Survey Systems Blog

OMR Form Design...Let's Get Graphic!

Posted by Lynn Cunningham on Jan 3, 2014 12:59:00 PM

Custom Scan Form Design

Go for the Sharpest Image on Your Survey Form

One of the best ways to give your survey form a polished, professional look is by adding a logo or other graphic image. When adding a logo or graphic, it is very important to use the right kind and quality of image. A fuzzy, low resolution image will produce the opposite result, giving your form an unprofessional look and feel.  

Join the Resolution Revolution!

The quality of graphic images depends on the image resolution, or the number of dots per inch (dpi). The more "dots" the better the image quality, so it is important to start with an image with more dots per inch. Resizing or scaling your graphic image will likely degrade the quality appearance of your logo or graphic.  

Survey Form Printing      Scan Form Design      OMR Form Printing

As you can see from the examples above, these images get fuzzier as they are enlarged. You can always zoom in on the image on your computer screen to get a better idea of the quality of your image. (An easy way to do this is to hold the Control Key down on your keyboard and hit the "+" key several times. To zoom out, hold down the Control Key and hit the "-"symbol.) If an image looks fuzzy when you zoom in, chances are it will look fuzzy when inserted onto a printed form.

OMR Form Printing–What Graphics Format Works?

If you are creating your own OMR survey form using a software such as Data Blocks Magenta or Scantron's DesignExpert™, you can add images or logos to your design as long as the image is in a bitmap image format. In the printing industry, there are two basic types of graphic images. The first type is a bitmap, also known as a "raster" image. A bitmap could be one of many file types (.bmp, .jpeg, .gif, etc.) Bitmap images are:

  • Made up of pixels in a grid. Tiny dots of color come together to form the image. When you zoom in on a bitmap image, you can see the dots as squares of color hooked together.

  • Always square or rectangular. If your logo is an oval shape, it will be an oval within a rectangular frame when it is in bitmap image format.

  • A solid block of color (or white). No part of a bitmap image is transparent or see through. For printing purposes, a bitmap cannot be color separated. This means it must be printed in one color (i.e., all black, all red) or converted to grayscale. 

The other format of graphic image used in the print industry is a vector image. A vector image is made up of individual shapes and/or text. Each shape in a vector image can be edited independently. A vector format image will usually have an .eps file extension. Vector images are:

  • Made up of individual elements, such as shapes, lines and text. Each element can be edited by without affecting other elements.

  • Can be any shape or size and is not resolution dependent. This format of graphic is always very sharp looking and is not confined to a rectangular shape.

  • Most important from a printer's perspective, a vector or .eps image can be color separated for printing. Elements can be assigned exact and multiple colors.

  • Vector images can be converted to bitmap format for use on web surveys or for use in form design software.

Click here to see examples of a graphic in different formats.


Getting Graphic–Summing it Up

In my opinion, a bad or fuzzy graphic image should never appear on your form! Only add images that are high quality and that enhance the appearance and effectiveness of the document. Most OMR form design software has severe limitations when it comes to adding good quality graphics to the forms you design. Always use the highest resolution graphic image you can get your hands on. For even better results, have your OMR form printing company help. A printing professional can use graphics software to really make your survey form sing! 

OMR Form Design, Form Printing, Scantron Forms

Topics: scan form design, customized survey form, OMR printing, form design software

Financial Customers Surveys -Better Results with OMR!

Posted by Gary Wilson on Feb 15, 2013 4:20:00 PM



OMR (optical mark read) technology has been in use for the past 40 years and most of us have used this technology as part of our K-12 education experience. Today this "old" technology continues to be used outside of education in a large number of different applications that require the collection of data from paper-based media. In many situations, collecting data using OMR customized forms (forms designed for a specific application) is the best alternative with much better results; getting enough relevant information for data analysis and implementation of appropriate results based activities.


An 80 years old, member owned credit union whose one of its stated missions is “… believes in the power of the human spirit...a business model that trusts and believes in people...we are here to do what many consider naïve and unrealistic - put people first.” As part of this mission and over the past three years, the organization has conducted monthly, in-depth member satisfaction surveys using OMR customized forms to continually measure the organization performance in meeting the mission.

Customer Satisfaction SurveySurveys are mailed monthlyto selected groups of members. The survey questions are directed toward specific areas of importance (mission related) to the credit union such as trust, experience and overall satisfaction. Given the number of questions and the goal to keep mailing costs to a minimum, a survey document designed as an OMR customized form would best fit these needs since all of the survey questions and the ten point rating scale could be accommodated on a single sheet of paper. One of the real benefits of using OMR technology is the capability to accurately read densely compacted documents with an optical mark recognition scanner. Prior to the monthly mailing, each survey is overprinted (pre-slugging) with machine-readable members’ ID numbers. The ID numbers are captured during the scanning process and provide the credit union with the capability to address specific issues and concerns from individual members who responded to the survey.


OMR technology has been around for the last 40 years and in certain applications as highlighted above, it is still one of the best and most reliable ways to collect information and turn it into actionable data. In my opinion, this technology lends itself to those situations where there is a need to collect a large amount of information with the smallest possible footprint in order to keep production, processing and distribution costs to a minimum.

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Topics: Customized Scan Form, OMR printing, Customer Satisfaction Survey