PNG is a raster output format. It was endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1996. Its popularity rose when Unisys enforced licensing terms on their GIF format which is now in the public domain. PNG is often used in both publishing software and on the Web. It creates fairly tight files with good compression.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most of the time! PNG is a very versatile image format and is generally good in any situation. It’s a safe choice. It’s compact for an image format and supported well by both Web browsers and desktop applications such as Microsoft Office. It is a better choice than GIF for line-art and illustrations which do not contain many colors and it is an equally good choice for high-color images like scans and photos. It supports transparency. At the high-end, JPEG may still be a better choice for detailed photographs and realistic pictures. It’s good to do a few experiments with your images by converting them to both JPEG and PNG-24 and then judge quality versus file size/load time to make your choice.
- The image formats used on web sites are JPEG (or JPG), PNG and GIF. JPEG is best for images with many colors such as photos. GIF is best for line art, illustrations and drawings with limited color. PNG is the most versatile and can be used quite broadly on web-sites.
- The image formats used in documents follow a similar rule. GIF, TIFF and PNG are best for images with fewer colors and JPEG is used for images with many colors such as photos. The best test is to use pdf2image to convert to a few different formats and then view them both on-screen and in print to see which gives you the desired result.
- It’s also important to determine what formats your application can import. If the program you want to use only accepts BMP, then you need to convert to this format, even if it produces larger files than PNG.