Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Linda's How-Do-I Series? What's The Difference Between All Those Picture File Types?

Sometimes having a small craft business on the Internet and using graphics or picture enhancing software can be so confusing. Some picture file types are acceptable - other's are not. How is someone to know? And, why is that?

Well, it all comes down to the file extensions.

What is a File Extension?

Well, a file extension is nothing more than the last characters after the period in the name of a file.

For an a more detailed explanation and history of file extension please visit Wikipedia - The FREE Encyclopedia at . And, for their detailed list of all the file formats and extensions please visit . For an extension list of file extensions please see FILExt at

Here's a general rule of thumb - If you want to share pictures, banners, graphics, etc. then you should save them as (.jpg) JPEG or (.gif) GIF formats so they can be viewed on most computers.

Well, listed below are the common picture file types with their extensions:

(.emf) ENHANCED METAFILE - Windows 32-bit Metafile graphics file format.

(.gif) GRAPHICS INTERCHANGE FORMAT - This is Compuserve's Graphic Interchange Format and it can hold up to 256 colors and is commonly used by graphics artists for graphics, blinkies, banners and illustrations. Not generally used for photographs.

(.jpg or .jpeg) JOINT PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERTS GROUP - Commonly used for editing and storing pictures and graphics that will be displayed on a website or sent via email.

(.pcx) PC PAINTBRUSH - A graphics file format that is supported by most graphics programs and devices.

(.png) PORTABLE NETWORK GRAPHICS - The PNG format is the preferred format for professional imaging applications, printing, and websites. It supports 24-bit images and transparent backgrounds and is used for less compression on websites.

(.png+) PORTABLE NETWORK GRAPHICS PLUS - PNG Plus is used for loss less compression and display on websites. Also, it allows for editing by layers for files saved as layers in the PNG Plus Format.

(.tga) TARGA - File format that enables choosing a 16, 24, or 32 bit pixel.

(.tif) TAGGED IMAGE FILE FORMAT - TIFF files are supported by moist graphics, publishing and imaging programs and is used for some clip art on CD-ROM's.

(.bmp) BITMAP - Using for saving desktop backgrounds.

(.psd) ADOBE PHOTOSHOP - Proprietary file format for Adobe Systems Inc.

(.psp) PAINT SHOP PRO - Proprietary file format for PSP Corel.

(.dxf) AUTOCAD - Proprietary fil format for Autodesk, Inc.

(.cdr) CORELDRAW - Proprietary file format for Corel Corp.

(.fpx) FLASHPIX FORMAT - Supports transparencies.

(.php) HOME PUBLISHING - Used by Microsoft Graphics Studio Home Publishing Products.

(.pcd) KODAK PHOTO CD - Proprietary fil format for Eastman Kodak Co.

(.pct) MACHINTOSH PICT - Proprietary file format for Apple Computer, Inc.

(.drw) MICROGRAFX DESIGNER - Proprietary file format for Micrografx.

(.mix) MIX - Used for saving photo projects.

(.wmf) WINDOWS METAFILE - Backward compatible with applications that were written to run as 16-bit Windows based applications.

There are thousands upon thousands of other file extensions, but the above is the most commonly used picture, graphics, and banner extensions.

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