If you have a Fujitsu ScanSnap, you may have gone into ScanSnap Manager to adjust the settings of your scanning profile. When you did, you likely saw the Compression tab and a) wondered what it did, and b) didn’t touch it.
To that end, I’m going to play around with it so that you don’t have to.
What Does The Help Say?
To start with, what does the ScanSnap Manager Help say about the Compression tab?
In the [Compression] tab of the ScanSnap setup window, you can specify the compression rate for the scanned images.
Well, we could have guessed that. What does it mean? Basically, it means you can save space by reducing the quality of the image, which therefore makes the file smaller. As the help goes on to say:
Note that noise in the image becomes more noticeable as you increase the compression rate, and vice versa.
On the compression tab, you’ll se a slider and number. By default, the slider is set to the middle with a number 3.
It is slightly confusing, but basically the more you slide the slider to the right, the higher the number. The higher the number, the more compression is used, therefore the smaller the file, and therefore the lower the quality.
I want to see what impact the compression setting has, so I am going to do a little test. I have two documents:
- A black & white document
- A color magazine ad
I am going to scan these documents with the default, maximum, and minimum compression with the following scan settings:
- Quality set to 300dpi
- OCR set to off
- Color set to Automatic
- Scanner is a ScanSnap S1300
- B&W Document: File size: 328 KB. Quality: Good ((I recognize that Great is subjective, but I don’t know how to quantify it. Assume the default of Great is the baseline))
- Color Document: File size: 717 KB. Quality: Good
- B&W Document: File size: 319 KB. Quality: The Same
- Color Document: File size: 2.2 MB. Quality: Slightly better
- B&W Document: File size: 311 KB. Quality: The Same
- Color Document: File size: 315 KB. Quality: Not Too Different
As you can see, for a black and white document with Color set to Automatic, there is not much in the way of file size changes one way or the other.
However, there are wide swings in file size with the color magazine article. From 315KB all the way up to 2.2 MB.
To my laser-surgeryed eyes, I don’t see much of a change in quality between the three color documents, but since quality is so subjective, I have zipped up the PDFs for you to download if you so choose. You can download them here.
If you scan a lot of color documents and space is your concern, try bumping up the compression settings and see how the results turn out for you.
(Photo by Derrick Coetzee)