Scanning Format Standards and Resolution

Format Standards

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a standard file format for storing scanned text-based records.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is a standard file format recommended for image-based records. TIFF is a widely supported uncompressed file format commonly used in desktop publishing, 3-D applications and medical imaging applications.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a standard file format used for storing scanned image-based records. JPEG files typically employ a lossy form of compression which causes some loss of quality in order to achieve a smaller file size. Differences in quality between the original and scanned image, including possible substitution of incorrect letters or numbers, should be considered before choosing this file format.

Resolution Guidelines

In all scenarios below, scanning density should be a minimum of 200 PPI (Pixels Per Square Inch)1 and 300 PPI is recommended.  A minimum of 300 PPI is recommended for engineering drawings, maps, and documents with a type font smaller than six point or with background detail.  Lossless compression should be used for these types of documents.

Color scanning should be avoided unless it specifically provides additional business value to the document.


1 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) refers to the number of pixels in one line having a length of 1 inch. PPI affects both print size and quality. A low PPI causes image pixelation resulting in poor image quality. The higher the PPI, the better the image quality.