Scientific and technical documentation utility
News Products Downloads Buy now! Articles Contact us

TIFF file format

Tagged Image File Format (abbreviated TIFF) is a file format for storing images, including photographs and line art. Originally created by the company Aldus, jointly with Microsoft, for use with PostScript printing, TIFF is a popular format for high color depth images, along with JPEG and PNG. TIFF format is widely supported by image-manipulation applications such as Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Ulead PhotoImpact, Corel Photo-Paint and Paint Shop Pro, by desktop publishing and page layout applications such as QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign, by scanning, faxing, word processing, optical character recognition and other applications. TIFF was chosen as the native format for raster graphics in the NeXTstep operating system, and this TIFF support carried over into Mac OS X. Adobe Systems, which acquired the PageMaker publishing program from Aldus, now controls the TIFF specification, although it has not had a major update since 1992 (several technical notes have been published with minor extensions to the format).

TIFF is a flexible and adaptable file format. It can handle multiple images and data in a single file through the inclusion of "tags" in the file header. Tags can indicate the basic geometry of the image, such as its size, or define how the image data is arranged and whether various image compression options are used. For example, TIFF can be used as a container for JPEG and RLE (run-length encoding) compressed images. A TIFF file can also include a vector-based Clipping path (an outline that crops or frames the main image). The ability to store image data in a lossless format makes TIFF files a useful method for archiving images. Unlike standard JPEG, TIFF files can be edited and resaved without suffering a compression loss. Other TIFF file options include multiple layers or pages.

Although it is a widely accepted standard format today, when TIFF was first introduced, its extensibility led to compatibility problems. Programmers were free to specify new tags and options, but not all programs implemented support for all the tags that had been created. As a result the lowest common denominator soon became "the" TIFF, and even today the vast majority of TIFF files, and the code that reads them, are based on a simple 32-bit uncompressed image.

TIFF has an option to use LZW compression, a lossless data compression technique for reducing file size.

You can use our software for view TIFF documents.

RSS channel © 2007-2015