With so many image formats available on the web, it is difficult to know which one is best for each application. You have probably noticed that when saving an image, you have several extensions like: jpeg, png, gif, bmp, among others.

In this post we will explain a bit about the difference between these formats.

Image Formats


The format has become one of the most popular patterns on the Internet. It was created by a group of photographic experts in 1992 and it stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.
JPEG is generally used when file size is more important than image quality. For example: in web pages, blogs, emails, social networks, etc.
It is capable of working with approximately 16.8 million colors (24 bits) aligned to the compression capability that reduces the file size. Therefore, it is perfect for photos on digital cameras. Although by compressing data to a smaller size, the image loses quality.








JPEG quality is higher than GIF, which only accepts 8 bits.


The PNG format, an acronym for Portable Network Graphics, came in 1996 to replace the GIF and is one of the newer formats.
Unlike GIF, which has only 265 colors, PNG has up to 16 million colors and also supports transparency. For this, it uses an alpha channel, which allows to define the level of opacity of each pixel, increasing its quality.

Something interesting is that PNG also has an animated format called APNG (Animated Portable Network Graphics) that works much like GIF, but with higher quality and a higher level of compression.

Because PNG is an ideal format for the internet, you’ll probably find many logos in that extension. In addition to being a free format, menaing no need for licenses, it was created to be used in any application.



Example of logo with transparent background


It was created in 1987 by CompuServe. It is another very common format on the Internet. Graphics Interchange Format is a lightweight file and famous for its motion pictures, known as animated GIFs.
GIF has a small color scheme, 256 colors (8 bits) and was created just for visualizations at speeds of dial-up connection. This is why it is used more in icons and small animations and also allows to save files with transparent background without losing the quality.

Currently, PNGs have been replacing GIFs, which used to appear a lot in Internet logos. Both support images with transparency and animations, but the quality of PNG is infinitely superior.

Despite this, GIFs have always had a special place on the Internet. For those who remember, they were already very used in the time of Orkut, Blogger and Fotolog. Nowadays, they have once again gained prominence in social networks.

GIF is a file format accepted by most image editing programs and has been the subject of many copyright disputes.






GIF Example


BMP, also known as Bitmap (pixel by pixel), is a very old format and one of the simplest. It originated with the Windows operating system.
BMP images are extremely large files and do not use compression. They can range from black and white (having 1 bit per pixel) to 16.7 million colors (up to 24-bit color), therefore they are not recommended for the Internet.
Bitmap files are patent-free and may have .dib (Device Independent Bitmap) or BMP (standard Microsoft Windows) extension and do not support transparent background.

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a vector image file that came out in 2001 and was developed by W3C.
It is not based on pixels (the little dots that make up the image), instead it uses the XML language to describe how the file should be. While JPG, GIF and PNG are BMP file compression formats, the SVG format is a text-based file.
It serves both static and animated images and since it is a vector, images can be enlarged and reduced without losing quality.
It is a great format for smartphones, because even with high compression capacity, it maintains its quality.
Files in this format have .svg or .svgz extension




Difference between Bitmap and vector.


Tagged Image File Format is a format created in 1986 by Adus, a company that was purchased by Adobe. It is widely used in professional applications and is preferred by most graphic designers for editing and printing.
TIFF is a lossless format and is therefore considered very good for commercial, industrial work and for medical imaging purposes. It is also used in scans such as scanner or fax.
TIFF extension files can be very large because they have little to no compression. They have a lot of colors, allow the use of layers, better known in PSD files (Photoshop originals) and support transparent background.
Although versatile, some browsers do not show TIFF images.


Although not mandatory, it is a standard format in some digital cameras, but you can opt for JPEG or PNG as well.

The name refers to a pattern that stores all the data in the photo, without applying effects or adjustments, as it was generated in the digital camera. Therefore, it offers high image quality and greater color depth. The files in this pattern are “pure”. The editor has the freedom to use the image in the way it was captured and apply its own effects or adjustments.

Files in the RAW format allow for multiple extensions, as each digital camera manufacturer works with its own specifications.

Thus, we can notice that JPEG (which has a reduced size) and PNG (which has better quality and versatility) are the formats most used on the web. Also, we cannot forget the favorite in social networks: the GIF, which has become popular in recent years.

In addition to these image formats, there are many others that are good in quality and are adaptable in various applications. One being the SVG and others that may present compatibility problems with common programs, such as TIFF. Therefore, there is no standard of what should be used, as each format fits better with an application. Assess which one best fits your needs.

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