I'm trying to work with a large-format scanner, and we are scanning very long documents. Example, one of our documents we cut into two pieces, and one of those pieces is 3633x82486 in resolution.

My application, Scanning Master 21+, which comes with the device (Graphtec CSX300-09) can output PDF, however when I try to save to PDF it complains about file being too large. I can successfully output to BMP however. GIMP can even open this BMP, after taking a while to load it.

The resulting files range from 200MB - 1.2GB in size.

Acrobat refuses to open the BMP format, saying it isn't supported or is damaged (which I know is not true). As I mentioned, the PDF plugin for GIMP crashes when I try to export to PDF.

I'm really not sure what is the best tool for this job. So what is the best tool to produce PDF documents of very large images?

  • Use some other tool to convert the BMP file to a more compressed format. – Ramhound Oct 17 '12 at 17:52
  • @Ramhound I tried converting it to a PNG, it took the 250MB example file down to 100MB or so. Acrobat and GIMP still have the same response. – BloodyIron Oct 17 '12 at 18:02
  • Are you scanning in color, greyscale, or black and white? I'm having trouble generating test files and reproducing this. – Alan Shutko Oct 17 '12 at 18:07
  • @AlanShutko Greyscale right now. We will need to be able to do this with colour too, however right now for testing we are just sticking to greyscale. – BloodyIron Oct 17 '12 at 18:12

I thought you might be running into problems with 32-bit memory limits, but I've reconsidered.

You're running into problems with the dimensions of the BMP. Per Fileformat.info there are two variants of the file format. The earlier variant only supported 32k by 32k image dimensions. Your file is bigger than that.

More recently, BMPs can support files 2million pixels square.

I've confirmed that the Adobe apps (Photoshop CS6 and Acrobat Pro X) can't read a BMP bigger than 32k in any dimension. The good news is that ImageMagick can. I've confirmed that it can create a valid pdf doing convert file.bmp file.pdf.

Sadly, even if you convert that bmp to a tif, it seems it just too big for Photoshop or Acrobat to handle, so I think you need to stick with ImageMagick.

  • One of my example files however is only 250MB, that's in BMP. I convert it to PNG and it drops to about 100MB. Acrobat still refuses to open either of these. I probably am using 32bit versions of Acrobat, but are these still too large for even 32bit? – BloodyIron Oct 17 '12 at 17:29
  • I will try this and get back to you, thanks for the heads up! – BloodyIron Oct 18 '12 at 15:19
  • I tried Imagemagick, and it seems to be okay with working it, however it produces a blank PDF. Any idea why this is? We also just upgraded our Acrobat to 11, is it capable of nicely dealing with these dimensions? Imagemagick seems pretty good so far. – BloodyIron Oct 18 '12 at 21:18
  • I tried Acrobat 11 when testing, it did not work with my test file. Is there any way you can post one of the files you are having trouble with? – Alan Shutko Oct 18 '12 at 21:21
  • unfortunately that would be a breach of security, and also a very massive file to setup too. I understand why you want an example, but I'm afraid I will not authorize that. However, any more thoughts on this? – BloodyIron Oct 18 '12 at 22:22

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