8 Reasons to switch from TIFF to PDF in 2020

by Kai Wille, Director of Strategic Alliances

8-reasons-to-switch-from-tiff-to-pdf-in-2020

In 2020, it’s critical for IT managers and CIOs to push their organizations to utilize PDF – a format that is already widely regarded as the standard for optimal document access, emailing, sharing and compliant long-term storage.

Here are 8 reasons why PDF is a better format for enterprise content than TIFF:

1. Text-Searchability (OCR)

TIFF was designed for images, therefore any text put into the file will not be searchable. If you were to OCR a TIFF, you would get a text file to go alongside your TIFF image file. On the other hand, PDF uses optical character recognition to allow users to look for specific information right within the file.

Applying OCR to PDFs allows employees to eliminate hours spent manually looking for information with a simple, instant keyword search. This is especially useful for organizations that must be able to access archived documents at a moment’s notice – for example, for audit purposes, a client’s request for an old contract, or compliance reasons.

2. Compliance and Legal Requirements

In many industries, records need to be archived for long periods of time at a minimum degree of quality. For example, US Federal Courts require information to be stored in PDF/A format. With restrictions in audio, video content, JavaScript, and encryption; PDF/A guarantees future readability in legacy case related documents, regardless of the operating system. Countries throughout Europe and Asia have adopted the same standard for government archives. Utilizing PDF is necessary to meet these requirements and avoid compliance issues.

3. Document Security

PDF provides security features such as password enablement, restricted usage and watermark abilities, while TIFF is only able to allow or disallow access to files. This means that once you send a TIFF to someone, you no longer have control to change its security status. In fact, TIFFs last update was in 1992, making it over 20 years since any security features have been released. With constant updates in readers, PDF ensures greater resilience to malware and viruses.

4. Accessibility and 508

While both PDF and TIFF support a wide range of formats to be viewed, PDF is the only format that enables effective use of assistive technologies such as screen readers. PDF/UA is specialized in working with assistive technologies and helping users through reading and navigation. Descriptive text on images, color contrast, and font size guidelines allow readers with low vision to benefit from information on PDFs. In 1998, Section 508 was passed as an amendment to the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, requiring Federal agencies to make their information technology accessible to those with visual impairments and disabilities. Using PDF is the best way to achieve 508 compliance, which can increase overall company reach and meet the needs of more potential customers by improving usability and accessibility.

5. Archiving and Industry Standards

Both TIFF and PDF are expected to be around for a long time. However, many people are turning to PDF/A for archiving purposes. PDF/A is specifically designed to maintain long-term future readability. Different industries are even using specific PDF formats that best suit their needs (for example, PDF/E for engineering, PDF/X for print production, and PDF/VT for variable data and transactional printing.) There are 8 PDF standards, each designed for a unique, specialized purpose that makes them a better contextual choice than TIFF.

6. Faster Web Viewing and Document Navigation

Even though both TIFF and PDF can be opened up on any web browser, PDF has the ability to be linearized, or web optimized. Web optimization is the ability to open a PDF document in your web browser and view specific pages within the document before the whole file is fully loaded. Apart from this easy and quick access, PDFs also store images as vectors that are resolution independent. This allows images to be enlarged while maintaining its shape and detail throughout any site.

7. Print-Friendly

Being a vector format, PDF is the standard for publishing. Having a powerful vector graphics foundation, PDF is the format most often requested by printing services to get final designs into production. Graphic design programs such as the Adobe Suite allow your designs to be exported into PDF to be ready for web or print.

8. Access to Advanced Document Compression

Reduce the file size of your documents from 40-90+% depending on if you are using binary or color documents to speed up access to remote/mobile users, make files small enough to email or reduce your overall storage requirements.

Why PDF?

Unlike a dated format like TIFF, PDF gets regular updates to ensure it will continue to meet industry standards and remain at the cutting edge of electronic document technology. TIFF may still be used today, but after nearly 3 decades without an update, it is clear which file format will benefit you in the long run. Make 2020 a year of change – modernize your content repository to meet the PDF standard and watch as your organization reaps the benefits.


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