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PDF Compression ROI (Return on Investment) Part 1

Businesses love software that pays for itself. When a company makes the decision to convert their documents using PDF compression, they benefit from both hard and soft ROI. Conversion to PDF format is often very effective as part of a company effort to compress TIFF files in an image database and make them searchable.

Hard ROI means direct profit return as the result of an expenditure. When companies convert corporate documents to compressed PDF format, they save money, both in web hosting fees and in storage fees.

In web hosting, the ISP provides a specified number of MB (or GB) for web usage to a company at a fixed fee. If a company exceeds the usage allotment, they pay an additional fee. Exceeding the space limit is easy to do because file sizes are increasing every day and the Web is replacing the WAN for file sharing. The result is companies find out that they have exceeded their limits after-the-fact, when they see the invoice for the charges, and by then it's too late.

PDF compression relieves web hosting overcharges. Let's say a standard web hosting deal comes with 100MB. Extra space would cost $1-2 per 5MB. A single 40MB file would cost $8-16 per month. Multiply that times 10 or 20 (or 100) and the monthly cost becomes significant. Alternatively, using PDF Compression to reduce a 36MB file down to 43KB automatically eliminates the extra charge and gives you plenty of breathing room. That's hard ROI.

PDF Compression returns additional Hard ROI in storage costs. As files become larger and larger, storage becomes more of an issue. Even vast vats of storage have their limits. A service bureau, for example, would rather deliver compressed PDF files to a client on one CD than standard PDF on 10 CDs. By using PDF compression, 10 CDs are reduced to one CD. Again, that's hard ROI.

2. Converting Other File Formats to Compressed PDF

Most companies who share image files use a lot of TIFFs and JPEGs. While these can be good high-resolution file formats, they are not as universally viewable as PDF files. Since Acrobat Reader is available to everyone for free, PDF is the most universally viewable file format in the world. So, to make TIFF and JPEG viewable, the best thing to do is convert them to PDF.

However, once you've converted a file, or batch-converted multiple files, you will still be left with a large size file. That's where PDF compression comes in. If you can convert and compress a 3.6MB JPEG into a 43K PDF, without losing image quality, then you have the most efficient file sharing mechanism possible.

Another important aspect of document conversion to compressed PDF is with respect to searchability. For scanned documents, searchability, beyond that of standard field coding, requires an OCR (optical character recognition) processing step. With other image file formats, such as TIFF, you need an additional OCR file because the text file is kept as a separate file, typically with a .txt extension. PDF directly supports a hidden text layer so that the OCR text stream can be embedded into the PDF file, which makes OCR processing both easy and seamless.

3. PDF Compression FAQ - Ask CVISION Experts

Q: Compression is all well and good, but will a professional printer be able to handle a compressed PDF file? If yes, how does it work?

A: If we take a file and compress to PDF format, one of the advantages is that PDF is a standard file format. Consequently, any professional printer should be able to print compressed PDF files.

PDF files are generally printed in one of two ways: Either by conversion through an application into PostScript, followed by sending the PostScript file to the printer spooler for printing, or by direct PDF printing. When printing a PDF file through a PostScript conversion process, if done correctly, it is possible to compress the PostScript file as well.

Utilizing direct PDF printing in your workflow requires having an Adobe PostScript 3 device. With direct PDF printing, devices can receive and print PDF files without printing through an application. The device accepts a PDF file and processes it as easily as if it had received a PostScript file. This time-saving feature removes an unnecessary step and increases job productivity.

By the way, the speed at which a PDF or PostScript file prints is very much a function of how the file is generated. A well-composed PDF or PS file can print several times faster than one that is not properly constructed.