The file extension MDI stands for Microsoft Document Imaging Format. Files with an mdi extension are developed from the Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) format. This is a proprietary format developed by Microsoft for the 2003 Office Suite. It appears in the menu of printers. The benefit of using MDI over a standard graphics format is that metadata can be stored with the image. This allows for annotations, the affixing of signatures, etc. The file may later be printed in hardcopy.
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MDI files are most often used to save scanned documents in soft copy. Files are high resolution and tag-based, raster graphics. To transform them to Word documents, they must be run through optical character recognition (OCR) software.
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More Info Regarding File Extension Mdi
Office Document Images can be monochrome, grayscale or up to 24 bit color. All are compressed formats. Different compression types may be assigned to different pages of the same document. Both RGB and CMYK color are supported. Images with more than five samples per pixel, vector images, or a sample size larger than 32 bits are not supported.
Microsoft Office 2003 will open MDI files. For earlier versions of Office, and for other applications, the files should be saved in TIF format for compatibility. They can be opened with Microsoft Office 2007 with a bit of manipulation. There is also a converter which can be purchased, if there is a need to open MDI files without Microsoft Office.
The converter is called BugySoft MDI2PDF Convertor, and it will read MDI documents and translate them to the standard Portable Document Format (PDF). Files can then be opened with Adobe Reader. This converter comes in three versions, Free, Light, and Pro. The free version includes advertising, but is fully functional allowing users to convert, print and save files. The light version is the same as the free one without advertising, and the pro software eliminates the conversion step so that MDI documents may be opened directly in Adobe Reader.
The format can present some problems to the Vista operating system and Office 2007. This is not because it is incompatible, but because the document writer is not installed by default. A quick fix is to drag and drop the MDI document into a OneNote page where it can be opened.
Clicking on a document with an MDI extension will not result in auto-install of the software. The only permanent fix is to install Microsoft Document Imaging Writer manually. To do this one must begin with the uninstall command for Office. Then choose Change, Add or Remove Features, and Office Tools. Then you can choose Microsoft Document Image Writer and Run from My Computer. This will install the virtual printer which will create the MDI documents. These directions apply to all versions of Office 2007.
There may be issues with Microsoft Service Pack 3 breaking the association of files with the Document Image Writer, even though the Writer is properly installed. If the document can be opened choose File / Print. Then in the Name box, select Microsoft Office Document Image Writer as the desired printer. Choose Properties / Advanced, then MDI under Output format, and OK.
If the documents will not open at all this may work. In the Writer, choose Tools / Options and Reset under default programs. Then navigate in Explorer to a file with the MDI extension. Click to open it. It will then ask what program to open it with. Select Microsoft Document Image Writer and then check the box saying that this type of file should always be opened with that program.
Other problems with Document Image Writer following the installation of Service Pack 3 have been reported. Not all of these problems have been officially addressed, but the solutions seem to be involved with removing updated drivers until the program works again. The file mspview.exe has a 2007 version and a 2003 version, and the 2003 version must be used to make the program work properly.