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Web File Formats

Images and graphics form the cornerstone of a website and are an integral part in effectively broadcasting your message to the masses. This article will guide you through some of the issues relating to preparing images for use on the Web.

Getting the Right Format
One of the first things you need to know about putting images on the Web is that not all file formats are supported. For example, you may like to save your images as BMP or TIFF, but these will not be read by internet browsers. So far there are 3 formats widely supported: PNG, GIF and JPEG.

The PNG File Format
This format was developed as an alternative to the GIF file format caused by proprietary concerns. It is an extremely versatile format that offers good lossless compression for true color images, and often better compression than the GIF format for indexed color. Like the GIF format, it also supports transparent colors, progressive opening, and custom palettes. Be careful about using the PNG format, while it may have good future, presently only a few web browsers support this format for on-line display.

The GIF File Format
This is a popular indexed color format invented and made famous by CompuServe. In the early days of on-line services, it was widely used for storing and transferring good quality reproductions of photographs. Now it is best suited for original artwork such as drawings, buttons, and other screen components for your home page. GIF files support transparency, interlacing (gradual image loading) and a 256 color palette which can be decreased to reduce download times.

The JPEG File Format
This is a true color format with excellent compression. Use it to show photographs on your home page. The JPEG format supports both progressive and non-progressive opening. We recommend you always use the progressive options for your JPEG images because it appears faster and the file size is smaller.

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