List of Common File Formats and its uses17 min read

There are the List of File Formats used by the computer.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

Jpeg is the popular image format used by the digital cameras to store photos since its supports 224 or 16,777,216 colors. The format also supports varying levels of compression, which makes it ideal for web graphics.

The 16 million possible colors in a JPEG image are produced by using 8 bits for each color (red, green, and blue) in the RGB color space. This provides 28 or 256 values for each of the three colors, which combined allow for 256 x 256 x 256(16 million) colors. Three values of 0 produce pure black, while three values of 255 create pure white.

The JPEG compression algorithm may reduce the file size of a bitmap (BMP) image by ten times with almost no degradation in quality. Still, the compression algorithm is lose some image quality during the compression process. so, digital photographers often choose to capture images in a raw format so they can edit their photos in the highest quality possible. They typically export the pictures as JPEG (.JPG) images when they are shared or published on the web.

Besides image data, JPEG files may also include metadata that describes the contents of the file. This includes the image dimensions, color space, and color profile information, as well as EXIF data. The EXIF data is often “stamped” on the image by a digital camera and may include the aperture setting, shutter speed, focal length, flash on/off, ISO number, and dozens of other values.

File extension: JPG, .JPEG, .JFIF, .JPX, .JP2

MPEG(Moving Picture Experts Group)

Using MPEG compression, the file size of a multimedia file can be significantly reduced with little noticeable loss in quality. This makes transferring files over the Internet more efficient, which helps conserve Internet bandwidth.These files usually have a “.mpg” or “.mpeg” file extension.

MPEG-1 – Audio/video standards designed for digital storage media (such as an MP3 file)
MPEG-2 – Standards for digital television and DVD video
MPEG-4 – Multimedia standards for the computers, mobile devices, and the web
MPEG-7 – Standards for the description and search of multimedia content
MPEG-MAR – A mixed reality and augmented reality reference model
MPEG-DASH – Standards that provide solutions for streaming multimedia data over HTTP (such as servers and CDNs)

File extension: .MP3, .MP4, .M4V, .MPG, .MPE, .MPEG


MP3 is a compressed audio file format developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). A typical MP3 file sounds similar to the original recording, but requires significantly less disk space. MP3 files are often about one tenth the size of an uncompressed WAVE or AIFF file, which have the same audio quality as a CD.

An MP3 file includes a header, metadata, and compressed audio. The header includes information about the audio, such as the version of the encoding, the bitrate, and the (sample_rate|sample_rate). A high bitrate and sample rate produces better audio quality, but also a larger file size.

A common MP3 compression setting is a bitrate of 128 kbps and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. This produces a file size of roughly one megabyte per minute.
MP3 metadata provides information about the actual recording. This data is usually saved in an ID3 tag, which is a standard format supported by most hardware and software media players. The bulk of the MP3 file contents is the actual compressed audio, which is stored as binary data.

PDF(Portable Document Format)

PDF is a file format designed to present documents consistently across multiple devices and platforms.

A PDF file can store a wide variety of data, including formatted text, vector graphics, and raster images. It also contains page layout information, which defines the location of each item on the page, as well as the size and shape of the pages in the document. This information is all saved in a standard format, so the document looks the same, no matter what device or program is used to open it. For example, if you save a PDF on a Mac, it will appear the same way in Windows, Android, and iOS.

The PDF format also supports metadata, such as the document title, author, subject, and keywords. It can store embedded fonts so you do not need to have the appropriate fonts installed to the view the document correctly. PDF documents may also be encrypted so only authorized users can open them.

File extension: .pdf


Zip is a common type of file compression. “Zipping” one or more files creates a compressed archive that takes up less disk space than the uncompressed version. It is useful for backing up files and reducing the size of data transferred over the Internet.

How much a file can be compressed depends on the original data. For example, a plain text file can be compressed much more than a JPEG image file, since JPEG data is already compressed. Zipping a text file might generate an archive that is only 25% of the original file size, while a zipped JPEG file may still be 95% of its original size.

File Extension: .ZIP, .ZIPX


The PNG format was introduced in 1994, after the GIF and JPEG formats had already been around for several years. Therefore, PNG includes many of the benefits of both formats. For example, PNG images use lossless compression like GIF files, so they do not have any blurring or other artifacts that may appear in JPEG images. The PNG format also supports 24-bit color like the JPEG format, so a PNG image may include over 16 million colors. This is a significant difference between GIF and PNG, since GIF images can include a maximum of 256 colors.

Unlike the JPEG and GIF formats, the PNG format supports an alpha channel, or the “RGBA” color space. The alpha channel is added to the three standard color channels (red, green, and blue, or RGB) and provides 256 levels of transparency. JPEG images do not support transparent pixels and GIF images only support completely transparent (not partially opaque) pixels. Therefore, the PNG format allows Web developers and icon designers to fade an image to a transparent background rather than a specific color. A PNG with an alpha channel can be placed on any color background and maintain its original appearance, even around the edges.

While the PNG image format has many benefits, it is not suitable for all purposes. For example, digital photos are still usually saved as JPEGs, since PNGs take up far more disk space. GIFs are still used for animations since PNG images cannot be animated. Additionally, GIFs are still used on many websites since browsers only recently provided full support for the PNG format. However, now that most browsers and image editing programs support PNGs, it has become a popular file format for web developers and graphic artists.

File Extension: .PNG

CSV(Comma-Separated Values)

SV is a standard way to store structured data in a plain text format. It is a common export option in desktop applications and some websites. Most spreadsheet programs can import data from a .CSV file.

A list of comma-separated values represents a table. Each line in a CSV file is a row and the value between each comma is a column. The first row is often a table header containing labels for each column. Since the data in a CSV file represents a table, each line should have the same number of comma-separated values.

A *.csv file can be opened, viewed, and edited in any text editor. However, because of the minimalistic nature of the CSV format, the data is often difficult to read. Therefore, it is best to view CSV files in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers. These applications parse the comma-delimited data and display the values as a table within a spreadsheet.

File extension: .csv

GIF(Graphics Interchange Format)

GIF is an image file format commonly used for images on the web and sprites in software programs. Unlike the JPEG image format, GIFs uses lossless compression that does not degrade the quality of the image. However, GIFs store image data using indexed color, meaning a standard GIF image can include a maximum of 256 colors.

GIFs are better suited for buttons and banners on websites, since these types of images typically do not require a lot of colors. However, most web developers prefer to use the newer PNG format, since PNGs support a broader range of colors and include an alpha channel. (The alpha channel makes it possible for a single image with transparency to blend smoothly with any webpage background color.) Still, neither JPEGs nor PNGs support animations, so animated GIFs remain popular on the web.

Animated GIF

An animated GIF is a GIF file that includes multiple images or “frames.” These frames are played back in sequence when the file is opened or displayed in a web browser. The result is an animated clip or a short movie.

Several image editing programs, such as Adobe Photoshop and GIMP, can be used to create animated GIFs. Other graphics programs can merge multiple image files into a single GIF. Some video utilities can even convert short videos to animated GIFs. While this can be useful for sharing small videos on the web, the GIF format is not as efficient as the MPEG format for storing videos longer than a few seconds.

File extension: .gif

Open Format

An open format is a file format with an openly-published specification that anyone can use. It is the opposite of a proprietary file format, which is only used by a specific software company or application.

Open formats make it possible for multiple programs to open the same file. For example, if you create a plain text (.TXT) file in a text editor like Notepad and open it with another application like Microsoft Word. Since plain text files store data in an open format, they can be opened by any text editor or word processor.

File extension: .txt

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