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Hour 24. Photoshop for the Web > File Formats and File Size

File Formats and File Size

The first thing you need to learn about preparing Web graphics is the type of file format to use. There are two standard choices: GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) and JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group). There's also a third, newer format known as PNG (Portable Network Graphics). It promises to be the best choice of all three but is not supported by older browsers. Use it if you like it, but be aware that there may still be a few folks out there whose software can't read PNG files.

The most important thing to remember, regardless of the file format you decide to use, is that the Web has limited bandwidth. This means that if you create an absolutely beautiful image and it weighs in at something like two megabytes, it will take forever to download on a 14.4 modem. This is not to say that you can't create images with as large a file size as you want. I am just suggesting that few Web surfers out there will have the patience to sit and wait while your 2MB image downloads. If you know that your primary audience is surfing from home with slower modems, you might want to keep your Web pages well under 30KB apiece. This is an area where ImageReady can be a big help. It lets you decide how small you can save a file without sacrificing quality.


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