File Extensions…What Do They Mean?

If you are planning to hire a designer to create or plan the layout for your website, you will likely receive many documents and images in a variety of file formats. It is important to know what these formats are and how to use them. Once you understand what each format does and how it can best be used, you will be able to use them to build your website the way you want it.


GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. These types of files are used for both websites and emails and are able to minimize files, making transfers easier. GIF format can be used for website logos, buttons, banners and clickable icons.


EPS stands for Encapsulated Postscript. This format is used for high-resolution images that are can or will be printed. EPS is versatile and can open and edit vector images. It can protect images and but does not require any specific software to open images.


AI stands for Adobe Illustrator Document. It is a popular image format that is used by many designers and editors. AI is used to create logos and banners and can also be used to create vector images, which are easy to edit. AI is preferred because it is easy to use and is a versatile tool.


PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. These files are fully interactive and often large files. Websites are an example of a PNG format. PNGs can be changed and do not lose their quality because they are low-resolution files. PNG formatted files are not suitable for printing.


JPG or JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This format is a popular one and is used for images. The images lose quality as they become smaller, but print well and in high resolution.


PDF stands for Portable Document Format. PDFs are used for sharing and viewing rich information from any application. PDFs can be viewed on any computer and by anyone but can also be password protected. PDF documents can also be edited and resent and are a way to exchange information.


TIF stands for Tagged Image File. These files are photographs and images and are suitable for printing. TIF files are large files.

Trying to understand the many types of file formats and extensions may be confusing, but is simple. Learning how to use these formats will make you a better designer and editor or can help you better understand how your designer creates websites and files.