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Converting Micro-CT TIFF images to DICOM files

We recently had a user who needed to convert Micro-CT scans consisting of TIFF images to DICOM files.  Easy DICOM Viewer could already convert most graphic files to DICOM, so we thought it would not be a problem.  Turned out to be a big problem.

Usability

First up was the usability issue.  Micro-CT scans are high-resolution images, running into hundreds to thousands of files.  In the original conversion screen, you had to drag the images you wanted to convert onto the DICOM image frames window.

This worked fine if you only had less than a hundred images or so, or when you needed to combine images from different folders.  However, for Micro-CT images, having to show a preview for hundreds or thousands of images was simply not feasible.  Thus, we removed the need to have to display the images in the frames window.  You can now start the conversion in the image browser window itself.

In addition, the image browser now lists the files by file names by default, which makes this screen more responsive.  You can of course still toggle between thumbnails and file names modes.

Also, if you now dropped a large number of files on to the DICOM image frames window, Easy DICOM Viewer will ask you to confirm that you want to proceed with the action.

With all the above changes, you can now easily convert Micro-CT scans into DICOM images very much faster compared to the previous version of Easy DICOM Viewer.

DICOM image properties

The main change here was to add the compression options for the converted DICOM images.  This allowed the user to generate smaller DICOM files, depending on their needs.

Other changes we made was to easily resize images by percentage, and also to convert the images to 16-bit grayscale.

With all the above improvements, you can now easily convert Micro-CT TIFF images to a single, smaller DICOM file.  Download a 14-day trial of Easy DICOM Viewer now and give it a try.

See also:

 

Multi-user support in Easy PDF Search

Easy PDF Search 5.3 (EPS) now has limited support for multi-user access.  Users running EPS on different computers can now access the same EPS database to search their indexed files.

There are limitations as to the multi-user support.  EPS uses SQLite as the underlying database to store the indexed words.  SQLite is a file-based database.  Unlike a client-server database (PostgreSQL, SQL Server, etc), a file-based database usually needs to transfer all or most of its content to the application using it.  This means that it may not be feasible to run EPS against a 100 GB database, as the users’ computers would be spending a lot of time reading the large file over the network.

Setting up Easy PDF Search for multi-user access

EPS version

Ensure that you are using EPS 5.3 or newer.  You can check the version you have by selecting the Help > About item on the main menu.

In the About screen, the version number is displayed.

It is important that all users accessing the same database be on version 5.3 or newer.

Database file location

The database file needs to be stored on a network share.  You will then need to change the EPS  database settings to point to that network share.  To do that, click on the File > Settings item on the main menu.

Enter the network share path.

PDF files path

To open the PDF files in the search results, each user needs to be able to access the PDF files.  This means that the paths in the library needs to be network shares e.g.

Presently, the path explorer is unable to browse network shares, so you will need to enter the network share manually in the path area.

Performance

By default, every time you perform a search, EPS first scans for new PDF files and index them.  In a multi-user scenario, this is inefficient.

You should designate a single user to update the index for new files.  Other users should use any of the other options that skip the indexing process:

  • Search only indexed files
    EPS will scan the selected libraries’ folders for PDF files, and only return results from files that have been indexed.  New or updated files are not indexed.
  • Search index only (selected libraries)
    EPS will search all indexed files in folders used by the selected libraries.
  • Search index only
    EPS will search all indexed files.

Points to note

We do not expect this multi-user access implementation to support a client-server experience.  It will probably work for database files of a modest size, supporting a small number of users.  The exact numbers will vary, depending on the network infrastructure and machine specifications in use.

If you discover any bugs or have any suggestions to improve EPS, please drop us a line at support@yohz.com.

You can download the latest version of Easy PDF Search using this link.

Searching PDF annotations

In Easy PDF Explorer 3, we added the option to also search annotations in addition to page content.  To search annotations, select the annotations option in the Find Text window.

In the search results, the number of times the word/phrase appears on a page is displayed e.g.

In the first PDF file, the word aperture was found on pages 5, 7, 9.  On page 5, the word was found 3 times on the page, and twice in annotations.  On pages 7 and 9, the word was found twice in annotations in those pages.

Download a 14-day trial of Easy PDF Explorer now and start experiencing an easier way to work with your PDF files.

Mouse and keyboard interactions in Easy PDF Explorer 3

In Easy PDF Explorer 3, you can now perform more actions on your search results using the mouse and keyboard.

Selecting text

To select text on your PDF page, click and drag the mouse over the text you want to select.  The text will be highlighted and automatically copied to the clipboard.  You do not need to press CONTROL-C.

To select a single word, double click on the word.

Zooming

Pressing the CONTROL key and scrolling the mouse wheel zooms in and out of the current page.  The zoom factor is determined by the currently selected item in the zoom options on the toolbar.

Panning

In addition to using the horizontal and vertical scrollbars to pan around the page, you can use the mouse wheel to scroll the vertical scrollbar, and SHIFT + mouse wheel to scroll the horizontal scrollbar.

Navigating the search results and pages

Say we have the above search results, and Easy PDF Explorer is displaying page 5.

Pressing the a key will open page 3, which is the previous page in the search result.

Pressing the z key will open page 7, which is the next page in the search result.

Pressing the A key will open page 4, which is the previous page in the file.

Pressing the Z key will open page 6, which is the next page in the file.

Note that the A and Z shortcuts only work when the CAPS LOCK key is active.  They will not work if used with the SHIFT key.

With the above mouse and keyboard interactions, you can now navigate and select text on your PDF pages with minimal mouse movements.

Download a 14-day trial of Easy PDF Explorer now and start experiencing an easier way to work with your PDF files.

Presenter mode in Easy DICOM Viewer

In Easy DICOM Viewer 4.1, we introduced a presenter mode to help you share images in presentations and zoom meetings while maintaining confidentiality of your images.

Anonymized tag values

In presenter mode,  sensitive tag values are automatically anonymized.  For e.g. in the image list, you would usually see the patient name:

In presenter mode, this is replaced by a generic label:

In the image itself, information profiles like these:

are replaced with anonymized values:

In the tags listing, these values are also anonymized.

Highlighted cursor position

In presenter mode, the cursor position is highlighted so that your audience can track your cursor position easily.

Customizing presenter mode

You can customize the presenter mode settings to fit your requirements.  For e.g. you may want to anonymize additional tags, or customize the appearance of the cursor highlight.

Setting the presenter mode

Turn presenter mode on by selecting the Presenter mode option from the Application item on the tool bar.

Summary

Easy DICOM Viewer‘s presenter mode allows you to present/screen share images easily without worrying about exposing confidential information.  Your images are unchanged – only the displayed values are modified.  This is a huge time saving over the previous practice where you had to anonymize the tag values before using them in any presentations.

Download a 14-day trial of Easy DICOM Viewer now and experience how the presenter mode makes it easy to display DICOM images without exposing any confidential information.

See also:

 

Grouping photos by EXIF values

Let’s say we want to search for photos taken with a focal length of between 12mm and 18mm.  We enter these values In Easy Photo Search:

and the results will be displayed like this:

as one long list of files on the left.

An alternative to just viewing this long list of files is to group the files.  Say we want to group by focal length, then by aperture.  In the grouping criteria, we select Focal length and Aperture.

Our search criteria then looks like this:

Our search results then shows the files grouped by focal length and aperture.

When we now click on the focal length or aperture item in the search results, Easy Photo Search will automatically display the first image in that grouping.

Download a 14-day trial of Easy Photo Search now and see for yourself how easy it is to index and search your images based on their EXIF values.

See also:

 

Working with PNG images containing Exif tags

We recently received a request from a user who asked if we could add support for PNG files in Easy Photo Search.  We weren’t even aware that PNG files could contain Exif tags, and after some quick googling, we thought that there was no ‘standard’ in how the Exif tags would be stored in the PNG files.

After some more research, we understood that while there is somewhat of a (belated) standard in how Exif data is stored in PNG files, the Exif data block itself does follow the JPEG specifications.  It was only in where the Exif data is stored that may change, depending on the software used to embed the Exif data.  We thus decided to add support in Easy Photo Search to read the Exif chunk in PNG files where possible, as we only need to locate the Exif data block and process it.

Thus, Easy Photo Search 1.2 can now read Exif values stored in PNG files.  Note that you cannot modify the Exif values, nor remove them, from the PNG files at this point.

How Easy DICOM Viewer is different

Easy DICOM Viewer is a DICOM imaging application co-developed by LISIT, Co., Ltd., a medical software company based in Tokyo, Japan and Yohz Software.

What sets Easy DICOM Viewer apart from the many other DICOM viewers out there?  In this post, we’ll describe the more interesting features and how it benefits you.

Customizable layouts

You can display your DICOM images in a grid with equal sized cells e.g. in a 2 x 2 grid

or in irregular sized cells e.g.

You can define your own layouts, save them, and recall them instantly when you need them.

Custom defined DICOM details

Like most DICOM viewers, Easy DICOM Viewer can display the DICOM tag values embedded in your images.  Unlike most other viewers, you can define exactly which tags you want to display. 

You can then save these tag ‘profiles’, and display them in your images depending on your needs.

Orthogonal measurements

Polygonal measurements in Easy DICOM Viewer include the long axis and short axis values.  This provides you with extra measures to improve diagnosis.

Measuring an area of similar color

This borrows a technique from image editors.  If you have an irregular shaped area that is of a similar color, you can easily measure that area by simply clicking in the center of that area.

Easy DICOM Viewer will create a polygon of that area of interest for you, instead of you having to manually plot each time of the polygon.

Magnifying an area of interest

Instead of enlarging the entire image, you can choose to magnify only the area of interest.  This lets you concentrate your diagnosis on a specific area while still retaining a context of the overall region.

Anonymize/modify DICOM tag values

You can define tag templates to anonymize/erase/modify groups of DICOM tags, and apply these templates to easily modify the existing values in your DICOM images.  This saves you time from having to repeatedly enter the same values each time you want to modify the tags.

View DICOM tags

Easy DICOM Viewer displays the tag values for all opened images in a spreadsheet-like layout.  This allows you to compare the values of different images easily.

You can also filter the displayed values, helping you to view only the tags you are interested in.

You can export the tag values to Excel when you need to share or work with the values in a different application.  This saves you time from having to copy the values manually, which is prone to errors.

Presenter mode to easily share images

In presenter mode, you can open any of your images and Easy DICOM Viewer will automatically anonymize all sensitive tag values that are displayed in your images.   The DICOM tag values are not modified in any way.  It is only the displayed values that are changed.

This means you no longer need to manually anonymize your images first before using them in a presentation or online screen sharing session, saving you time.

Redact parts of your DICOM images

Easy DICOM Viewer includes a redaction function to black out areas of the image that may be confidential.  You can then export the images with the applied redaction to share with other users.

Convert images to DICOM images

You may sometimes receive medical images that are in a bitmap, jpeg, or png formats, and you need to convert them to DICOM images so that they can be archived in your PACS system.  Easy DICOM Viewer can perform the conversion for you, and at the same time use the tag templates described above to provide some basic values in the new DICOM images.

Burn images to CD/DVD

You can burn the images you are currently studying to a CD/DVD using Easy DICOM Viewer.  The CD/DVD will contain an integrated viewer so your patients can easily open the images themselves without having to download another viewer.  You can also display your company logo/branding within the viewer.

Download a 14-day trial of Easy DICOM Viewer now and experience how working with DICOM images is made easier.

Burning images to CD/DVD using Easy DICOM Viewer

Easy DICOM Viewer adds the ability to burn your DICOM images to a CD or DVD.  You access this function using the Tools menu item.

If you have a workspace opened, Easy DICOM Viewer gives you the option to use images from that workspace.  You can also just choose other images on your computer.

A lite version of Easy DICOM Viewer is included on the CD/DVD containing your DICOM images.  When started, this viewer will automatically load and display the images that are found on the CD/DVD.

You can choose to display your company logo/brand when the viewer starts up.  Simply select the image to display, and for how long the image should be displayed.

Easy DICOM Viewer then prepares the disc image.  Once prepared, you can then click on the Test button to simulate how the viewer will display your logo (if selected) and how it displays your images.

You can also add additional files into the disc image if required.  Click on the Open folder button to open the staging folder, and copy the required files into that folder and sub-folders.

Next, simply provide the media to write the disc image to, and you’re once.

Download Easy DICOM Viewer now and experience how you can easily create a CD/DVD containing your DICOM image files and also a viewer that can display your logo/branding.

Using layouts in Easy DICOM Viewer 4

Easy DICOM Viewer 4 uses a new grid-based layout which offers more flexibility when it comes to displaying your DICOM images.

You can now easily display your DICOM images in a grid using the number of rows and columns that you require:

The above example creates a grid containing 2 rows and 2 columns.

You can then save this layout simply by entering a name for it, and clicking on the Save button e.g.

You can then recall the layout in the future whenever you need to use it.

You can also create layouts with cells than span across multiple rows and columns e.g.

You merge columns and rows by clicking on the Modify layout button and selecting the Merge column and Merge row items.

You can then save these unique layouts and apply them whenever the need arises.

Download Easy DICOM Viewer now and experience how you can easily define your own layouts and easily and quickly apply them to analyze your DICOM images better.