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This question already has an answer here:

I have a GIGANTIC .TIF file.

I scanned in a book a few days ago and I accidentally scanned it as a multi-page .TIF. I really want to turn it into a more accessible .PDF file.

Do you have any idea how this can be done?

marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Tog, Gaff, Marcks Thomas, Renan May 6 '13 at 1:46

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  • "GIGANTIC" is somehow subjective. You could improve your question, if you give some numbers: Number of pages and size of TIF file (compressed or not) would be a good starting point. – mpy May 5 '13 at 8:27
  • This is not a duplicate of the question linked since the two questions are different. In this case the person wishes to convert a multiPAGE TIFF file into a single PDF. In the other the person wants to convert and merge MULTIPLE TIFF files into a single PDF. While related the questions are distinct! Is there a way to mark a question as 'unique'? – user2021355 Sep 6 '18 at 2:10
  • TIFF to PDF converter sites exist online. For example, a quick search brought up: tiff2pdf.com It successfully converted my 12 page multipage TIFF to a PDF. Apologies for answering in a comment but the question is locked for editing (for now... I'm trying to resurrect it with clarification :). – user2021355 Sep 6 '18 at 2:44
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If you are fine with just converting the file format (without making the text searchable (via OCR as pointed out by Jonathan Ben-Avraham), this will be a perfect task for convert from the ImageMagick package (available for various platforms: Win, Linux, Mac).

Simply use that command to convert your multi-page TIFF file

convert multi-page.tif book.pdf

However, you should employ the -compress Parameter. If you have a 24bit colored TIF, you can use LZW (lossless) or JPEG (lossy), e.g.

convert -compress LZW multi-page.tif book.pdf

If your TIFF is black and white (please make sure, it is really saved with only 1bit colordepth), I usually use -compress Fax.

Here is an example for a 5 page sample file, with some text in it -- the actual ratio between the compression algorithms depends of course on the content of your file:

24bit JPEG:  1294kB
24bit LZW:   1759kB
1bit  Fax:    135kB

After that conversion you still can run a OCR tool (like Adobe Acrobat Pro) to make the text search- and copyable.

  • Many thanks for -compress Fax flag which is especially useful for book scans. – firegurafiku Jul 14 '15 at 16:13
  • I didn't have a convert executable but I did had magick so this is the command I used: magick convert -compress fax "%1.tif" "%1.pdf" – Randall Flagg Mar 7 at 12:31
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TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is a pixel-oriented format that is intended for images. In order to get just the character data from a TIFF file you would have to use an OCR (Optical Chararacter Recognition) program. All OCR programs have some error rate. The format of the pages (header, footers, section headings, etc) also affect the ability of OCR to accurately guess the characters.

The language and particularly the writing system and font also affect OCR accuracy. If the book has an unusual non-western font with ligatures then the chance of getting goot OCR output are close to zero.

If the book is not primarily text, for example, a book with many screen shots or other images that are important, then OCR will not help you.

There are some Open Source OCR programs available, depending on the OS you are using. Google Drive has a free OCR service. WMMV.

Assuming that the original book you scanned is in paper format, then TIFF is about the best you can do in any event. You can make the document size more manageable by compressing the TIFF file. Try JPEG compression with various levels of compression to optimize document size against readability.

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