By Leon Liang, Marketing Research Analyst
and TIFF are the two primary choices when determining the document type for scanned images. By default, people normally gravitate towards PDF simply because it’s the more well-known of the two. However, as with all file formats, both options have their respective pros and cons. Understanding the difference between the two will help you decide which is better for your document scanning needs.
Adoption and portability
Both PDF and TIFF can be viewed across most if not all operating systems. They can be opened through a variety of applications and integrated into other applications like Word and PowerPoint.
Indexing and searchability
PDF accommodates basic tags and sophisticated XML-based metadata. This allows users to add metadata. Unless you save files as an image-only format, your PDF documents are fully searchable—a great benefit when archiving documents that others will inevitably be looking for later.
TIFF, by contrast, was designed as a “wrapper for images,” meaning it can only accommodate simple tags. To enable text-based search, you need Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to create a separate text file that can be indexed and searched. That adds a level of complexity.
You canfiles with a password, restricting viewing, editing and printing privileges to authorized users only. And with Foxit’s new technology, which enables you to invoke security privileges to a document even after you’ve distributed it, you can prevent prying eyes at any stage of your document’s lifecycle. Sent it to the wrong person? Need to change someone’s access privileges? ConnectedPDF empowers you to control who can do what with your documents, even after you’ve already emailed them or published them online.
Comparatively, TIFF has no in-depth, built-in security features. You can only allow or disallow access. And once you’ve sent a TIFF file to someone or published it online, you no longer have the control to change its security status.
PDF and TIFF are both expected to be around for a long time due to their widespread adoption. However, PDF/A—the format designed specifically for long-term archiving and future readability and viewability—has been adopted by many online libraries and publication services. This makes PDF the recommended choice for digital recordkeeping and archiving.
Color, grayscale, and black and white scanning
PDF and TIFF both have their own respective compression technologies for scanning color, grayscale, and black and white documents. TIFF-G4, for example, is used for black & white scans, while TIFF-LZW is designed for handling bi-tonal and color image scans.
You can scan multi-page documents as a single page with TIFF. This makes the scanning process far more expedient than scanning documents as a multi-page TIFF or PDF.
Foxit makes document scanning easy
Most people find it simpler to just stick to PDF to handle their scanning needs. Regardless of which format file you prefer, software like Foxit PDF Toolkit makes it easy to convert TIFF documents to PDF and vice versa when you’ve got a large volume of files. And of course, if you have PhantomPDF and Foxit MobilePDF, you’ve got all the options you need to create, convert and share right on your desktop or mobile.