ARCHIVED: What is the TIFF graphics file format?
Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) is a variable-resolution bitmapped image format developed by Aldus (now part of Adobe) in 1986. TIFF is very common for transporting color or gray-scale images into page layout applications, but is less suited to delivering web content.
Note the following about TIFF:
- TIFF files are large and of very high quality. Baseline TIFF
images are highly portable; most graphics, desktop publishing, and
word processing applications understand them.
- The TIFF specification is readily extensible, though this comes at
the price of some of its portability. Many applications incorporate
their own extensions, but a number of application-independent
extensions are recognized by most programs.
- Four types of baseline TIFF images are available: bilevel (black
and white), gray scale, palette (i.e., indexed), and RGB
(i.e., true color). RGB images may store up to 16.7 million colors.
Palette and gray-scale images are limited to 256 colors or shades. A
common extension of TIFF also allows for CMYK
- TIFF files may or may not be compressed. A number of methods may
be used to compress TIFF files, including the Huffman and
LZW algorithms. Even compressed, TIFF files are usually
much larger than similar GIF or JPEG
- Because the files are so large and because there are so many possible variations of each TIFF file type, few web browsers can display them without plug-ins.
For more, see Adobe's latest TIFF specification.
Last modified on January 03, 2013.