Best Windows TIFF combiner?
January 24, 2008 1:46 PM   Subscribe

What is the best Windows TIFF combiner?

I was asked for advice on combining thousands of TIFFS (scans of documents in a legal discovery) into one, manageable file. I rarely use Windows, and the world of Windows software is vast and scary compared to my usual universe.

I don't know if TIFFs can be multi-page, but it probably seems like the resulting file would be overly large. Therefore, I'm looking for a program that can combine the TIFFs into PDFs in three different ways: One, into a non-OCR'd, image only PDF that is legible, but where the images aren't unreasonably large; Two, into an OCR'd image, where the text is "behind" the original image but you just see the original image in order to minimize the effect of any errors; and Three, into a purely OCR'd text document.
posted by yesno to Technology (11 answers total)
Response by poster: GPL, and then freeware, is of course preferred. Commercial software should be high quality and well designed. Another option would be to batch convert into jpgs, and then just make a cbr/cbz.
posted by yesno at 1:50 PM on January 24, 2008

Best OCR product I could find is FineReader by ABBYY, the open source stuff simply isn't up to snuff. Check out the trial and see if that will do what you need it to do.
posted by zeoslap at 2:00 PM on January 24, 2008

Tiffs cannot be multi-paged. Traditionally, tiffs are used for images destined for print.

Acrobat Pro can certainly take the tiffs and create a new PDF. I have no ideas about your OCR requirements.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:04 PM on January 24, 2008

As an aside, I often receive these thousand+ page legal discovery TIFF files, and would love to find a good program to un-combine them.
posted by sanka at 2:09 PM on January 24, 2008

ConcatPDF is a nifty little freeware utility that can split and merge PDF files. In combination with a "Print to PDF" tool like PrimoPDF it could accomplish your objective #1. (You would print all of the TIFFs to individual one-page PDFs and then merge them together.)

And sanka a combination like that ought to also work for your case too, if you print your multipage TIFF to PDF and then split it; you'll be able to slice out just the pages you want.
posted by XMLicious at 3:04 PM on January 24, 2008

Tiffs cannot be multi-paged. Traditionally, tiffs are used for images destined for print.

In my experience as a legal document analyst, TIFFs can be combined into a multipage document. I don't have any open source recommendations, but Irfanview is free windows based utility that can combine TIFFs into multipage TIFFs and do the reverse as well.
posted by rabbitsnake at 3:24 PM on January 24, 2008

Thorzdad: TIFFs can be multi paged.

A google for multi page tiff" comes up with a lot of software.
posted by mphuie at 3:27 PM on January 24, 2008

The US Patent and Trademark Office uses multi-page TIFFs, so I recently installed AlternaTIFF to view them. I'm not sure of the mechanics in creating multi-page TIFFs, but I found the AlternaTIFF plug-in invaluable in viewing the content from the USTPO.

Perhaps a little research on the USTPO files and AlternaTIFF will lead you towards your answer (if you haven't found a solution already).
posted by F Mackenzie at 4:18 PM on January 24, 2008

Ideally Summation, Concordance or an online document repository such as the kind offered by Kroll Ontrack would be the best way to handle discovery, if you are in a lawfirm.

In the alternative, Acrobat Professional could do all that you are asking for. In Acrobat 8 Professional, you can combine many single-page TIFFs into one PDF file that is not OCRed; you can OCR a PDF file from within Acrobat Pro to make it searchable; and you can reduce the file size of a PDF from within Acrobat Pro.
posted by momzilla at 5:05 PM on January 24, 2008

I do eDiscovery work for a lit. services company and have used ABBYY FineReader in the past. It does tiff-to-PDF conversion with embedded OCR pretty well.

As for multi-page tiffs, the only time that I needed to process them (convert from multipage tiff to single tiffs) there weren't any packages out there that would sequence the exported files by Bates number so I ended up writing my own utilizing the .NET framework. I've tried IrfanView and ImageMagick in the past but could never get them to work properly.

BTW, momzilla, the word 'Summation' just gave me an aneurysm - that monstrosity is the bane of my professional existence
posted by phrayzee at 6:38 PM on January 24, 2008

If you have Office, its Office Document Image manager does good OCR on TIFFs.
posted by scruss at 7:35 PM on January 24, 2008

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