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What is a TIFF file

Posted on 2000-03-03
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Please explain a TIFF file.  What does the abbreviation stand for?
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Question by:mikeware
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by:hewittg
ID: 2581749
Mike,
Hope this helps

Glenn

TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format. It is a compressed file format originally developed by Aldus (now owned by Adobe) for their PageMaker® software. It evolved into a universal standard.

Acronym for tagged image file format, one of the most widely supported file formats for storing bit-mapped images on personal computers (both PCs and Macintosh computers). Other popular formats are BMP and PCX.
TIFF graphics can be any resolution, and they can be black and white, gray-scaled, or color. Files in TIFF format often end with a .tif extension.









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by:Aikawa
ID: 2582497
It is a lossless compression format compared to JPG
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by:Awmytie
ID: 2583666
You can download the TIFF 5.0 and 6.0 format specifications from www.wotsit.org -- type TIFF in the search box.
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by:jjmcd
ID: 2584961
Be a little careful here - TIFF can be compressed or not, and more recently, can be compressed lossy or lossless.

Although TIFF is widely used, there are all sorts of options in the specification, and most software only supports a subset of the options.  Only rarely does this supported subset overlap the subset supported by the OTHER software you want to use.

TIFF is often used by printers, so a primary use of TIFF is to prepare images for publication.

Since the support for a particular type of TIFF (except maybe uncompressed PC byte sex TIFF) is so iffy, I would not recommend it as an archival format, but more as an exchange format.  Most Mac programs, for example, support PC byte sex TIFF and so it becomes a useful format for transferring files between the Mac and a PC.  Relatively few PC programs, however, support Mac TIFFs so you must be sure of the options when you save on the Mac.

But before relying on TIFF as a file exchange mechanism, be sure to TEST.  Most programs which can generate TIFF files have a dozen or so options.  The other end will likely read only a few, if any, of those options.

TIFF can be a good choice, though, if you can get both ends to agree on a compression format.  The other widely used formats, GIF and JPG, each have loss, JPG in image quality and GIF in number of colors.  The only other realistic choice for image exchange is Targa, which is a noncompressed format and so the files tend to be very large.  But it has the advantage of everyone agreeing on what it is.  Still, uncompressed TIFF is often the only compatible TIFF choice, so in that case it's not a big win over Targa.

PCX is interesting in that, even though there are only a handful of options, there seems to be an unusually large number of programs which are incompatible with each other.

BMP/DIB/RLE isn't a bad choice for Windows-only situations, but keep in mind that someday there will be a successor to Windows, and it might not support a Windows proriatary format.
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by:Awmytie
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..and that "someday" is inching slowly ever closer -- BEOS do out publicly real soon, Linux making decided inroads....
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Yotraj earned 5 total points
ID: 2585059
For file format questions I usually go here http://www.wotsit.org/   they cover all file formats very well!
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by:jjmcd
ID: 2586041
Yotrai - the 'answer' you proposed was already given.  It's generally considered good form to reply as a comment, unless you are sure you have a definitive answer.  mikeware can accept a comment as an answer, but posting an answer prevents others from seeing the question and further commenting on it.

Since your 'answer' was already mentioned, it clearly isn't the answer mikeware is looking for.
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