Graphic format of a file allows browsing and viewing content of this file as an image, from photos to abstract paintings to dedicated image files such as brushes or splashes for visual effects. Different software works with different formats, from very common JPEG or GIF to very specialized formats.

Most common digital file formats are divided by two groups: raster and vector formats.

  • Raster formats present a picture as a map of colored dots.
  • Vector formats keep images as a sum of vectors and plane figures of different colors.

Vector formats often preserve much more detailed information than raster graphic file formats, and also require much more computing to unpack and present an image from a graphic file to a screen or a hard-copy graphic device.

Sometimes an extension of graphic digital file name can say a lot about this file. Here we are describing most common graphic format file extensions.

  • JPG or JPEG — a common format for photos, presenting an image as a packed raster of similarly colored squares. The more the quality of a GPEG, the lesser a square side.
  • GIF — a 256-color graphic file format for service files, simple pictures and animated images. Modern animated GIF is also a sort of video files!
  • RAW (with many vendor-oriented file extension variations such as ORF for Olympus and NEF for Nikon) — a photo graphic file format with unprocessed, unpacked photo image inside.
  • BMP — a first Windows-based raster format, still usable primarily for programming purposes.
  • PNG — a lossless raster format for detailed screenshots, schemes and so on.
  • TIFF (TIF) — a combined raster and vector format for pro-level image processing.

These are also dedicated image formats for such graphical editors as Corel Draw™, Adobe Photoshop™, Adobe Illustrator™ and GIMP; all of these image types keep processed and unprocessed graphic format data.