TIFF Image Conversion and Viewers
Snowbound Software’s extensive experience working with TIFF images has led us to develop software that views and converts to and from the TIFF format and all of its associated compression algorythms (see chart below) with great precision and speed.
What Is The TIFF Format?
TIFF (.tiff or .tif) or Tagged Image File Format is a common and comprehensive format for storing and sending raster graphics (bitmap) across computer networks on a great variety of computer platforms. TIFF was developed in 1986 by the Aldus Corporation (which is now part of Adobe) as a means of establishing a standard method of storing black-and-white scanned documents and faxes. Today, TIFF files are still most often used for black and white images for the digitization of documents. Many additions have been made to the format since inception for gray-scale and color images and documents to support the needs of document processing, graphic design, desktop publishing and medical imaging.
There are several advantages to using TIFF:
- It is a platform-independent format, therefore usable on all computing platforms including PCs and Macs
- TIFF is very flexible in supporting many different information fields (meta tags) and compression schemes
- It is a lossless image format, meaning no image quality is lost when the image is digitized
- TIFF supports multiple formats, enabling multiple pages that might include black and white, gray-scale and color documents to be saved as a single TIFF file instead of several files
- One of the biggest benefits to using TIFF lies in the fact almost every image-editing program can create or save a file in TIFF format though support for multiple pages and all the various compression schemes may require 'professional strength' programs.
TIFF files are composed of three unique data structures:
Image File Header - defines the image size (height and width), number of colors (bit depth), and other information needed to display the image
Image file directory - data structure within a TIFF file containing information on multiple images stored in that TIFF file. A TIFF file can have many IFDs
Bitmap Data - pixel by pixel information
The Evolution of TIFF
This first release of TIFF was the third major revision of the TIFF format and was thought of as TIFF Revision 3.0. However, in April 1987 they released the first real widely used revision, TIFF 4.0. It was quickly followed up with TIFF 5.0 in August 1988. TIFF 5.0 enhanced the Compression of grayscale and color images along with adding two new tags to more fully define the characteristics of full color RGB data. In June 1992, TIFF 6.0 was released and support for CMYK and YCbCr color images and the JPEG compression method was added. There are currently no patents for TIFF however Adobe Systems holds the copyright for the TIFF specification.
Snowbound Document Viewers & Converters for TIFF:
- RasterMaster Imaging SDK – Build TIFF viewing, manipulation, and conversion, including searchable TIFF files, into your applications
- VirtualViewer Document Processing Application – Quickly view, annotate, and print TIFF files through a standard Web browser
Additional Resources for Tiff Conversion and Viewing
- More information on converting PDF to TIFF directly and rapidly, without having to invoke any external application or print driver.
- Snowbound Tech Tips:
- Changing TIFF Horizontal and Vertical Resolution
- C# Code sample for printing a multi-page TIFF file
- Saving out multi-page TIFF files to a byte array
- Adjusting DPI When Converting a TIFF to a PDF
- Snowbound Imaging Article: Document and imaging considerations for businesses
- Learn more about Snowbound Software solutions for image conversion.
References and Resources:
- Developer resources on TIFF from Adobe
- TIFF, Tag Image File Format, FAQ
- Official Wikipedia Entry for the TIFF File Format
Important: As we all know document and image specifications are intentionally loosely written and rarely updated. Additionally, many companies attempt to create their own TIFF creation technology, some of which slightly modify the TIFF specification to create a proprietary image. As a result many applications create documents “incorrectly” and do not adhere to the latest specifications. The challenge of a robust TIFF imaging program is not only to render good TIFF images, but 'bad' ones as well.