The Quick Guide to Graphic File Extensions

A good site I have come across if you ever need to know what a file type is fileinfo.com. Here’s a quick guide to file types and extensions:

What’s the difference between a vector and raster file?
A vector graphic is an image that is not made up of a specific number of dots, it can be scaled to a larger size and will not lose any image quality. If you blow up a raster graphic, it will look blocky, or “pixelated.” When you blow up a vector graphic, the edges of each object within the graphic stay smooth and clean. This makes vector graphics ideal for logos, which can be small enough to appear on a business card, but can also be scaled to fill a billboard. Common types of vector graphics include Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand and EPS files.

.ai – Adobe Illustrator Vector Drawing
Fully scalable, composed of paths or lines connected by points, instead of bitmap data.

.bmp – Bitmap
Raster image format used to store display images, suitable for photos. Made up of a rectangular grid of pixels, each pixel is a different color which together form an image.

.eps – Encapsulated PostScript
A platform independent format used for vector or raster information. Fully scalable when it is saved from Illustrator.

.gif – Graphics Interchange Format
Compressed image file used for screen presentation only. Used on the Internet for images with 256 colors or less. Can also make transparent gifs for web and animated gifs.

.jpeg or .jpg – Joint Photographic Experts Group
Compressed image file format. JPEG images are not limited to a certain amount of color, like GIF images are. They are used on the Internet, and for decreasing file size for larger images.

.pdf – Portable Document Format
Enables files to be viewed cross-platform and without the original program that created them. Acrobat Reader is required to view pdf file. Since PDFs contain color-accurate information, they should also print the same way they look on your screen. Many printers can print from high-resolution print-ready PDFs with crops and bleeds.

.pict or .pct – Picture File
Mainly for Mac applications, counterpart of the Windows Metafile (WMF) format. The PICT format has largely been replaced by PDF format.

.ps – Postscript
A page description language for both PC and Mac platforms, primarily used for printing documents on laser printers. The evolution of PostScript led to the development of Adobe Acrobat, which creates a PDF.

.psd – Photoshop Document
May include image layers, adjustment layers, layer masks, annotation notes, file information, keywords and other Photoshop-specific elements. Documents support RGB, CMYK, grayscale, monochrome, duotone, indexed color, Lab color, and multichannel color modes; the color mode can be changed within the Image.

.png – Portable Network Graphic
Image format that uses indexed colors. Also include an 8-bit transparency channel, which allows the colors in the image to fade from opaque to transparent. GIF images only support fully opaque or fully transparent pixels. PNG images are now supported by most Web browsers.

.tiff or .tif – Tag Image File
High-quality raster graphic format often used for storing images with many colors, such as digital photo, includes support for layers and multiple pages. Can be saved in a uncompressed format. Supported in almost all software.

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