The Role of Wide Format Scanners in CAD Drawings

Large format paper scanners have become the staple in many industries like construction, architecture, engineering and manufacturing. The common element in these industries is the use of large format drawings on daily basis.  Large format paper documents can be very tricky to handle. A company can preserve these documents by building up a substantial archive of past drawings which may take up substantial storage space. Having hard copies of such documents around makes it difficult to share and distribute and increases the chances of damage during handling. Converting these documents into CAD scans provide an efficient and time-saving electronic solution by converting documents into an electronic format. CAD scans can be handled efficiently by Large Format Paper Scanners. (Information Credit -



Scanner Size

This is the primary reason for using Large Format Paper Scanners as they can handle larger than usual document sizes. The ideal size for CAD documents are a 36inch scanner which can fit “D” and “E” sized CAD drawings. Proper care must be taken when scanning such documents as they might be delicate in nature. The use of Landscape mode and portrait mode scanning depends on the nature of the CAD drawings in question. Scanning experts usually advise to scan drawings long side first which eliminates the chances of skewing with the grip of more rollers.




File Formats

Large Format Scanners have multiple output format options including Jpeg, Tiff and PDF. Off these, TIFF is considered to be most suitable for CAD drawings. There are several variants of the TIFF format, with some having the ability to save coloured scans while others like TIFF Group 4 is specialised in handling black and white images. The biggest advantage of using TIFF files is the compression they offer without compromising quality. TIFF formats are used to save multiple documents and are compressed to save disk space.



One of the formats to avoid is the JPG file format which does not produce good quality scan images. Often CAD drawings turn out to have smudges instead of clean, sharp drawing lines.  As it supports only colour files, it is not suitable for handling black and white. Also, CAD conversion becomes difficult because of a lesser level of accuracy of the JPG image.




Finishing Touches

 There are certain steps to be taken after the scanning procedure is complete to ensure that the output is optimized and of good quality. Many procedures like de-speckling, cropping, de-skewing and image optimization help in cleaning up the documents and making them available for use.





There are certain advantages that make it most favourable to work with CAD drawings, some of which are highlighted below.

  • The documents once scanned can be scaled up or down without any loss in quality and texture.
  • The fast processing speeds of Large Format Scanners can save a substantial amount of production time, especially when there is a time-crunch or deadline.
  • By eliminating the need for preserving hard copies of documents, they effectively prevent instances of document loss or damage.
  • Most Large Format Scanners come with in-built software that helps in formatting and cleaning up documents.
  • They posses advanced connectivity options allowing for an uninterrupted workflow.
  • Its cost effectiveness attracts a lot of organizations to invest heavily in it.



Large Format Paper Scanners play an important role in the conversion of CAD drawings. The level of accuracy, quality and usability offered by these scanners are unmatched and is suitable for the fast paced work environments of an architectural or civil engineering project. It has thus become an indispensable part of those industries.