Popular File Extensions and What They Mean

September 22, 2016 Graphics 0 Comments

Did you know that there are over 200 file extensions used today?  Almost every program has their own file extension (ie., Micrsoft Word = .doc, Photoshop = .psd…ect).  With all of these different types of files it can be confusing as to what should be used for what purpose.  Here we have put together a guide to help you learn the differences between the most commonly used file types.

Let’s start with the most commonly used file extension –  JPEG.  The jpg or jpeg extension stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.  This file type is best suited for images and is commonly the file type used by point-and-shoot cameras.  This file type compresses files and does not support transparencies.  High quality JPEG files can be used for professional printing of pictures and image based designs.

The next file type that is regularly used today is the PNG.  This file is usually used for online purposes because of it small file size and low resolution.  PNG stands for portable network graphics and can support a transparent background.  PNG files are great for logos on your website but should not be printed (due to the low resolution).

Next we will cover the PDF file.  Portable Document Format is one of the most versatile file formats out there.  PDFs can be used for print, fillable forms, low resolution proofs and more.  PDF’s support vector files and can embed fonts, images, and graphics inside the file.  You will need Adobe Reader to properly open a PDF file, which can be downloaded free from the Adobe website.  The PDF viewer in your browser works too – but note that sometimes these viewers change how the PDF looks and errors can occur.  This is especially true when embedded fonts or Pantone colors have been used. PDF is the preferred file type for most professional printing.

The EPS file type is used for vector based logos and graphics which can be scaled to any size without loss of quality.  EPS files are a must for large format printing.  You should always request a vector EPS of your business logo!

Finally, we will talk about the TIFF file extension.  This file is most commonly used in professional environments and commercial printing.  This file supports a transparent background and image layers.  Some non-professional programs do not accept TIFF’s though – so depending on the program you plan to use, the TIFF may or may not be right for you.

When you purchase a new logo from Pixel Parfait you will receive all of these file types in your final packet.  It is important to know a general description of each of the files you will be provided with and how to use each one.  Even if you can’t open a file (like a EPS or TIFF), you should never discard these files.  A professional designer or printer will request the file type that will work best for your project. For a quick guide of each of the file types talked about here – check out our references page.