce documents in a browser is Portable Network Graphics Format (PNG). PNG was designed to displace the older GIF format, and is advantageous because it utilizes lossless compression, meaning no image data is lost when saving or viewing the image. (We’ll enter increased detail about PNG, and other file formats, in future articles.)