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What are the differences between the different image formats?

The main image formats used


GIF (acronym for Graphics Interchange Format) is a digital file format. It supports both moving and static images. It can combine multiple images into a single file, creating basic animations.

A GIF file can support 8 bits per pixel for each image and a variety of 256 different colors. This format is well suited to simple images, such as graphics or logos.

The GIF format can contain multiple images and turn them into a short animation. This works with different images loaded in sequence to create a motion impression.

GIF files are small, so they can load faster on web pages. Moreover, they can easily be created with a tool like Photoshop without much technical experience.

Gifs also do not lose the image quality lord of compression. However, the limited color palette often makes GIF resolution quite low.


JPG or JPEG (acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group) is one of the most common file formats for images.

JPG and JPEG files are generally smaller than other image file formats (including TIFF or PNG). This small size makes them well suited for online sharing or email. They are therefore often used for web graphics and digital photos.

There are many advantages to using JPG format. Files are naturally compressed, which means they take up less space on a hard drive or any other storage device.

JPEGs are also universally available. This means that they can be opened and viewed using almost any image review program. Therefore, JPG is probably the most easily accessible and widely compatible file format.

The JPG are also quite high quality. JPG and JPEG can even compete with the quality of RAW image files (the raw image format of digital cameras).


PNG (acronym for Portable Network Graphics) is an uncompressed matrix image type designed specifically for the web. The matrix image concept refers to the fact that PNG are designed as pixel graphics.

PNG is a popular image format for websites. Over 62% of all websites use the PNG image format, for good reason.

First of all, PNG is a "lossless" image format, which means you can compress the image without it losing quality.

This lossless compression allows to reach smaller file sizes than formats such as JPG and GIF. The size of the image files has a big impact on the loading time of the site, so smaller files is essential.

Plus, the PNG format allows you to manage high contrast detailed images better than most other file types. The main disadvantage of PNGs is that they do not support animation.


An SVG file (Scalable Vector Graphic acronym) is a file format that displays images in two dimensions. To do this, it describes the display of the image using an XML text format.

SVG files are designed to use vector data rather than pixels to create images. A file using the SVG format is independent of the resolution. This means that the image size can be changed without causing a loss of quality. They are often used for this benefit, allowing to resize images at will for various projects.

SVG are useful for a multitude of functions. One can think of creating logos, animated elements, diagrams and graphics.

However, they are not as versatile as other file formats such as PNG and JPEG. In addition, SVG files are generally medium in size.


TIFF (Tag Image File Format acronym) is a file format used to contain raster graphics. It is a popular file format for high quality photos and high resolution scans.

TIFF files have a .tiff or .tiff extension. They can be used with Windows, Linux and MacOS.

Like PNG, TiFF is a "lossless" image format. This means that files can retain detailed image data during compression. This makes the TIFF format a good option for professional photographers.

The TIFF format can also be ideal for digitized images and high resolution documents. Because a single TIFF file can store many low-resolution JPEG files, they can be used to send a collection of photos by email.

However, the TIFF file format also comes with some limitations and disadvantages. These files are very large and take up a lot of space on a hard drive. As a result, they can be complex to share because of their volume. In addition, complex and detailed images in a TIFF file can affect the loading time of your website.

Updated on: 22/03/2023

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