File extensions explained: images

Last week, we started talking about file extensions. A file extension is a way of identifying what type of file a file found on your PC, tablet, or phone is. It’s a way of helping you find the type of file you’re looking for and what sort of program to open it with.

If a file is called “catphoto.jpg,” the file extension is the three letters after the dot at the very end of the file name. The extension .jpg tells me that this is an image file and that I’ll need to open with a program that can view images. It also tells Windows to put this file into the picture library.

Last week we covered common extensions associated with documents. Click here to read that article. 

Today, we’ll look at images.

.jpg or .jpeg  This is one of the most common image formats out there.  JPG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This is a compressed file format that’s capable of giving a pretty good image without taking up a lot of room. Nearly all digital cameras can save images in this format. Nearly any image editing program can open it and it’s also the most common way to display images on the web.

.tiff – Tagged Image File Format – These files are larger than .jpeg files and generally not supported by web browsers. It’s often used in the printing industry. Some cameras will save files in this format.  Like .jpg files, they can be opened with almost any imaging software including Microsoft Paint.

.gif – Graphics Interchange Format – is usually considered more suitable for images with fewer colors as it’s limited to an 8-bit 256 color palette. It’s also popular to use for small animations. It’s another format that’s usually supported by nearly every image editor.

.bmp  Windows bitmap -is used for graphics files within Windows. The files are uncompressed and simple.

.png – Portable Network Graphic- this format was created as an alternative to .gif, it supports up to 16 million colors and also is capable of transparency, which makes it good for more complicated editing projects. It works well in web browsers.

.psd – Adobe Photoshop Document – These files are used with the Adobe Photoshop program. This is a proprietary file, intended for use with Adobe Photoshop. Images can be saved with several working layers that allow for editing.

Here are some other file formats intended for use only with certain programs. Opening them can be a challenge if you no longer have the original program.

.cpt – Corel Photo Paint file.

.psp – Corel Paint Shop Pro

.ai – Adobe Illustrator Artwork

.cdr CorelDraw

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.