An Introduction To Picture File Formats And Their Use In Web Design

In adding visual content to any webpage, one of the most common items used are pictures that are optimized in formats that both render them nicely on-page, as well as allow fast page loading using a browser.

Therefore, applying the right format to picture files is important if they are to be published within the pages of a website.

JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP picture file formats

JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP picture file formats

The most popular format is one developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, called JPEG.

It allows for pictures to be displayed with high levels of quality, and good compression rates that make it possible for the file size to be kept small for faster loading.

Another format is GIF.

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and it uses a 256-color palette to render images.

Using this format results in pictures of lower quality but enables several of them within a single file space.

For this reason, GIF is the ideal platform for simple animated content in a webpage.

PNG, or Portable Network Graphics, is another format usable for web images.

Development of PNG was intended for it to succeed GIF.

Currently, there are popular software, like Fireworks in the Adobe Macromedia package, that enable users to create PNG-format content primarily for publishing online.

Finally, there is BMP.

This acronym means Bitmapped, and is employed by Microsoft’s Windows and IBM’s OS/2 as their default graphics format.

Bitmapped files do not allow compression, though, and are generally not recommended for older and slow-loading rigs.

An attempt to develop a working knowledge of the various picture file formats available is an undertaking that will require a substantial amount of effort on the part of the beginner.

It is advised that he or she get hold of a Photoshop application for use in file format conversion, to produce versions of images in the different file formats.

A rule of thumb when creating image content is to keep the files as small as possible without degrading quality.

Quality pictures that load quickly make viewing them a pleasant experience and not an exercise in frustration.

JPEG Compression Trick

For the budget-conscious, there is a technique to doing JPEG file compression without resorting to the use of pricey software.

Simply open the image files in Windows Paint and resave them in the default format, and the program automatically compresses them to about 60 percent of the original size.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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