Drop-out colors

Drop-out colors are special print colors from a pre-defined spectrum that are adjusted to scanner lamps so that lines and printed text in these colors are not visible in a scanned image. Drop-out colors are widely used in specialized applications for mass form processing. For example, the American CM S1500 health insurance form uses red on its form. When processing these documents, a special scanner lamp is used to drop-out this color.

It is not possible to use drop-out colors in a mixed document environment because a scanner is not able to differentiate between documents that use drop-out colors and those that do not. If a scanner with a special lamp processes a document that does not use drop-out colors, loss of information is possible. For example, if a document contains text, stamps, or notes printed in red or green, or is from a fax or email, data may be missing.

With regards to fax machines, each machine uses a different type of lamp with a different spectrum. These documents cannot be created so that the background drops out. If drop-out color forms are faxed, background noise and broken lines and structures are created. This is more detrimental to image processing than solid black lines.

Instead, it is possible use pseudo drop-out colors. These are pre-printed areas of similar, very light colors.

These pseudo drop-out colored areas are recognized as background structures by the Kofax VRS grayscale pre-processing software and are reliably removed from the scanned image.

For example, laser printers can generate cheap monochrome drop-out forms using grey (RGB 221, 221, 221). These grey backgrounds are removed using the VRS Advanced Clarity feature.

Alternatively, a more expensive option is to use a magenta color for a colored form. Here, VRS Advanced Clarity also removes during scanning.

However, many of these light colors are not in accordance with typical strong color marketing requirements. This is also not an option for fax processing, since no grey scale pre-processing happens on the sender side.

Tip Print all field labels such as "Name," "Address," etc. in a non-drop-out color so that they are visible on the image for Validation users.