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Microsoft Office Document Imaging

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Title: Microsoft Office Document Imaging  
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Subject: Microsoft Office, Modi, Microsoft Office 2010, Comparison of optical character recognition software
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Microsoft Office Document Imaging

Microsoft Office Document Imaging (MODI) is a discontinued Microsoft Office application that supports editing documents scanned by Microsoft Office Document Scanning. It is first introduced in Microsoft Office XP and is included in Office 2003 and Office 2007. Although it is not available in Office 2010, it is possible to install it from a previous version of Microsoft Office and use it with Office 2010.[1] MODI allows users to scan documents (via MODS), perform optical character recognition (OCR), view scanned document and annotate scanned documents.


MODI supports Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) as well as its own proprietary format called MDI. It can save text generated from the OCR process into the original TIFF file. However, MODI produces TIFF files that violate the TIFF standard specifications[2] and are only usable by itself.[3]

In its default mode, the OCR engine will de-skew and re-orient the page where required.

Since Office 2003 Service Pack 3, MODI no longer takes over the file association with Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) files as part of the Service Pack's security changes. Also, it no longer supports JPEG compression in TIFF files.[4]

File format

Microsoft Document Imaging (MDI)
Filename extension .mdi
Internet media type image/
Magic number 0x5045
Type of format Image file formats
Extended from TIFF

Microsoft Document Imaging format (MDI) is MODI's proprietary format for storing scanned documents together with optional annotations or metadata which can include the text generated by OCR process. MDI files can only be produced or read by MODI or applications that invoke MODI modules.

It is known that MDI is a variant of TIFF.[5][6] Key differences from TIFF include:

  • Magic number is 0x5045 (instead of 0x4D4D 'MM' or 0x4949 'II').
  • Three proprietary image compression formats are used.
  • Numerous proprietary tag values are used.


MODI exposes a document and an image object through Component Object Model (COM). It can convert scanned images to text under program control, using its built-in OCR engine.

The MODI object model is accessible from development tools that support the Component Object Model (COM) by using a reference to the Microsoft Office Document Imaging 11.0 Type Library. The MODI Viewer control is accessible from any development tool that supports ActiveX controls by adding Microsoft Office Document Imaging Viewer Control 11.0 or 12.0 (MDIVWCTL.DLL) to the application project. These folders are usually located in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MODI.

The MODI control became accessible in the Office 2003 release; while the associated programs were included in earlier Office XP, the object model was not exposed to programmatic control.

A simple example in Visual Basic .NET follows:

Dim inputFile As String = "C:\test\multipage.tif"
Dim strRecText As String = ""
Dim Doc1 As MODI.Document
Doc1 = New MODI.Document
Doc1.OCR()  ' this will ocr all pages of a multi-page tiff file
Doc1.Save() ' this will save the deskewed reoriented images, and the OCR text, back to the inputFile
For imageCounter As Integer = 0 To (Doc1.Images.Count - 1) ' work your way through each page of results
    strRecText &= Doc1.Images(imageCounter).Layout.Text    ' this puts the ocr results into a string
File.AppendAllText("C:\test\testmodi.txt", strRecText)     ' write the OCR file out to disk
Doc1.Close() ' clean up
Doc1 = Nothing


MODI is not included with Office 2010. The Internet Fax feature in Office 2010 uses the Windows Fax printer driver to generate a TIFF file.[7]


Further reading

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