Do you know how images in magazines are always crystal clear and beautifully colored? Those images are traditionally used in TIF format, which is the image format file for high-quality graphics.

TIF stands for “Tagged Image File”. Nowadays, TIF files are used for high color-depth images.

Back to the magazine analogy: the color layering in the digital photos (TIF files) is what results in the high-quality imagery on printed pages. Without that universal image format, the images we’d see in print work would be vastly different.

Technical information about TIF files

TIF files can either be saved in a compressed format or uncompressed format. Some forms of lossless compression don’t reduce the quality of the image when it reduces the file size. So, quality isn’t compromised when the size is reduced.

Who would use TIF files?

Graphic artists/designers, anyone in the publishing industry, and photographers. TIF files can be easily supported by scans, faxes, word processors, page-layout applications, and desktop publishers.

How to edit TIF files

There are conversion tools that can assist in editing a TIF file that don’t require installing a photo editing program. These conversion tools specifically support TIF files, but they change the format of the file from TIF for editing purposes.

If that worries you and you want to keep the TIF format while editing the file, there is free photo editing software available, as well as paid subscriptions like Adobe Photoshop.

How to Convert a TIF file

Converting a TIF file is just a few clicks away. If you have an image editor that supports TIF files but you want to save it as something else, like a JPG for example, there are only two steps.

First, you’ll hover your cursor over the ‘File’ tab. Then, you’ll find and select ‘Save as’, which will then list various formats you can convert your TIF file to. And there you have it, once a TIF, now a JPG.


History of the TIF file

The TIF was created by the Aldus Corporation (a software company known for the development of PageMaker) for use in desktop publishing. The latest version for TIF formatting is version 6.0 which was developed in 1992. In 1994, Adobe acquired the Aldus Corporation, and since then minor technical notes and extensions have been added to the format. Several specifications have been based on the most recent TIF 6.0, such as TIFF/EP, TIFF/IT, TIFF-F, and TIFF-FX.

TIF formatting was created to attempt to get desktop scanners and developers to unanimously agree on a common image file format during a time that loads of image file formats existed.

At inception, TIF files only supported black and white images, but later adapted and included the color palette. Fun fact, the color palette was only introduced in the 5.0 revision in 1988.

Review: what is a TIF file?

TIF files are files used in publishing and other graphic design areas for its ability to implement depth of color. It’s the universal file for desktop image file scanning and can either be compressed or uncompressed.

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