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Quality vs. Efficiency in Document Conversion

by | Jan 14, 2011

The key to most things in life is finding the right balance. There is usually a trade off that we have to make to find that balance. From dieting to managing your money, we all have to make sure that we find the right balance to maintain our weight and pay our bills. For example, the trick to dieting usually comes down to eating less and exercising more. To maintain a certain weight, you need to consume a certain number of calories a day. If you go over your caloric intake, unfortunately, the result is weight gain. The same is true for managing your money. We all have a budget that we have to work within. If you spend more money than you make, you end up in debt.

This same trade off has to be made when converting documents. You want your documents to convert as quickly as possible. You also want your converted documents to be as high quality as possible. It doesn’t matter how quickly your documents convert, if the resulting document is unreadable and does not look as good as or better than the original. On the other hand, if your documents take forever to convert, it will slow down your productivity. You need to make a trade off between performance and quality. High quality documents often create large files that are slow to convert. You have to find the balance to create documents with the best quality and size that works for you.

Snowbound Software provides tools that allow you to achieve this balance. The IMGLOW_set_document_input(int dpi, int bits_pix, int format) function in Snowbound Software’s RasterMaster SDK allows you to tweak the dots per inch (DPI), bits per pixel and specify the file format to get the right balance for your converted documents. To make the file size smaller, you can specify less DPI. For example, if the current DPI is 300, you can set the DPI to 200. On the other hand, if the quality of the image is poor, you can increase the DPI from 200 to 300. You can specify the bits per pixel depending upon the type of document you want to convert. If you are converting a black and white document, you would set the bits per pixel to 1. If you are converting a color document, you would set the bits per pixel to 24. For a grayscale or color document, set the bits per pixel to 8. You can also set the format type of your document. Snowbound software specifies the format type with a file constant number. For example, to convert an AFP document, set the format to 74.

For more information, please see the following tech tip: “Improving the Output Quality When Converting From One File Format to Another.”

What do you think? Do you tend to err on the side or quality of quantity and what systems are you using to convert your system-level documents?