Image formats

What image formats are there and what are they best suited for?

The most common include:

  • GIF
  • PNG
  • JPEG
  • TIFF
  • BMP


The GIF format is used for simple web graphics with limited color choices. Because of the limitation of 256 colors, GIF is the image format with the least amount of storage space. GIF images have short loading times. This format is unsuitable for photos and images with many nuances. GIF is ideal for small graphic elements such as diagrams, clip art or buttons. GIF images can be saved with a transparent background.


This format is not compatible with all applications. However, it offers the possibility of using small files with consistently high quality. For example, logos and small images with thousands of color shades can be processed correctly. PNG images can be saved with a transparent background and are mostly used on the Internet for smaller image icons.


The digital image format supports the full color spectrum. It is the most compatible and universally usable image format. Almost all applications can open JPEG and convert to JPEG. Scanning and importing photos from digital cameras is often done in JPEG format. It is ideal for viewing images with low resolution on the Internet (taking up little storage space). Compression results in loss of image info . In contrast to vector graphic formats (based on vectors), JPEG is a pixel-based format (based on pixels).


Unlike JPEG, this format does not lose any Info through compression. It is intended to maintain quality. TIFF files usually require a lot of storage space. They can be easily edited in graphics programs using layers, transparency and markings. They are well suited for the creation of print products and bitmap images that are edited.


The bitmap format is based on image points (pixels) and has a relatively simple structure. These are generated, for example, by scanners. The format allows for quick editing and high compression. The disadvantage of bitmap is that quality loss is possible when scaling the image size.