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GIF, Graphics Interchange Format (.gif)


The .gif file format

The GIF file format is a type of bitmap image that has become popular with the introduction of the internet. It employs the lossless data compression technique where file size is reduced without any impact on the quality. This file arrangement supports up to 8 bits per pixel thereby enabling the image to contain 256 distinct colours selected a colour space comprising 24-bit RGB. It also has ability to display animations characterized by logos or similar sharp edged line art typical of the GIF format.


.gif technical details

The GIF file format is a creation by Compuserve for their online service, whose software is publicly available. GIFs have the capacity to hold multiple bitmaps of up to 256 colors each, using LZW technique whereby lossless data compression is applied to minimize file sizes of raster images. Use of colours is optimized in the GIF image and set to a maximum of 256 colors or down to the minimum of two (black and white). Images with less colors compress more efficiently under LZW compression.


Additional information about GIF file format

File extension .GIF
File category IMAGE
Useful links
File conversion Convert a file to GIF
Developer CompuServe
Associated programs Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Microsoft Windows Photo Gallery Viewer, Apple Preview