June 16, 2017 | New events

Format Life Cycle: A Story Of WANG Annotations

ORPALIS releases an Open Source Converter for WANG annotations based on GdPicture.NET

Hi Everyone,

Even if Kodak/WANG annotations are now legacy, they are still quite common.
Yet, they can be difficult to read with modern tools.
Today we’re going to go over a quick history of this annotation format, and we will see how we can manage it in document imaging and image processing applications.

WANG laboratories developed the WANG annotation format in the early nineties. It was later acquired by Microsoft.
After the acquisition, Microsoft heavily promoted this format by integrating WANG into TIFF files. Starting with Windows XP, the format has been abandoned because of its many bugs.
Even though today WANG TIFF format has been depreciated, the information contained in its annotations is relevant, and has to be available to document owners.


WANG Annotations


A short history of WANG annotations

WANG laboratories were founded in 1951, and operated in both software and hardware segments. During the nineties, the company encountered financial difficulties, and Kodak acquired its software division.
For several years, Microsoft distributed the WANG annotations with Imaging for Windows, a document imaging software, making it a very popular annotation format.
This resulted in a huge volume of documents using this annotation format, that still need to be digitized today.
However, it is difficult for developers to integrate this format in their applications, because it is poorly documented and has been abandoned for many years.


How to deal with WANG annotations today?

Besides being a poorly documented and abandoned format, WANG annotations cannot be displayed in a regular viewer.
This is why we have developed a WANG converter. Thanks to this converter, you can burn WANG annotations into TIFFs or PDFs, and view the contained information as you do with regular TIFFs and PDFs.

WangTagReading is an open source solution based on GdPicture.NET.
GdPicture.NET offers more than 3,000 features, supports more than 100 different formats, and is used by thousands of developers worldwide.
WANG annotations are converted into instances of GdPicture.NET Annotation class, and then into PDF or TIFF.
GdPicture.NET provides a wide range of actions for annotations. Thanks to the conversion process, WANG annotations can easily be edited and stored.


The source code of the WANG converter, written in C# .NET, is available on GitHub at https://github.com/Orpalis/WangTagReading.
The project includes two applications: one for converting TIFF containing WANG to regular TIFF files, and another to convert it to PDF files.
To be able to run the project, a GdPicture.NET license key is required.
To obtain a trial key, please download Gdpicture.NET on our page, or contact sales team via our contact form.


The story of WANG annotations is an interesting example of document format ownership issues. New formats constantly emerge and others disappear, but we still need to be able to read most of them.
Document processing tools are complex and require specific competencies. In a dynamic environment, it is easier and more productive to use a comprehensive solution rather than one component for each feature.


We hope you will find our WANG converter useful!
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions,