Which document scanning format is best: Tiff vs PDF

If you are regularly scanning documents one of the biggest decisions that you have to make is using the right file type. Both Tiff and PDF files can help you go digital in just a matter of seconds. Knowing the differences in the file formats can give your business an advantage.


TIFF image files were created in the mid 1980s. Aldus Corporation began scanning images in black and white as well as their faxes into a fully digital format. Today TIFF can be grayscale or color and there are a number of advantages that can come with using TIFF over PDF.

Document retrieval:

TIFF files can be significantly smaller than a pdf and converted into a single page. In most cases you can view a TIFF file much faster because it's quicker to index.

Adding details: Adding signature forms, new pages, amendments and more can be fairly simple to do on a single page TIFF compared to a PDF.


As TIFF is heavily compressed it can use far less storage space than the average PDF. This means that if you have a very large number of files, scanning them in TIFF early on can save you space.


PDF is the newer file format having been created in the year 1993. PDF has become one of the biggest standards for document scanning and it has mass compatibility with many different applications.

Mass compatibility:

There are multiple formats including PDF for print, transactional printing, engineering and archiving and PDF’s can be easily viewed in many applications.

Better Web support:

If you need a form for the web, PDF is the standard.

More secure:

PDF is also the legal requirement for compliance and signing. The document is viewable across any type of OS and this makes it best for legal forms.

Keep these factors in mind when choosing a file type. Contact us to discuss your project.

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