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Best Image Format

What’s the Best Image Format? Different File Formats & Their Features

by Waseem Abbas on Feb 13, 2019

Do you want to know which image format is best for you? You may need the right file format to save your photos, so you can manage the quality of the images for sharing or printing. In this guide, we will share the best image format and their features.

There’s a large image file formats list available online. However, we will talk about the most used file formats that are used with the industry best photo editing software to edit photos.


JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and it’s extension is widely written as .jpg. The most used image file format is used to store photos all over the world.

This file format has different qualities like low, medium and high. If you need a high quality image, then you need to choose less compressed options for JPEG. The most common uses of photos with this format is to post on social media, share on email, publish on websites, and more.

Since JPEG takes less space on your memory cards, you can store more images easily with this fie format. Though the quality can easily be compromised in editing a JPEG image.

When to Use JPEG Image Format:

  • For images with a lot of different colors, like photographs
  • To reduce the file size of highly detailed images

2. PNG

PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. It’s an important file format that helps a lot in editing an image. You can use it for complete transparent backgrounds or drop shadows (partial transparency) for the great effects.

This image format will not let you loose the quality and details of the photos. The file size can be bigger in PNG, so it is best for small images like logos.

When to Use PNG Image Format:

  • For images with transparent backgrounds
  • For small images like logos
  • When you want to retain the quality of a detailed image, and file size doesn’t matter

3. GIF

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and it’s quite similar to PNG when you talk about the quality of the images. You can create animations for the web using this format.

This image format has less color range, so it’s not suitable for all photos. Like PNG, the GIF images can be transparent, but it doesn’t support partial transparency which means no shadow effects.

When to Use GIF Image Format:

  • For simple images like icons that have very few colors
  • For animated images

4. PSD

PSD stands for Photoshop Document. It can be produced from Adobe Photoshop to save images. You can edit the individual layers in this format, and the saved file can be further edited for details.

This file format is not suitable for web and mostly clients don’t accept it. However, it is one of the best image formats to maintain the quality of the image for a longer period.

Images with layers can further be edited to add effects or retouching. You need to make sure that the layers are not merged before saving the PSD file, so you can edit the file anytime. Once merged, you can’t get the layers back.

The file size of PSD can be bigger, and it can produce highest quality image format for printing photos.

When to Use PSD Image Format:

  • To save images you may be editing again later
  • To retain the quality and detail of images you want to print

You can get Photoshop here from Adobe’s site.


TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format known as the most used file format by photographers and designers. The images stored with TIFF are best for post-processing as they are not compressed at all.

This image format allows you to create all types of digital images. You can use it with any photo editing software to edit images as long as you need. The file size for images saved with TIFF will be higher, so it would take more space on your devices.

When to Use TIFF Image Format:

  • For images you want to store on your computer without losing details
  • For images you need to print

We hope this guide has helped you to learn the best image format and their features. You may also want to check out our guide on how to upload large images in WordPress. In case, you images are loading slow on your site, we recommend you to check this ultimate guide to boost speed and performance.

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  1. What format for people pictures is hardest to edit (to protect our client’s pictures from being doctored) if its downloaded?
    Can one build a protection against pictures being downloaded or file format that would discourage downloading?

    1. @ Syed kamal;

      Hardest to download: .svg (Scaled Vector Graphics). By far. They don’t work like your average image and non professional users will not know what to do with ’em. Your average run of the mill software will not display it, but it actually has huge benefits for online web uses.
      Plus, since it can be used as a DOM node-based API it kind of looks horrible and very, VERY discouraging to a lot of potential image thieves 😉
      But if it is a format for you really depends on what image you want to display.
      There is however no format to prevent downloading and editing of your images. When you put them on display, they will always remain vulnerable to piracy. You can watermark them to make them useless for unauthorized uses (like the big image selling sites tend to do), but if you use them for aesthetic purposes on your site, you probably don’t want to watermark them.

      Ps -> About this article though, thanks a billion! Just the clear information I needed to determine the format for my scanned images ^^

  2. Thank you for all the insight.
    I have a question pertaining to saved image files. When they are saved with the prefix cross0. followed by a set of numbers .jpg, what does the cross0 mean or stand for?

  3. Hello dear,
    Can one build protection against pictures being downloaded or file format that would discourage downloading?

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