Graphics file formats

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Here is a summary of the most common graphics file formats:

Common Raster Graphics Formats
file extension MIME type proper name description
.bmp image/bmp Windows Bitmap Commonly used by Microsoft Windows programs, and the Windows operating system itself. Lossless compression can be specified, but some programs use only uncompressed files.
.tif image/tiff Tagged Image File Format Used extensively for traditional print graphics. Lossy and non-lossy compression available, but many programs only support a subset of available options.
.png image/png Portable Network Graphics New format designed primarily for web graphics, intended to replace "gif" format. Uses non-lossy compression.
.gif image/gif Graphics Interchange Format Used extensively on the web. Supports only 256 colors, so requires lossy quantization for full-color photos. Uses non-lossy compression. Supports animated images.
image/jpeg Joint Photographic Experts Group Used extensively on the web. Uses lossy compression; the quality can vary greatly depending on the compression settings.
.xpm image/x-xpm X-Pixmap Used almost exclusively on UNIX platforms. Uses no compression.
.psd ? Photoshop Document Standard Adobe format for Photoshop documents. Has many extra features such as image layering. Supported by very few programs other than Adobe Photoshop.
.psp ? Paint Shop Pro Document Standard Jasc format for Paint Shop Pro documents, similar to .psd for Photoshop. Supported by very few other programs.

Common Vector Graphics Formats
file extension MIME type proper name description
.ps application/postscript PostScript Generic vector-based page description language, created and owned by Adobe.
.eps ? Encapsulated PostScript A PostScript file that describes a small vector graphic, as opposed to a whole page.
.pdf application/pdf Portable Document Format A PostScript file containing multiple pages and links, that works with Adobe Acrobat Reader or Adobe eBook Reader.
.ai ? Adobe Illustrator Document Vector format for Adobe Illustrator.
.fh ? Macromedia Freehand Document Vector format for Macromedia Freehand.
.swf ? Shockwave Flash Shockwave Flash is a web page plug-in that displays vector based animations. The Flash authoring tool from Macromedia is required in order to author .swf documents.
.fla ? Flash Source File Shockwave Flash source file, only usable by Macromedia Flash authoring software.
.svg ? Scalable Vector Graphics An XML based vector graphics format, as defined by the W3 consortium for use in web browsers.