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Why do scanners (same output setting) generate different pdf sizes?

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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January 11, 2011 4:52:27 PM

I'm currently using a Lexmark 8300 MFP to scan documents into pdf and the generated pdf is way too large.

My scan setting - B&W text (B&W line art is the option available in Agfa), 300 dpi, 8.5" x 11" scan area, output pdf (OCR off = PDF image)

Using Lexmark 8300 (multifunction) - 1.06 MB (one page pdf)

Using my older scanners, same one-page doc, same settings as above:
Agfa SnapScan Touch (scanner) - 22 kb
Canon CanoScan N340P (scanner) - 62 kb
Brother MFC 4420C (multifunction) - 144 kb

I used each scanner's own scanning software. Why is there such a huge difference especially with Lexmark vs. the other scanner hardwares/softwares? Message board posters keep saying that settings should be adjusted but I always scan at the same setting I've mentioned above. What makes the generated pdf files different even when the chosen settings are the same? Is it a setting that is default in the scanner's software and is inaccessible/cannot be modified by the user?

I didn't buy the Lexmark I'm stuck with but it's good to know that I now know I should stick to buying either Canon or Brother (I've read that Epson also spits out large pdf files).
Anonymous
January 11, 2011 5:27:06 PM

I have no experience of producing pdf from a scanner but I very frequently scan news cuttings to jpeg and have observed that the complexity of the subject matter affects the file size.
January 11, 2011 5:57:21 PM

True but in my example, in my first post, I scanned the same document/page using four different scanners using the same scan settings.
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Anonymous
January 11, 2011 6:04:09 PM

Possibly the pdf files the new scanner produces are a newer type -- my old version of the Adobe reader software is constantly complaining that some of the pdf files I view contain info that the old reader cannot display (or display properly).
January 11, 2011 7:08:29 PM

That's possible. I took a look at the pdf document properties.

Comparing PDF versions (shown in pdf document properties) of pdf files created by the 4 scanners:

Agfa SnapScan Touch (scanner) - 22 kb - 1.5 (Acrobat 6.X)
Canon CanoScan N340P (scanner) - 62 kb - 1.5 (Acrobat 6.X)
Brother MFC 4420C (multifunction) - 144 kb - 1.5 (Acrobat 6.X)
Lexmark 8300 (multifunction) 1.06 MB - 1.3 (Acrobat 4.x)

My Agfa, Canon and Brother scanners are older (market release) than the Lexmark 8300. I think Agfa was released in 2001 and CanoScan N340P in the late 90s. An older PDF version seems to correspond to a larger (much much) file.

I did not choose/change any of the scanners' pdf version setting nor do I see a tab/section in their GUI's to change the pdf version of the generated output pdf file. Paperport (which comes with my Brother MFP scanner) has an option for choosing PDF version compatibility but I've never changed whatever the default setting was when the software was first installed. The pdf version of the pdf file that the scanner generates then seems to be preset in the scanner's software and cannot be changed by the user unless the software GUI provides an option for it (as in the case of Paperport). How would one know then, at the time that he is buying a scanner, if the scanner's software uses an older or newer pdf version when generating PDFs? Box and online store specifications usually do not have this information. I guess that would then mean doing a lot of searching and reading, and probably contacting the manufacturer, before going out to purchase.

I don't have a problem with graphic (jpegs and tifs) files as I usually scan into files like these for photoediting purposes. PDFs are files that I do not want to be unreasonably large at the start because I do a lot of scanning-into-pdf for filing/archiving purposes and having to edit (to reduce size) each of them would be quite laborious.

Anonymous
January 11, 2011 8:48:20 PM

If permitted, see if reducing the resolution to 150 would help and yet still give you the quality you need.
January 11, 2011 8:55:18 PM

300 dpi is the minimum I use to ensure that my scanned files are not smudgy-looking (small text is smudgy looking at 150 dpi) which is why I compare scanner outputs at 300 dpi and base choice of scanner on that.

Next step is finding a scanner, like my ancient Agfa Snapscan Touch, that can scan an all-text one-page document at 300 dpi B&W and come up with a pdf file that's < 30 kb instead of <1,000 kb.
January 12, 2011 2:04:00 PM

This is for others who are also wondering why their scanners are generating huge pdf files for scanned B&W docs. I did one more test comparing generating a pdf file with Lexmark X8350 using the software it came with (Lexmark all-in-one center, lxcjaiox.exe) and with Nitro PDF Pro 6.

Scan set-up = one-page all text document, B&W, 300 dpi, 8.5" x 11" scanning area, OCR is off

Results based on the pdf document properties:

Nitro PDF Pro 6
application - Nitro PDF Pro 6
PDF producer -
PDF version - 1.7 (Acrobat 8.x)
File size - 28 kb

Lexmark All-in-one center
application - lxcjaiox.exe
PDF producer - PDFLib 4.0.1
PDF version - 1.3 (Acrobat 4.x)
File size - 1,083 kb


Big difference huh? 28 kb vs 1083 kb for a 1-page all-text B&W doc (no OCR)! I think the problem with the Lexmark software (and maybe other scanners' softwares that also generate huge B&W PDF files) is it comes bundled and uses an old version pdf creator (PDFLib 4.0.1) that also generates an old pdf version file (1.3). There's no way/option in the Lexmark GUI to change the pdf version. Bad Lexmark - bundling an old app with its driver and not providing an option to update its bundled pdf creator! It doesn't matter even if I upgrade the driver to what Lexmark recommends for windows vista/7 (cjs8300EN.exe). The newer driver pack still comes with the old PDFLib 4.0.1 app.
April 13, 2011 8:04:12 PM

Would you happen to know what pdf producer software does the Fujitsu Scansnap S1500 use? I am about to buy one but don't want to have 1MB pdf files per page! ;-)
thanks.
Oscar

madr said:
This is for others who are also wondering why their scanners are generating huge pdf files for scanned B&W docs. I did one more test comparing generating a pdf file with Lexmark X8350 using the software it came with (Lexmark all-in-one center, lxcjaiox.exe) and with Nitro PDF Pro 6.

Scan set-up = one-page all text document, B&W, 300 dpi, 8.5" x 11" scanning area, OCR is off

Results based on the pdf document properties:

Nitro PDF Pro 6
application - Nitro PDF Pro 6
PDF producer -
PDF version - 1.7 (Acrobat 8.x)
File size - 28 kb

Lexmark All-in-one center
application - lxcjaiox.exe
PDF producer - PDFLib 4.0.1
PDF version - 1.3 (Acrobat 4.x)
File size - 1,083 kb


Big difference huh? 28 kb vs 1083 kb for a 1-page all-text B&W doc (no OCR)! I think the problem with the Lexmark software (and maybe other scanners' softwares that also generate huge B&W PDF files) is it comes bundled and uses an old version pdf creator (PDFLib 4.0.1) that also generates an old pdf version file (1.3). There's no way/option in the Lexmark GUI to change the pdf version. Bad Lexmark - bundling an old app with its driver and not providing an option to update its bundled pdf creator! It doesn't matter even if I upgrade the driver to what Lexmark recommends for windows vista/7 (cjs8300EN.exe). The newer driver pack still comes with the old PDFLib 4.0.1 app.

August 1, 2011 11:34:49 AM

I see your point madr about the scannign software used to create the PDF, however I have taken the scanning software right out of the question by scanning with my Lexmark Pinnacle Pro 901 WiFi MFP which scans directly to email without the use of a pc/mac attached. I am still seeing 1MB single page scans using the same settings as you have (B&W 300dpi OCR Off). I have also upgraded the MFP firmware to the latest which successfully fixed nothing.

Very frustrated here.

madr said:
This is for others who are also wondering why their scanners are generating huge pdf files for scanned B&W docs. I did one more test comparing generating a pdf file with Lexmark X8350 using the software it came with (Lexmark all-in-one center, lxcjaiox.exe) and with Nitro PDF Pro 6.

Scan set-up = one-page all text document, B&W, 300 dpi, 8.5" x 11" scanning area, OCR is off

Results based on the pdf document properties:

Nitro PDF Pro 6
application - Nitro PDF Pro 6
PDF producer -
PDF version - 1.7 (Acrobat 8.x)
File size - 28 kb

Lexmark All-in-one center
application - lxcjaiox.exe
PDF producer - PDFLib 4.0.1
PDF version - 1.3 (Acrobat 4.x)
File size - 1,083 kb


Big difference huh? 28 kb vs 1083 kb for a 1-page all-text B&W doc (no OCR)! I think the problem with the Lexmark software (and maybe other scanners' softwares that also generate huge B&W PDF files) is it comes bundled and uses an old version pdf creator (PDFLib 4.0.1) that also generates an old pdf version file (1.3). There's no way/option in the Lexmark GUI to change the pdf version. Bad Lexmark - bundling an old app with its driver and not providing an option to update its bundled pdf creator! It doesn't matter even if I upgrade the driver to what Lexmark recommends for windows vista/7 (cjs8300EN.exe). The newer driver pack still comes with the old PDFLib 4.0.1 app.

December 14, 2011 8:59:41 AM


I got new ScanSnap S1500 at the beginning of this year and it creates pdf version of 1.3. Though there is some ABBYY reader which needs to be installed and prob. updated before changes of pdf version can be made. Customer support wasn't good, not the best experience. And i am corporate user... :non: 

oscarvirtual said:
Would you happen to know what pdf producer software does the Fujitsu Scansnap S1500 use? I am about to buy one but don't want to have 1MB pdf files per page! ;-)
thanks.
Oscar

!