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Web Image Formats

The world’s awash with a virtual alphabet soup of image formats: BMPs, TIFFs, TGAs, EPSs, RASs—the list goes on and on. Fortunately when it comes to the World Wide Web, it really boils down to just two formats— GIFs and JPEGs. GIFs (CompuServe’s Graphical Interchange Format) are used for everything but medium to large photographs, which are best formatted as JPEGs (developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group).

Another file format, PNG (Portable Network Graphics) has been touted for several years now because it compresses images nicely without losing as much information as a JPEG and sidesteps an ongoing dispute over GIF rights. While version 4 and later browsers support PNG, the inability of earlier browsers to display the format has hampered its growth and acceptance. GIFs and JPEGs remain your best bets. For details, see Converting image formats.


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