Using ZIP Files

In our digital world of seemingly endless storage space on phones, multi-terabyte hard drives and available cloud storage, file compression still plays an important part in organizing and storing our digital information. Using file archives such as ZIP files to group and compress other files can help reduce our digital clutter and make information easier to find. A single ZIP file is easier to email or share as well as often reducing our storage space use.

Using ZIP Files

What is a ZIP File

Before you begin using ZIP files let’s explain what they are. You can think of these files like a folder on your computer. On your computer you can have one or more files in a folder as well as other folders (subfolders) containing yet more files and folders. A ZIP file is like this folder. It contains all of the files and subfolders and is seen as a single file. They also compress the files contained within, saving storage space compared to a folder of files.

A ZIP file stores the files using a lossless compression algorithm to encode the information by removing redundant data. This keeps the original data and quality while making the overall file size smaller.

Some files formats such as JPG images and MP3 music files are already compressed. Adding these files to a ZIP will not reduce their file size but does give you the advantage of storing multiple files as a single file.

Creating and Opening ZIP Files

You can identify a ZIP file by its .ZIP or .zip file extension. The icon for the file usually includes a zipper. Windows and Mac users can open and create these types of files without having to install extra software. Actions to create and extract these files are part of the file system.

On Windows creating it is as simple as selecting the desired files, or folder, and choosing the Zip action from the Share tab.

create zip files in Windows

The ZIP is created in the same location with the option to rename the file.

edit the name of the zip file

Extracting the contents of these files is just as simple. Selecting the file will show the Extract tab with tools for compressed folders. Use the Extract all action to pull out a copy of the contents out of the file and copy the files on to your computer. This action leaves the file archive untouched.

extract zip file on Windows

Other ZIP Software

There are both free and commercial programs available that create .zip, .7z, .tar and other file archive formats. Popular choices include 7-Zip, WinZip, PeaZip and Stuffit. These programs have additional features such as password protection and enhanced compression and encryption options. These benefits come at the expense of needing the software installed to open the archived files.

Choosing a ZIP Compression Format

The three most common types of compressed file archives are ZIP, 7z and TAR. Raster Image Printer, TIFF Image Printer and PDF Image Printer can automatically bundle the created files into one of these three types of file archives. Which compression format you choose depends on if you are looking for security and encryption, a high compression ratio or need accessibility across platforms.

The ability to create and extract ZIP archives is part of both the Windows and Mac operating systems. It can easily be added to Linux and Unix distributions. If you choose to create a ZIP archive you can be certain that the recipient of the file will be able to open it.

For maximum data compression and security options, create a 7z compressed file. 7z offers a higher compression ratio, password protection and AES-256 encryption. These extra features make 7z a popular choice for both its reliability and file integrity.

TAR archives originated on Unix systems but can be used on Windows and Mac as well. A TAR archive compresses all of the files together as a whole, not individually like ZIP and 7z. Accessing any file in the archive means decompressing, or extracting the entire archive.

Advantages of Creating ZIP Files

Email

Email providers usually have a size limit when attaching files. When sending large files you often need to compress them first. If you need to email multiple files, it is easier for you and the recipient if you can email a singe file. Bundling multiple files into a single ZIP file also creates a smaller file for emailing. Smaller files also upload and download faster.

Sharing in the Cloud

For similar reasons as when sending email, uploading files to an internal file share, Google Workspace, OneDrive or Dropbox is more efficient if we compress the files to a single file of smaller size first. It is easier for co-workers to access a singe file and also helps save on your cloud storage use.

Save Space and Reduce Clutter

Even though large hard drives are now fairly cheap, it is still good practice to free up drive space by zipping files that we don’t use often. Grouping various files and folders into a single file reduces file clutter and makes it easier to find, store and backup your data.

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Combine Files Into a PDF File

Combine files to a single PDF file and reap the many advantages. Reducing our digital clutter from different applications. emails from co-workers and clients, and file sharing sites has a direct impact on our day-to-day productivity. It is easier to search for information in a single file than in many files in a single folder. Even more so when many files spread across many folders are combined into a single PDF file.

PDF Image Printer and Raster Image Printer make combining files from different applications into a single PDF file easy.

Combine Files into PDF with Control

You are in control of the order of the files and pages in your PDF. To combine files to a single PDF file, simply enable append mode and print your files to your image printer in the order you want the pages to appear in your new PDF file. Save your new PDF in the same output folder with the same filename each time to add each document to the end of the file.

Creating the Append Printer Profile

Both image printers include several different printer profiles with common conversion settings for that printer. The Append mode feature is always off by default. You need to create a new profile and turn on append mode to combine files to a single PDF.

Step by Step Instructions

The first step is to open the Dashboard by double-clicking the desktop shortcut for your printer.

Launch Dashboard for PDF Image Printer

The Dashboard displays license information and tiles to access different tools and resources. From here select the Edit & Create Profiles tile to open the Profile Manager tool.

Open Profile Manager to create a new profile

Adding the New Profile

The main screen of the Profile Manager lists all of the available printer profiles. This includes profiles provided by PEERNET and any personal profiles you have created. To enable append mode so you can combine files to PDF you need to create a new personal profile.

You can copy an existing profile using the copy icon on the tile. You can also create a new profile using the Add new profile button in the upper left corner.

Create a new profile or copy an existing one

Enabling Append Mode

The next step is to edit the name of our new profile, and add a description for it. Then we will turn on append mode.

Select the Save Options tab from the list on the left. Enable the Append pages to an existing file option and make sure the Output Type is set to create PDF Multipaged.

Turn on append to combine files into PDF

To Prompt or Not to Prompt When Combining Files into PDF

When combining files to a single PDF file, each time you print a file to the image printer the output location and file name used to save the new PDF file must be the same to add the new pages to the end of the file.

You can do this on-the-fly using the Save As prompt that appears each time you print. If you need to combine different sets of files into separate PDF files in various locations this is the best approach. The Save As prompt always opens to the last used folder.

Alternatively, you can set the location and file name in the profile to always use the same folder and filename This approach is useful when you are creating a PDF file that is then moved or picked up as part of a workflow or other task.

Set the same output location and file name to combine files into PDF

Set the same output location and file name to combine files into PDF

Turn off Save As prompt when combining files to a single PDF

Now that the append settings are in the profile, save it, close the Profile Manager then return to the Dashboard.

Setting the Printer Profile to Combine Files Into PDF

Back on the Dashboard click on “Manage Printers” to open the Printer Management screen.

Open Printer Management

The Print Management window will list all copies of your Raster or PDF Image Printers and is quick way to set the profile the printer will use when creating output. If you’ve just installed you will only have one printer, either PDF Image Printer 12 or Raster Image Printer 12.

From here, select your new Append PDF profile from the printer profile drop box next to the printer name.

Set printer to use profile to combine files into PDF

Next, click the Save icon beside the list of profiles to save the changes.

Save changes to the printer settings


From here we can now close Printer Management and the Dashboard. The printer is now set to append PDF files together when the same output location and file name are used to name the new file.

Close Printer Management and return to Dashboard

Print Documents to Combine Files into PDF

Open the first document you want in your combined PDF file. Here we are showing a Word document as an example. You can print any document you want.

Once open, go to File-Print from the application to select printing options. Choose PDF Image Printer 12 (or Raster Image Printer 12) from the list of printers then click the Print button to send the document to the printer.

Print to printer to combine files into PDF

A Save File prompt will pop up allowing you to choose where to save your new PDF file. The default location is your Documents folder; you can change this to a different folder if needed.

In the Filename field, type the name for your combined PDF file. You will use this name each time you print a file you want to add to your new PDF file. The new file name is based on the original document name when possible.

Leave the Save as type set to your append profile created above.

The Save as type drop box below the name field is already set to use the Append Profile created above; we set printer to use this profile in Print Management above.

Create pdf from first document

Print the next file in the sequence to Image Printer. Select the same output location and file name to append to the file we created above.

Add new pages to combine files into PDF

Continue printing any other files you want to combine into your single PDF file until you have added them all.

Your PDF file is now ready to share, email, or archive.

Conclusion

The Image Printers make merging files from many different sources into a single file simple. Furthermore, you can easily integrate creating these types of files into your workflow. Download a trial of TIFF, PDF or Raster today.

Merge Files to TIFF or PDF

Learning how to merge files to TIFF or PDF is simple and the benefits are many. In todays world of digital files from multiple applications, emails and cloud-based document sharing, managing our digital clutter has a direct impact on our workflow and productivity.

Merge files to TIFF or PDF

Merging multiple documents to a single TIFF or PDF allows for better organization and easier file sharing. It also means less files to store and manage.

The PEERNET family of image printers has always been able to combine multiple files into a single TIFF file. Now, starting with the release of 12.0.015, our users can now also combine multiple files into a single PDF file.

When Would I Need to Merge Files?

If you’re reading this, chances are it’s because you already need to merge files and want to learn how. What you might not know is the many ways combining files can help in your daily tasks.

Both TIFF images and Adobe PDF files have a multi-paged format that stores multiple pages in a single file. Which file format you use depends on your requirements and we discuss that later below.

Merge from Different Applications

One of the most common reasons to merge files to TIFF or PDF is to combine information from different applications into a single file. Perhaps you have medical records from different applications and need to store them as a single file for archiving. Or you need to combine different reports and spreadsheets to share with a client or co-worker for review.

Merge Existing TIFF or PDF Together

Merging files isn’t always about combining different files types into a TIFF or PDF file. You can also merge existing TIFF and PDF files into a single document. You can mix existing TIFF or PDF files with other files types to create your final TIFF or PDF document. Many times you will need to combine a mix of different files, including TIFF images and PDF documents.

One advantage of our image printers is their ability to take documents with different page sizes, orientation and color and create a single document with the same page size, orientation and color for each page. When dealing with files and documents from various sources, this allows for combining all pages into a single, uniform and consistent file for easy viewing.

Advantages of Merging to TIFF or PDF

Less is More

Instead of scattered files in multiple folders and locations, combining all files for an in-house project, client review, insurance case or other task will increase productivity. No more searching for the correct file or opening up multiple files in different applications to get the information you are looking for. That also assumes you have the application needed to open up all of the files, which may not be the case. Merging all files into a single TIFF or PDF document means you only need one application to open the file, and all of the information is in one place.

This can also help to free up storage space. Both formats have compression options that can reduce the size of the final saved document. Less files, less space and easier access is a winning combination.

Viewing Across Devices

The days of needing a desktop computer for all our daily tasks are no more. Tablets, phones and other devices are now more the norm than the exception. That means our documents need to be easily viewable on different devices running different operating systems – Android, Chrome, iOS to name a few.

The Word document and Excel spreadsheet you created so carefully for your project may not be viewable on an Android phone or tablet. They may not look correct when viewed on an Apple iPad even if your target audience can open the file. PDF documents or TIFF images, however, usually have standard viewers available on all devices. Merging your documents into a TIFF or PDF allows your document to be opened and viewed as intended, no matter which type of device is used.

Online File Sharing and Email

Online file sharing services OneDrive, Google Workspace and Dropbox have made huge jumps in popularity and usage over the last few years. They are now widely in use by companies, schools and home users alike. Rather than uploading multiple files, it is faster, and easier, to upload a single file. The same is true about group-chat software such as Microsoft Teams or Slack. Many of these services have mobile apps for tablets and phones as well as traditional desktop applications. Using a merged TIFF or PDF means the documents are easily viewable from inside the file sharing or group-chat app on any device.

In the same vein, emailing documents to co-workers and clients is far simpler when there is only one file to attach. Using a merged PDF or TIFF also provides assurance to the person receiving the email will be able to open and read the file.

Printing

The switch to online file sharing and the growing popularity of a paperless office has reduced our need to physically print files as part of our day to day tasks. However, there are times when a printed copy is needed. It is far easier to print a single file than to open and print multiple files individually from separate applications.

Should I Merge Files to TIFF or PDF?

TIFF images were an industry standard for document archiving in the legal, banking and insurance industries for a long time. While they are slowly being replaced with PDF files, many places still use TIFF images today. Faxing software and online fax services also relied on specially formatted TIFF images. Today they often support both TIFF and PDF.

Each page in a TIFF image is picture of the page. This means that text and images cannot be easily copied nor can they be changed. This provides a level of security for the file contents. TIFF images provide lossless compression, producing high-quality, readable files.

Most computers have built-in applications for viewing TIFF images, but not all image viewers can properly view multipage TIFF images.

PDF files are becoming the new industry standard for sharing files. They are slowly replacing the use of TIFF images in many archiving and content management systems. With built-in PDF viewers or Adobe Reader available on most computers, PDF files are viewable by pretty much everyone.

Additionally, if desired, you can create PDF files where you can search and copy text inside the file. TIFF images are not searchable unless they are part of a content management system with Optical Character Recognition applied. Security options inside PDF allow setting passwords for opening the file. Other individual permissions on copying content, printing, and changing the document are also available.

Conclusion

Now that you know the benefits of merging files into a TIFF or PDF file and how they can improve your workflow and productivity, have a look at our image printers. See how they can help you make merging files from many different sources into a single file a simple task. Download a trial of TIFF, PDF or Raster today.

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Add Custom Actions When Converting Documents

Converting documents and images from one format to another is often part of an overall document workflow. It is usually just one part of a sequence of steps and custom actions to automate converting, processing, and storing documents. Your workflow may need to start an application before conversion begins. More common is the need to pick up the created files for further processing. Another common step is creating trigger files that other applications look for to know when to start a particular task.

With PEERNET’s TIFF Image PrinterRaster Image Printer and PDF Image Printer you can add multiple custom actions that occur at different stages of conversion. A custom action can run another program or a batch or script file or it can signal an event to another program. Each stage has a separate collection of custom actions that run-in order. Each action runs to completion before the next action starts. Custom actions are stored in conversion profiles, along with other information

use custom actions when converting documents

Type of Commands for Custom Actions

Commands can be batch files (.bat), executables (.exe) or command (.com). The image printer software provides batch files for some common tasks such as moving and renaming files or file extensions.  You can also create and use your own custom programs (executables) or batch files.

Environment variables and registry keys can make up all or part of the paths and parameters for the custom actions. Environment variables and registry keys are useful when setting up generic custom actions that work for all users, when creating custom printer setups, or automating the printing.

Instead of running a command, you can also use custom actions to signal an event. An event is similar to a raised flag on a mailbox that lets you know you have mail. A signaled event lets another program know that a particular action has occurred. With events, you can communicate information about the different stages of file conversion to your own programs.

Custom Action Stages When Converting Documents

As the document to image or PDF conversion takes place by printing the file, we also refer to the custom action stages as printing stages. The document, when sent to a printer, is a print job. Printers hold on to the submitted print jobs in a print queue. Each print job starts, is converted to an image, or fails, and then leaves the print queue. This provides four stages where you can add custom actions – Start of Job, Print Job Succeeded, Print Job Failed and End of Job.

1. Start of Job

This stage is when the document, now a print job, enters the print queue. The custom action entered in this stage will run every time a print job enters the print queue. One use for this custom action is to ensure a single-instance program that processes the created files is running.

2. Print Job Succeeded

At this stage all the images or PDF files have been successfully created. Any custom action run in this stage also receives the full path to a text file (pnf-[GUIID].txt) containing a list of the generated files as the last argument in additional to any specified arguments provided in the custom action. This text file can contain zero or more lines. Each line is the full path to a file generated by the Image Printer. Use this stage to pass the list of created files to your own programs for processing.

3. Print Job Failed

Custom actions set on this stage run when a print job has failed, such as when out of disk space. Custom actions here also have the full path to a text file (pnf-[GUIID].txt) containing a list of the generated files appended as the last argument.

4. End of Job

This stage occurs when the print job is removed from the print queue. Custom actions in the End of Job stage always run, no matter if the print job succeeds or fails.

Custom Action Variables

These variables pass information from the conversion process to a custom action as arguments in the parameters list. They expand to their actual values when running the command. A brief overview of the variables provided is below. Variables start with the characters ‘$(‘ and end with ‘)’; the text in between describes the variable and is case sensitive.

To pass the output directory as a parameter to a command you would use $(OutputDir) or $(OutputDirNoQuotes). Query the success or failure state of the job using $(JobStatus), while $(PrintedPageCount) will give you a count of the pages printed. Other macros are available for unique identifiers, print job information and date and time of conversion. You can find a detailed listing in the Run Commands Macros section of the online user guide.

Adding a Custom Action to Process Converted Documents

After the images have been converted, what do you do with them? With custom actions the answer is anything you want or need to do. Some of the more common tasks that our customer have done are the following, to give you an idea:

  • Upload them to a document storage system
  • Update a database
  • Send a message to a web service
  • Create index or trigger files in the format needed for pickup by another process

To process the converted documents add your custom action to the Print Job Succeeded stage. You can add more than one action. Actions run to completion and in the order you choose. Action run in this stage always pass a text file listing the full path of each of the created file(s) as the last argument to the command.

If you are building a custom action executable or batch file from the ground up take advantage of the text file containing the list of created files that is passed to process the files as needed. Use the built-in variables, environment variables, registry keys or text to pass in other information and parameters.

custom action using generated list of files and printed page count variable

If you have existing applications or command line tools that wants the path to the file to process, a utility has been provided that processes our text file and calls your program with the path to the file, and any other arguments needed. Two new custom action variables are available to specify the filename in the argument list, $(OutputFilePath) and $(OutputFilePathNoQuotes).

custom action using built in tool to pass file name as parameter

Custom Actions Using Environment Variables

Custom actions can use Environment variables in the path to the command and in the parameters passed to the command. Environment variables expand to their real when running the custom action. They are specified using the syntax %VARIABLE%. There are many well know system variables, %USERPROPFILE%, %TEMP% and %USERNAME% to list a few.

You can also create and use your own system or user environment variables. Variables must be spelled correctly but are not case sensitive. Custom environment variables need to be created on each computer where they are used.

adding custom environment variables

Use your environment variable in the path to the custom action. A preview shows what the variable expands to when possible. This lets you access tools and other custom actions stored in different locations for different users, as long as the environment variable for the user is set to the correct path for that user. You can also use environment variables in the parameter list.

custom action location specified with user environment variable

Custom Actions Using Registry Keys

Using a registry key in a custom action is very similar to using environment variables. They have their own syntax of $[registry key] where registry key is a complete path to a valid registry key. The information in the registry key is up to you. Take care when deciding where in the registry to store the key; anyone running a conversion with the custom action will need permission to read the key.

The names used for the keys can be whatever what makes the most sense to you. Here we are using ConmmandToRun and CommandParameters but you could use Utility and Arguments instead. The information, or value of the key can be any text you need to inject into the command or its parameters. It does need to be a REG_SZ, or string key containing text.

adding registry keys for custom action command and parameters

Use the $[registry key] syntax to set the command to run and the command parameters. The complete path to a valid registry key value must appear inside the square brackets, including the value name as the last item.

custom action command and parameters set using registry key values

Signaling an Event from a Custom Action

A custom action can signal an event to your own application. Your application creates and waits on the events, the driver only opens and signals them. To signal to your application that your files are ready to process use an event as the custom action in the Print Job Succeeded stage.

Add a custom action event using the special syntax: {EventName}, where EventName is the name of the event that you want to signal. Create a matching event in your application that waits for the signal from the custom action step when converting a document. The curly braces tell us this is an event, and not a command to run.

Event names can be up to 260 characters and are case sensitive. Use the global namespace prefix, Global\ when creating events.

custom action to signal event on success

Conclusion

Custom actions provide a lot of flexibility when integrating document conversion into your day to day document management. Built-in commands, calling external tools for other applications and writing your own customized tools when necessary allow you to make PEERNET’s TIFF Image PrinterRaster Image Printer and PDF Image Printer work for you.

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Create Non-Searchable Adobe PDF/A Files

Non-searchable PDF/A files are specialized PDF files that conform to the ISO standards for archiving and long-term preservation of electronic documents. This standard ensures that the document will always be visually correct.  When creating PDF/A compliant PDF documents, security options are ignored, LZW compression is not allowed and is replaced with ZIP, and all required font information is embedded into the PDF file. The file is self-contained and includes all information needed to display the file.

In Raster Image Printer and PDF Image Printer, you can only create PDF/A files when you are creating non-searchable, or image-based, PDF files. The setting for creating a non-searchable file is configured on the profile’s Save tab.

The PDF/A setting is configured on the Compression tab in the profile.

Step by Step Instructions

In this step by step, we are demonstrating using Raster Image Printer but the same steps are identical in PDF Image Printer.

  1. Launch the Dashboard.
LaunchDashboard-RAS
  1. Select “Edit & Create Profiles” to open Profile Manager.
  2. Create a copy of the Non-Searchable PDF system profile. It already creates non-searchable PDF files; we only need to enable the PDF/A compliance option in our copy.
CreatePDFACompliantCopySystemProfile-RAS
  1. Rename the profile, add a description, and click Save.
  2. On the Save Options tab, note that the option Create each page of the PDF as an image is already enabled. You can only create PDF/A compliant files when this option is enabled.
CreatePDFACompliantCreateAsImage-RAS
  1. On the Compression tab, under PDF/A Compliance, drop the box next to Create with this PDF/A level and select PDF/A-1b.
CreatePDFACompliantChoosePDFA-RAS
  1. Click Save-Back, and close Profile Manager.

If you plan to use these settings regularly, you may wish to make this personal profile the default profile used by your image printer.

  • Select the printer you wish to edit and use the Profile drop box to select your desired default profile.
  • Select “Manage Printers” to open Printer Management.
  • Select the Save icon to save changes.
  • Select the Home icon to return to the Dashboard.
  1. Close the Dashboard. Now when you print your document to your image printer, you will be creating PDF/A compliant PDF files.
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Convert Any Document to an Image or PDF

There are many reasons why you would need to convert a document to an image or PDF file. You may need to share the document with co-workers who can’t open the original file. Perhaps you need them to review the document but not be able to make changes. You may need to create a particular image format as a requirement of your document archiving system. Electronic discovery and digital faxing services also often have specific requirements when uploading images to store or fax.

convert any document to image or pdf

Using a Printer to Convert Documents

With Raster Image Printer you can convert any document you can print to over a dozen image formats. Among the available formats are the popular TIFF, PNG, and JPG images formats, and older specialized formats PCX, DCX and CALS. Additionally, you can also create searchable, non-searchable and PDF/A format Adobe PDF documents. Instead of printing paper copies to scan, save time by using our virtual printer for your image and PDF creation. A virtual printer creates digital copies of the pages you print as files on your computer.

Should I Convert to PDF or Image?

You may already know what file type you need to create or you may have never heard of that format until today. If you have no idea why or when you would use one format over another, keep reading. We’ve outlined the commonly used formats below to help you understand the differences.

You also need to know if if you need to create multi-paged files or serialized files. Most image formats create serialized files where each page of your document becomes a single image file on disk. A four page document will result in 4 images created and named using their page number in sequence. A multi-paged file is a single file that contains all of the pages of the printed document.

Adobe PDF files and TIFF images create both multi-paged and serialized files. JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, PCX and CALS will create serialized files.

PDF Files (.pdf)

Adobe PDF files have become an industry standard for sharing information. They are viewable by pretty much anyone, on any computer. Windows and Mac computers both come with built in PDF viewers, and Adobe provides the free Acrobat Reader for viewing and annotating PDF files. This format is the most universal for sharing documents.

raster PDF file will store each page in the file as an image. Storing each page as an image can create a larger file on disk. The advantage is that the pages will always display correctly. This also preserves the file contents and prevents the person reading the file from changing or copying text on the pages. On the other hand, this also keeps the use from being able to search for text in the file.

If you want to be able to search for or copy text in the PDF file when viewing it, you need to create searchable, or vector PDF files. Most of the PDF files people use every day are vector PDF. By storing each page as a set of instructions on how to draw the text and graphic the file size is usually smaller. The drawback to vector PDF files that embedding the font information to make sure the page displays properly can also increase the file size.

TIFF (.tif)

TIFF is a popular format for document storage and electronic discovery systems in use by insurance companies, banks and law firms. Additionally, faxing software and online fax services use TIFF images formatted specifically for faxing. Known for its lossless compression, it allows converting your documents to a very high quality, readable image. This makes them popular for desktop publishing and printing, but not suitable for web images due to their large size. TIFF images can be black and white, greyscale and color.

JPEG (.jpg)

JPEG images are best known for digital photo storage. but are often used when converting documents to images simply due to their small file size. When storing a JPEG the image is compressed using a lossy compression method that decreases the image quality as the file size is reduced. The lossy compression used to store JPEG image data means that the image quality will decrease as the file size gets smaller. Stored You can adjust the level of compression to find a balance between file size and quality.

CompuServe PNG (.png)

PNG images are a popular format when creating images for the web. Originally a replacement for GIF images for transferring images on the internet, they have more colors and support lossless compression which gives a better quality image for use on web pages. They are not suitable for print-quality graphics.

CompuServe GIF (.gif)

An older format, GIFs store images using a limited number of colors, leading to a smaller file size. This makes them suitable for when images need to load quickly, and with simpler images with logos and solid areas of color. They are not the best choice when your documents have color photographs or color gradients. Once a popular image format for use on web pages, it is slowly being replaced with the higher quality PNG images.

Windows BMP (.bmp)

Microsoft created the BMP image format to store and display high-quality images in color or black and white. An uncompressed raster file, it works best for photos, icons and screen shots, but can create a larger file than a JPG or GIF.

ZSoft PCX (.pcx) and DCX (.dcx)

PCX, and its multipage format, DCX are older image format that were used in faxing and scanning software. This image format supports color, greyscale and indexed and black and white images. Usage of this format has largely been replaced with newer image formats such as BMP, JPEG and PNG.

CALS Type 1 (.cal)

Developed by the United States Department of Defense (DoD), this image format is used to store black and white image data for document imaging and storage. It was part of the Continuous Acquisition and Life-cycle Support (CALS) initiative to define a standard for storing image data.

How to Convert a Document to Image or PDF

Raster Image Printer makes it easy to convert any document to an image or PDF file. Print to it from any application and instead of paper copies it will create images on disk. Watch the video tutorial or follow along the steps below to see how easy this is.

First, you will need to open the file you want to print. Here, we have a Word document open that we want to print and convert to a TIFF image. As you normally would to print your file, the next step is to select File then Print. Secondly, select Raster Image Printer 12 from the list of printers that you can print to.

After printing the Save File prompt appears. From this dialog, choose where to save your file, and what to name it. The default folder chosen is the My Documents folder. Your document file name, when available, is used as the name of the new file.

In the Save as type dropdown select the system conversion profile Color Optimized TIFF to create a color TIFF image.

Click the Save button to create your TIFF images. As easy as that, you’ve created your image.

Other system profiles provided with the printer are Monochrome TIFF, Fax TIFF, Adobe PDF, Non-Searchable PDF, and Color Optimized JPEG. A conversion profile contains of all the settings used to create the image or PDF, options on where to save it, what file type to create, if the Save As prompt should be shown and many, many more. We’ve used a built-in one here but you can create as many profiles as you need using the profile manager included with the printer.

Conclusion

This was a brief introduction on PDF files and different image types and why or when you use them. With this new knowledge under your belt you can make an informed choice when sharing documents with co-workers, and converting documents to images or PDF for long term storage, faxing and other document content systems. Raster Image Printer is a powerful image converter that works from any application and gives you the flexibility to create the file you need today and in the future, try it now!

tiff-raster-pdf-imageprinter-feature-image

Exporting and Importing Custom Profiles

If you have created a custom profile for your image printer that you wish to share with other users, it is easy to save the custom profile from your computer, so that other users can then load the custom profile onto their computers to use to convert files.

TIFF Image PrinterRaster Image Printer and PDF Image Printer provide an easy to use User Interface, through the Profile Manager accessed from the Dashboard, to export the custom profile and then import onto other computers that are running the image printer.

Step by Step Instructions

Export

  1. Launch the Dashboard.
LaunchDashboard
  1. Select “Edit & Create Profiles” to open Profile Manager.
OpenProfileManager
  1. Select “Edit this profile” to open the personal profile that you want to save.
EditProfile
  1. Select “Export profile”, and name and save the file.
ExportProfile

Import

  1. Install and activate the image printer on the new computer.
  2. Launch the Dashboard.
LaunchDashboard
  1. Select “Edit & Create Profiles” to open Profile Manager.
OpenProfileManager
  1. Select “Import a Profile” and browse to the file that you want to restore.
ImportProfile
  1. Close Profile Manager.

If you plan to use these settings regularly, you may wish to make this imported profile the default profile used by the image printer.

  • Select the printer you wish to edit and use the Profile drop box to select your desired default profile.
  • Select “Manage Printers” to open Printer Management.
  • Select the Save icon to save changes.
  • Select the Home icon to return to the Dashboard.
  1. Close the Dashboard. Now when you print a document to the image printer, the custom settings in the restored personal profile will be applied to the created file.
tiff-raster-pdf-imageprinter-feature-image

Send Email on Conversion Failure

TIFF Image PrinterRaster Image Printer and PDF Image Printer feature the option to send an email, using either SMTP or Outlook, when a file fails to convert successfully.

This functionality is useful in cases where you want to be notified if a conversion failure occurs, so you can investigate the failure. For example, you are converting files as part of an automated process (no user interaction) with the profile configured to overwrite existing files and one of the existing files is set to read-only, so it cannot be overwritten. This would cause a conversion failure since the image printer cannot successfully save the newly created file over the read-only protected file. The image printer can be configured to send an email to notify one or more email addresses of the conversion failure.

Step by Step Instructions

In this step by step, we are demonstrating using TIFF Image Printer but the same steps are identical in Raster Image Printer and PDF Image Printer.

  1. Launch the Dashboard.
LaunchDashboard
  1. Select “Edit & Create Profiles” to open Profile Manager.
  2. Select “Add a profile” to create a personal profile, or create a copy of one of our system profiles.
  3. Name the profile, add a description, and click Save.
  4. On the Email tab, under Use this mail service, select Outlook or SMTP.
  • If you select Outlook, the application must be installed and an email account created in order to send email.
  • If you select SMTP, click the Settings button to open the SMTP Settings flyout. The server name, port, connection type and any required authentication settings for your SMTP server should be available from your IT department or your email provider. See SMTP Settings for more details on this panel.
SendEmailFailureOutlook
  1. Select On Failure and enable Send email when conversion fails
SendEmailOutlookEnableFailure
  1. Enter your desired Message Details (if you are not using an Outlook template). The Message Details parts To, Subject, and Message are required.
SendEmailFailureMsgDetails
  1. Click Save-Back, and close Profile Manager.

If you plan to use these settings regularly, you may wish to make this personal profile the default profile used by your image printer.

  • Select the printer you wish to edit and use the Profile drop box to select your desired default profile.
  • Select “Manage Printers” to open Printer Management.
  • Select the Save icon to save changes.
  • Select the Home icon to return to the Dashboard.
  1. Close the Dashboard. Now when you print your document to your image printer, you will receive an email notification after a failed conversion.
tiff-raster-pdf-imageprinter-feature-image

Backup and Restore All Printers and Profiles

TIFF Image PrinterRaster Image Printer and PDF Image Printer use profiles to control the creation of the output file or image. A profile is a group of settings that contains information about the type of file to create, where the file should be saved, how it is named and many other settings and actions.

If you have made significant customizations to your image printer settings, such as creating several personal profiles and/or creating multiple copies of the image printer with custom names and default profiles, or locked shared profile to a printer, you may want to save all of your image printer settings by running a backup, which can then be used to restore these settings if the computer is reformatted or replaced. The backup can also be used to load the custom printers/profiles onto other computers. Thus saving you time in having to recreate the printers and profiles on the computers.

Step by Step Instructions

In this step by step, we are demonstrating using TIFF Image Printer but the same steps are identical in the Raster Image Printer and the PDF Image Printer.

Export

  1. Launch the Dashboard.
LaunchDashboard
  1. Click the gear icon from the top right hand corner of the Dashboard window, and select “Export Printer Settings”.
ExportPrinterSettings
  1. Under Choose Printers, choose if you want to export all printers, or disable “Export all printers” and check the printers you want to export. Exporting printers is helpful if you have changed the default profile for your image printer, or if you have created a custom printer.  If you do not have permissions to export any printers, this area will be empty.
ExportPrinterSettingsChoosePrinters
  1. Under Choose Profiles, choose here what personal and shared profiles you want to export.
  2. For your personal profiles you can export all of them, or disable “Export all personal profiles” and check only the personal profiles you want to export. Profiles in use by a printer being exported cannot be unselected. If you have no personal profiles, this section will be empty.
ExportPrinterSettingsChooseProfiles
  1. For any shared profiles, again you can export all of them, or disable “Export all shared profiles” and check only the shared profiles you want to export. If a shared profiles is in use by a printer being exported it cannot be unselected. If you have no shared profiles, this section will be empty.
ExportPrinterSettingsChooseSharedProfiles
  1. Select Start Export, and save the export file.
ExportPrinterSettingsStartExport
ExportPrinterSettingsExporting

Import

  1. Install and activate your image printer on the new computer.
  2. Launch the Dashboard.
LaunchDashboard
  1. Click the gear icon from the top right hand corner of the Dashboard window, and select “Import Printer Settings”.
ImportPrinterSettings
  1. Select Load Printer Settings and browse to where you saved the settings file.
ImportPrinterSettingsImporting
  1. Under Choose Printers, choose if you want to import all printers, or disable “Import all printers” and check the printers you want to import. By default, when the printer already exists, the import function will “Update the existing printer”. You can change this to “Create a copy of the imported printer” instead.
ImportPrinterSettingsChoosePrinters
  1. Under Choose Profiles, choose here what personal and shared profiles you want to import.
  2. For your personal profiles you can import all of them, or disable “Import saved personal profiles” and check the personal profiles you want to import. By default, when the profile already exists, the import function will “Create a copy of the imported profile”. You can change this to “Update the existing profile” instead. Profiles in use by a printer being imported cannot be unselected. If no personal profiles are included in the exported settings, this section will be empty.
ImportPrinterSettingsChooseProfiles
  1. Next, for any shared profiles, choose if you want to import all of them or disable “Import saved shared profiles” and check the shared profiles you want to import. By default, when the profile already exists, the import function will “Update the existing profile”. You can change this to “Create a copy of the imported profile” instead. Profiles in use by a printer being imported cannot be unselected. If no shared profiles are included in the exported settings, this section will be empty.
ImportPrinterSettingsChooseSharedProfiles
  1. Select Start Import.
ImportPrinterSettingsStartImport
  1. When complete, the results, of the import actions are listed. If any errors occur during the import, they will be shown here as well.
ImportPrinterSettingsStatus
  1. Close the Dashboard. Now when you print a document to your image printer, the custom settings you restored will be available.
tiff-raster-pdf-imageprinter-feature-image

Adding Custom Border to Created File

The Adding Borders to Page feature on the Page Resizing tab in TIFF Image PrinterRaster Image Printer and PDF Image Printer, can be used to add a custom-colored margin around the page. This feature will shrink the page contents to fit inside the bordered area.

A common use of this feature would be to create a white border in order to create space to add a watermark to the header or footer of a page where the page contents previously went right to the edge of the page or had small margins.

All border settings are controlled through the profile.

Step by Step Instructions

In this step by step, we are demonstrating using TIFF Image Printer but the same steps are identical in the Raster Image Printer and the PDF Image Printer.

  1. Launch the Dashboard.
LaunchDashboard
  1. Select “Edit & Create Profiles” to open Profile Manager.
  2. Select “Add a profile” to create a personal profile, or create a copy of one of our system profiles.
  3. Name the profile, add a description, and click Save.
  4. On the Page Resizing tab, under Add Borders to Page, enable Add a custom border to the page.
AddBordersToPage
  1. For each side of the page, LeftTopRight and Bottom, enter your desired border size. You can change the units by selecting Settings from the top right hand corner of the Profile Manager window, and toggling between inches (in) and centimeters (cm).
AddBordersToPageSize
  1. Select your desired border color either by using the color picker, entering the hex color code, or entering the RGBA color code. Note that the A slider will allow you to adjust the transparency of the border color.
AddBordersToPageColor
  1. Click Save-Back, and close Profile Manager.

If you plan to use these settings regularly, you may wish to make this personal profile the default profile used by your image printer.

  • Select the printer you wish to edit and use the Profile drop box to select your desired default profile.
  • Select “Manage Printers” to open Printer Management.
  • Select the Save icon to save changes.
  • Select the Home icon to return to the Dashboard.
  1. Close the Dashboard. Now when you print your document to your image printer, the page contents will be shrunk down to fit within your designated border size and color.