Graphics - File formats

This format is popular on the Internet but is getting a little dated. GIF has two very important limitations - it can only display images at 72 dpi and a maximum of 256 colours. The format is unsuitable for print media, which typically requires a minimum of 300dpi, but its small file size and the fact that most monitors only display 72dpi make it ideal for the Internet - but only for logos or images with fewer than 256 colours. When converting to GIF format, you will lose a lot of colour and quality - the resulting image will have a small file size but photographs will take on a very grainy appearance. In most circumstances, a JPEG is preferable.

Since GIF is a lossy format and discards a lot of information, never use GIF for storing images that you intend printing or changing in the future (use a TIFF). GIF files can also be used for Web animation (a future topic of Here's How Graphics).

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Scott Mendham

PC World
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