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Different File Formats

There are many file formats to choose from today. Different file formats exist because some are better at certain
tasks than others.
Lossy vs Lossless
Image compression maybe divided into two categories: lossy and lossless. In a lossy compression the file size is
reduced thereby degrading the image. Also a lossy compression stores colour information at a lower resolution,
but this is rarely seen by the eye since it cannot detect minute colour changes. On the other hand, a lossless
compression retains all the image information although the file size has reduced.
Raster vs Vector
Raster images are created by using pixel to form an image. Each pixel is assigned a colour therefore when the
image is stretched it creates a blurry effect. Vector images are created using thin lines and curves and is
mathematical in theory. Vector images have the ability to be resized.

File Format Description Compression State of When Used

Name Compression
Windows Bitmap This file format Uncompressed Lossless Widely accepted
(BMP) was created by by all web
Microsoft browsers
Encapsulated This vector file Uncompressed Lossless This file type is
PostScript (EPS) type can be opened suitable for
in many drawing programs
illustration and vector graphic
applications. It also applications.
includes an
embedded preview
image in bitmap
Graphics GIF is a pixel Compressed Lossless GIF is ideal for
Interchange based file format logos and
Format (GIF) which has a limited animations with
colour palette of limited colours.
256 colours.
Joint The JPG retains all Compressed Lossy Best used for
Photographic colours in the RGB photographs and
Experts Group colour format and online artwork.
(JPG) hence requires a
large file size
Macintosh This file format is N/A Lossless Used for on screen
Picture (PCT) mainly used in display for
Macintosh Macintosh
platforms. It is
capable of
reducing the file
size of an image
with a lot of
PC Paintbrush PCX is used for Uncompressed Lossless Mostly used with
(PCX) the Paintbrush the Paintbrush
software. Application
Portable Developed by N/A Lossless Widely used for
Document Abode Systems the scanned
Format (PDF) PDF format documents,
captures text, brochures, eBooks
images videos and and a variety of
more. A major other printable
advantage of this documents.
file is that it can be
easily downloaded
on any device
Portable Network The PNG is far Compressed Lossless Used for web
Graphics (PNG) superior to its graphics and
predecessor GIF. It illustrations
is used to display
images on the web
and retains 16
million colours.
The images are
rather large and
support partial
Photoshop PSD is extremely N/A Lossless PSD is great for
Document (PSD) useful because it retouching photos,
can preserve editing artwork
layers, channels and it supports
and paths. This layers and
allows for transparency.
maximum editing
of the image.
Truevision Targa This raster graphic Uncompressed Lossless TGA format is
(TGA) format supports 8- mostly used in the
32 bits per pixel at gaming industry,
a maximum 24 bits paint, graphics and
for RGB colour. imaging
Tagged Image TIF is great for Uncompressed Lossless or Lossy It is mostly used
File Format saving images for page layout,
(TIFF) because no publishing and
information is lost. photo manipulation
However a via fax, scanning,
disadvantage of word processing,
this is the huge file etc. It is not good
size. for web graphics.
Windows Metafile This is used as an Compressed Lossless Intended use for
(WMF) extension portable
compressed in application.
Microsoft However support
Windows. It holds is limited
both vector and
raster image data.
Digital Image File Types Explained (n.d). Retrieved on March 1, 2017, from
Lundquist, S. (n.d.). Image file formats: everything youve ever wanted to know [Web log post]. Retrieved on
March 1, 2017, from
Nicholas, J. L. (2013, November 15). How And When To Use Different Types of Image Files [Web log post].
Retrieved from
Common image file formats (n.d). Retrieved from
Understanding the Most Popular Image File Types and Formats. (2016, March 15). Retrieved from