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In this correspondence, a simple one-dimensional (1-D) differencing operation is applied to bilevel images prior to block coding to produce a sparse binary image that can be encoded efficiently using any of a number of well-known techniques. The difference image can be encoded more efficiently than the original bilevel image whenever the average run length of black pixels in the original image is greater than two. Compression is achieved because the correlation between adjacent pixels is reduced compared with the original image. The encoding/decoding operations are described and compression performance is presented for a set of standard bilevel images