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24. About Web Images

You can tell the type of an image file by its filename extension, and there are plenty of 'em—.gif, .jpg, .bmp, .tif, and so on. Not every type of picture file available can be displayed in a web page. As a general rule, you should restrict the images you use to the following types, both of which can be displayed by all graphical browsers:

  • GIF— an image file with the filename extension .gif. GIF files are used most often for highly graphical images such as logos (as opposed to more photographic images). GIF images can be configured to have a “transparent” color in them, so that the Web page background will show through the image's background or any other region of the image in the selected color. Virtually all draw-and-paint programs can save a file in GIF format.

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    Windows XP tells you the type of image file by the file icon. GIF images have an icon with a red square, blue circle, and yellow triangle on them. JPEGs have a sailboat at sunset.


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    A special sort of GIF file, animated GIFs, play simple animations in a browser, such as a pair of clapping hands or a turning wheel. You can find animated GIFs in clip-art libraries, and you can create them in many web graphics programs. For Contribute purposes, you insert, align, and otherwise format an animated GIF image just as you would any other GIF. (You must preview the page in a browser, however, to see the animation play.)


  • JPEG— an image file with the filename extension .jpg or .jpeg. JPEG files are used most often for photographic images and backgrounds, and JPEG is the best format to use for scanned photos, photos taken with a digital camera, or any image with a lot of detail or a lot of variation in color or shading. Most draw-and-paint programs and the utility programs that come with scanners and digital cameras can save a file in JPEG format.


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