Mail Envelope and Page Scanning Quality

Scanning quality is one of the most important functions of our service. In-depth testing is performed to strike a balance between download speed and image quality. Here is a brief explanation of our scanning process and how we go beyond the industry norm to bring high-quality scanning to your mail and mail pages.

Factors Affecting Scan Quality

Scanning is both an art and a science. If you have ever owned a scanner, you understand the pain of getting scanned pages to look good onscreen.
As with taking photos with a camera, the goal of scanning a page is to capture as much detail, color and light as you can. The desired result is a picture with colors that are as close as possible to the real thing.

Scanned image quality is generally affected by two factors: color depth and scan resolution.

Color Depth

The higher the bit depth, the more colors you can capture. More colors equal better image quality. Scanners typically can scan up to 48-bit color depth. By comparison, most computer monitors these days are 24-bit or 32-bit. The 24-bit color depth gives you a possible total of 16.7 million colors.

Scan Resolution

Scan resolution measures how many pixels are actually used to represent image data within a specified space. Resolution is usually measured in pixels per inch (PPI), also known as dots per inch (DPI). The higher the PPI is, the better the quality of your image.
Have you ever tried blowing up a photo you took with your digital camera at 5-megapixel resolution? When a 5-megapixel image is printed on 5" × 7" photo paper, the quality is good, and the photo looks great. But try enlarging and printing the same photo onto 12" × 16" paper, and you will notice how the photo seems blurrier. If you look at the photo up close, you may even see small color dots.

Basically, a 5-megapixel photo usually does not contain enough pixel information for you to enlarge your photo and still retain good quality. The higher the resolution, the more you can zoom in without losing clarity.

Scanning Your Postal Mail

High-end scanners are used to scan your mail and your mail pages. Scans are done at high resolution and in full color, with no extra costs or fees.

Green Tip: Save Printer Ink

Higher-resolution printouts use more ink. Unless you are printing color photos or graphics, you can save money and print more documents by setting your print resolution at 150 or 300 PPI.
Incoming mail envelopes are scanned at 200 PPI in full color. Mail page scanning is scanned between 200 and 300 DPI. As a comparison, a normal LCD monitor displays pixels at 72 PPI, and a printer prints at 150, 300 and 600 PPI resolutions.

There are several reasons why we choose to scan mail at a minimum of 200 PPI.

File Size vs. Speed

File size increases proportionately with scanning resolution. Downloading your postal mail images takes longer. Scrolling extremely large images also takes longer in the browser (especially with Internet Explorer). Basically, everything takes longer to accomplish.

On broadband, large files usually do not pose a problem. However, there are noticeable lags and slow responses once you are on a slow Internet connection or an older computer. So 200 PPI is chosen as the best quality while still retaining the overall interaction experience when viewing mail online.

Practicality

Simple benchmark tests are performed to find the optimal resolution that gives you the best perceived quality needed to make your mail legible both online and on paper. Extensive test results show that 200 DPI with advanced image post-processing gives comparable, if not better, quality than 300 DPI with basic image post-processing. In consideration of practicality and the file size vs. bandwidth issue, we settled on the first option.
Scanning is one of the most important processes in our business, and we put effort and investment into making sure that you get the best quality and experience. We hope that this informative article gives you a better idea of our scanning process and how we care for your mail.

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