Andrew Connell

Future Attachments with *.MDI extension

What is a MDI file? It's a Microsoft Document Image ... kinda like a PDF, but Microsoft's version. When you get Microsoft Office 2003, this is one of the free installs. The installation creates a printer driver for MDI files. "Great... but why uses MDI?" you ask? Let me explain a little scenario to convey my thinking: I'm doing some research on building a utility application to fill in the admin task gaps that a particular product we're using doesn't provide out of the box... But the functionality is in the SDK. As I research what's possible and things in the SDK, I want to take some notes on pages/posts I find on the internet. Usually I'd just print it out and whip out the highlighter. But there's no indexing or anything with that. So.. I'll print the document as a MDI file, then I can highlight, annotate, etc. And it's in electronic format so I can put it in my personal file share, I can search using any indexing service, etc. Just makes my life easier. Yes, I still use OneNote, another MS product, but that's for taking notes. MDI's are great for duplicating content. "Why don't you...

What is a MDI file? It’s a Microsoft Document Image … kinda like a PDF, but Microsoft’s version. When you get Microsoft Office 2003, this is one of the free installs. The installation creates a printer driver for MDI files. “Great… but why uses MDI?” you ask? Let me explain a little scenario to convey my thinking:

I’m doing some research on building a utility application to fill in the admin task gaps that a particular product we’re using doesn’t provide out of the box… But the functionality is in the SDK. As I research what’s possible and things in the SDK, I want to take some notes on pages/posts I find on the internet. Usually I’d just print it out and whip out the highlighter. But there’s no indexing or anything with that. So.. I’ll print the document as a MDI file, then I can highlight, annotate, etc. And it’s in electronic format so I can put it in my personal file share, I can search using any indexing service, etc. Just makes my life easier. Yes, I still use OneNote, another MS product, but that’s for taking notes. MDI’s are great for duplicating content. “Why don’t you just copy it to OneNote and then highlight/annotate?” Because I do it this way and I like the Microsoft Office Document Imaging IDE.

Anyway, in the future I’ll post things that I’ve annotated in MDI format. Those who have Office 2003 are in good shape and can read them. Those who aren’t, sorry for now. Until Microsoft provides a free viewer for MDI files (which they should, and if they already have one, please let me know because I haven’t found it yet).

Andrew Connell
Developer & Chief Course Artisan, Voitanos LLC. | Microsoft MVP
Written by Andrew Connell

Andrew Connell is a web developer with a focus on Microsoft Azure & Microsoft 365. He’s received Microsoft’s MVP award every year since 2005 and has helped thousands of developers through the various courses he’s authored & taught. Andrew’s the founder of Voitanos and is dedicated to delivering industry-leading on-demand video training to professional developers. He lives with his wife & two kids in Florida.