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How to Transform Traditional Microfiche to Other Alternative Formats


MicroficheThe advent of digitization has seen a mounting need for data conversion services including conversion of microfiche into alternative digital formats. Many businesses and organizations including libraries and research institutions have vast back catalogues of microfiche documents that contain important or sensitive data. It is important to understand how traditional microfiche can be converted to other reliable digital formats.

Genealogy libraries in particular, have large volume data stored in microfiche and microfilm. This data is rarely used but important,and has to be maintained without damage. It is true that microfiche and microfilm have a long life. However, soon microfiche and microfilm may disappear or become obsolete with many manufacturers of microfiche and microfilm equipment switching their production lines to other products.

Microfiche and microfilm are expensive. Scanning documents on document scanners and making the information available in digital formats is an easier and cheaper option. Moreover, microfiche scanning services help to convert microfiche into any desirable digital format. Government agencies, hospitals, insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions, and libraries among others have already made the transition from microfilm to digital imaging. Genealogists are the group still using microfilm and their number is also decreasing.

Before going on to the available alternative formats, let us consider why it is beneficial to scan microfiche.

Advantages of Microfiche Scanning

  • The first and foremost advantage is that converting microfiche into digital format helps to store data in alphabetical order. This enables easy access to data.
  • Data loss can be prevented; and there is minimal chance of misfiling.
  • Microfiche scanning allows data sharing among several people simultaneously.
  • Any amount of data can be stored in a cost-effective manner. Data can be stored in your system, or on online document storage systems (cloud) that allows you to access files from anywhere.
  • It also secures and supports your data with existing data backup processes.

What Are the Alternative Digital Formats?

Microfiche to TIFF is the industry standard and these types of files are flexible to manipulate and enhance. Microfiche to JPEG is a great option for grayscale scanning. Microfiche to PDF is being requested more as organizations increasingly use the Internet to upload archives, and PDF is accessible across all platforms.

Microfiche to PDF is one of the most popular ways of digital conversion as it ensures the widest compatibility and best quality scan available. You can convert a microfiche to PDF format with a scanner, photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, and a PDF capture utility such as PDF Writer Pro. If you want it professionally done, it is best to hire a document scanning company that will make the entire process efficient and provide the best outcome.

  • When you scan a microfiche, its scanned image will appear in your photo editing software.
  • Save the image.
  • The next step is to open your PDF capture and conversion utility.
  • Save the image file you just created as a PDF document.
  • Once converted into PDF format,this file can be transformed into any desired format such as TIFF.

Here are some of the ways to convert your PDF file into another format.

  • Use of free online tools: There are many free online tools that will help you extract the image and download it in the desired format. The only problem with this method is the restriction on the size of PDF files and on the number of images that services can extract. is a site that allows you to choose your file which can be upto 20MB in size, select the image format that you want and then click Extract Images to convert your data. Extract PDF is also an option that gives a size of 14 MB.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader: With Adobe Acrobat Reader, the first step is to open your PDF file and scroll down to the image you want to capture. Click the edit menu and select Takea Snapshot.
  • Microfiche
    Simply drag your mouse over the area of the image to capture a screenshot but a better way is to clickon the Edit menu, choose Select All.

    Right click on the image on the PDF file, and choose the option Copy Selected Graphic.


    The image will be copied to the clipboard and you can paste it into any image editing program to save it in your preferred format.

  • Adobe Acrobat Pro: Adobe Acrobat Pro makes it easier to get all images out of the PDF at once. First, open Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and open the desired PDF files. Click on Tools and choose Export PDF.

On to the left you will see a thumbnail image of the first page of the PDF format and on the right there will be many options for exporting the file. Click on the Image, click on the file format you want and then check the Export all images box. Click Export and when a dialog box appears choose the location for the exported images.

You can also change the location by clicking on the “Choose a Different Folder” and save the file with the desired name.

Considerations When Converting Microfiche

When converting microfiche to a digital format, you must keep the following points in mind.

  • Many consumer-grade scanners find it challenging to cope with the very fine resolution of a microfiche. Consider using a high-resolution photo/film scanner or choose to go for professional document conversion services.
  • Dedicated microfiche scanners are available, but are quite expensive and require significant computing resources.
  • For archival purposes, and for best quality digital conversion of your microfiche data, it is best to approach companies that specialize in microfiche conversion.
  • Large files may result from images scanned at very high resolutions. It is important therefore, to ensure that your computer has sufficient memory and processing power to handle those files.

Digital formats have superseded microfiche as regards storage as well as time and cost savings. Instant retrieval of information, the ability to transfer data and above all safe preservation of critical data are other perks that come with microfiche conversion. A reliable provider of data conversion services can provide the necessary support for your microfiche conversion project.

About Julie Clements

Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.