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 an AutoCAD image?
A. If you work on a computer aided drafting program such as AutoCad or Microstation, you are working with vector files. Vector files have intelligent data and entities. You can "pick up" an arc and move it to another part of the drawing. You can change the "font" style of the text. Each point on the drawing has a computer coordinate of X and Y (3D adds Z). These are vectors. Typical vector file formats include dwg, dxf, iges, and dgn. If you need to convert your scanned image into a vector file then you need our raster to vector conversion software. (another shameless plug)
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 300 dpi?
A. Your fax machine "scans" at 75 dpi. Most people find that sufficient. Standard industry scanning is done at 200 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 300 dpi scans and then want them de-speckled, which in effect reduces the specks that the additional 100 dpi just picked up! Also, file size is greater than 5x that of a 200 dpi when you scan at 400 dpi. Finally, it also takes 3x as long or more to scan, so the cost is more.
Q. How many pages do I have to scan?
A. For a rule of thumb, 15,000 sheets of scanned 8.5 x11 paper (200 dpi) come from ONE file cabinet drawer (or shelf of the same size...)
A standard size 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 $2,000 will get you started.
 Visit our high speed scanner section
Q. I need 100,000 pages scanned by next week.
A.  We get this request about every other month. ScanTastik uses the most advanced equipment to scan documents, however, the documents are never in the condition needed to automate the process. In a perfect world, the documents would come in looking like a ream of new paper. In the imaging world, the documents come in stapled, torn, dog-eared, folded and unsorted. These conditions require document unassembled ($), 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. We have 5,000 pages we want to scan into Word Documents.
A. ScanTastik uses OCR software to convert the scanned image into a text document, be it .DOC or .PDF extensions. We can create a full text search database. The price depends on the amount AND type of document not just size. A technical manual costs just as much as a legal document because they both have peculiar vocabularies which delay editing. Tables and charts are hard to recreate. Handwritten documents are obviously the most expensive. "Ours have a little of everything" does the price. Expect to send us samples for an accurate quote. Prices are HOURLY, NOT PER PAGE. PER PAGE PRICES ARE HIGHER. Scanning pages, OCR pages are automated. Editing, correcting and cleaning are manual and therefore hourly.

Q. I need these as a PDF.
A. Which one?
--  The one for Adobe acrobat.
No, which type of PDF?-- This takes a whole page so please follow this link.

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