What TIFF Conversion settings do I choose for best quality images or PDF files?

Many users convert electronic files to the format that is most flexible and offers the most options post-tiff conversion.

Before selecting TIFF/PDF settings, you should understand that there are trade-offs in terms of quality versus the time it takes to complete conversion and the size of output files. The higher the quality of an output, the longer it takes to complete the batch process, and the higher the quality, the larger the size of output files.

Active Driver: There are 3 print drivers commonly available in LAW:

  • LAW Image Driver
  • LAW Image Driver 300 DPI
  • easyPDF SDK 7

The difference between the LAW Image Driver and the LAW Image Driver 300 DPI is the latter is forced to 300 DPI for faster throughput of slightly lesser quality. The LAW image driver DPI can be set in the printer settings for higher quality if needed. These drivers are used to create TIFF images in the LAW case. but remember that TIFF images can be exported later as PDF files if needed.

The easy PDF SDK 7 driver creates PDF files. It is the slowest and defaults to 150 DPI.


Color Reduction:

  • None
  • Reduce to optimal palette.
  • Reduce to black & white.
  • Reduce to greyscale.

Color reduction of ‘None’ makes no changes and creates color for color files.

If you are converting native files to TIFF images, the 'Reduce to Optimal Palette' setting causes the image to save as a color image or a black and white image based on the image color properties. If the image contains any color, the TIFF image will save in a color TIFF format; if no color is found, the image saves as black and white.

The 'Reduce to grayscale' setting reduces color images or text to a grayscale format.

When converting native files to PDF files, only 'None' and 'Reduce to grayscale' selections are available.


Color Compression

  • None
  • JPEG
  • LZW
  • Packbits
  • ZIP

The Color Compression setting allows users to specify the compression type of produced images or PDF files. The most widely supported, and more commonly used format, is JPEG or JPEG 2K (PDF only) compression formats. These formats produce the smallest file sizes.

The Packbits setting applies only to TIFF files and is optimal for black and white images. The LZW setting applies only to TIFF images, while the ZIP setting applies only to PDF when using the easyPDF SDK 7 driver.

Using “None” will result in large output file sizes but may provide a better-quality image.

Based on these options we recommend the following as the best settings for balanced speed, quality, and output file size:

Active Drive: LAW Image Driver

Color Reduction: Reduce to optimal palette.

Color Compression: JPEG

Tiff Conversion_Image 1

The settings listed above result in color images where color is present. Color images will consist of JPEG compression.

If better quality is desired, we recommend the below. However, we recommend you confirm the output is usable in the destination application before selecting these settings:

  • Active Drive: LAW Image Driver
  • Color Reduction: None
  • Color Compression: None

For better quality PDF files, we recommend the settings above and convert to PDF at export.

There are two methods of converting TIFF images to PDF at export. You can select the Export format 'PDF Conversion' on the Formats /Documents tab of the Export dialog or select an Output format on the Options tab of the Export dialog.


Export options

When exporting PDFs to any single-page format other than PDF Conversion, if <Default> is selected as the output format, PDF files will convert to image-only PDF files. If PDF is the output format, the PDF files are searchable when OCR with hidden text is available.

If exporting multi-page color or grayscale TIFF images to a single page format with the Output Format set to <Default>, LAW automatically exports these files as JPEG images. This is done for better compatibility with older image viewers that may not support TIFF w/JPEG compression and to minimize the file sizes of the color images. Black and white TIFF images are unaffected by this process.

Output Format

The Output Format setting on the Options tab of the Export dialog allows users to convert images to an alternate format during the export process. The Output Format settings are:


When <Default> is selected, LAW will automatically determine whether the image is exported as:

24-bit color JPEG

8-bit grayscale JPEG

1-bit black and white TIFF

Image-only PDF if exporting PDF files to a single-page format other than the PDF Conversion format on the Formats/Documents tab.

JPEG - only supports single-page image files and should NOT be used with exports that produce multi-page images.

PCX - only supports single-page image files and should NOT be used with exports that produce multi-page images.

PDF - can be used to convert images to PDF with single- or multi-page image formats. This setting has the same effect as choosing the 'PDF Conversion' export format. The PDF Conversion format provides a means to export images as PDF with no load files, whereas the PDF output format setting produces PDF images with all specified load files.

PDF (Image Only)-  exports images as image-only PDF files.

PNG - only supports single-page image files and should NOT be used with exports that produce multi-page images.

TIFF (Binary) - format exports images as black and white 1-bit TIFF files.


***As a final note, the DPI of LAW Image Driver printer can be increased in printer settings as shown below. Alternatively, these settings may need to be applied through Windows printer settings to make them sticky to the LAW Image Driver printer:

Tiff Conversion_Image 2






Published by: Virginia Bachman