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Document Scanning
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

All of the responses are general (some humorous), call if you have a specific question.

Q. What's a TIFF image?

A.

When you send a fax, your fax machine creates a TIFF image file and transmits the file. Your fax machine is a small scanner. Most fax machines scan at 50 or 75 dpi. A TIFF image is "viewable" and "editable". The image has no intelligent data, for example no text "fonts", no entities that can be changed from "circle" to "arc" etc. Typical file formats include tif, pcx, cg4, rle, rlc, tga. TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format. CALS is the Government version of TIFF. This can be a CAL extension, a CG4 extension, or a TG4 extension. Note most raster editing programs (Paint Shop Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Harvard Graphics etc. have size and/or pixel limitations for display/editing. If your drawing is larger than 11x17" you may not be able to use the aforementioned programs without great difficulty( if at all) to edit your raster files.

Q. What is DPI and what are the differences?

A. DPI stands for dots per inch. A scanner passes over a drawing and uses 200 dots in an inch to measure the Intensity of the reflection. A dot is either black or white in a 2 bit image. In newer image formats such as JPEG and TIFF version 7.0 you can have a 48bit image. In this case, the camera in the scanner uses shades of grey for each intensity. This is the same for color scanning. So, a 400 dpi scan has more dots in each inch, and therefore more shades of grey or colors. This does not necessarily mean that 400 dpi is a sharper image. See below.

Q. Why shouldn't I scan everything at 400 dpi?

A. Your fax machine "scans" at 75 dpi. Most people find that sufficient. Standard industry scanning is done at 300 dpi. This is high enough to pick up most specks on a drawing. A 300 dpi scan adds a smoother "edge" to lines, but there is software available that can do the same task. Most people ask for 400 dpi scans and then want them de-speckled, which in effect reduces the specks that the additional 300 dpi just picked up! Also, file size is greater than 5x that of a 300 dpi when you scan at 400 dpi, let alone 600dpi. Finally, it also takes 3x as long or more to scan, so the cost is more.

Answer 2. Color. Scan Color documents @ 150 dpi, not 300 dpi. Why? Because color uses 48 bits to delineate the color spectrum. Black & White uses 2 bits. Therefore, the file "detail" is huge, resulting in a huge file size. Color @ 150 dpi "catches" almost all the gradients of the colors. Higher DPI results in even higher gradients. If you are just scanning standard Invoices with color on them, you don't need more than 64 "gradients" of Red or Green or Blue. Even photographs only have 254 gradients. Unless you intend to enlarge a file bigger than 11x17", the additional "colors" that you get from 300 dpi is not necessary and will just take up huge space on your storage server and slow your network down when retrieving the file.

Q. How many pages do I have to scan?

A. For a rule of thumb, 15,000 sheets of scanned 8.5 x11 paper (300 dpi) come from ONE file cabinet drawer (or shelf of the same size...)
A standard size (12"x12") bankers box has 3,500 images in it.

A lateral file drawer has 22,000 images in it.

Q. Why shouldn't I buy a scanner and do it myself ?

A. You can, we'll sell you one. Depending on your needs, about $1,000 will get you started.
Visit our high speed scanner section

Q. I need 100,000 pages scanned by next week.

A. We get this request about every other month. ScanTastik uses the most advanced equipment to scan documents, however, the documents are never in the condition needed to automate the process. In a perfect world, the documents would come in looking like a ream of new paper. In the imaging world, the documents come in stapled, torn, dog-eared, folded and unsorted. These conditions require document unassembled ($), scanning preparation($), manual scanning($), and finally, reassembly($). It takes many more 'man hours' to get the documents to the scanner and back into the box than it does to scan them, and time is money. If you want it now, expect to pay for it.

Q. I need these as a PDF.

A. Which one?
--The one for Adobe Acrobat.
No, which type of PDF?-- There are 40 variations of .pdf
This takes a whole page so please follow this link.

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