Software & Apps Design Choosing the Right Graphic File Type for a Publishing Task Choose graphics file formats based on task By Jacci Howard Bear Writer A graphic designer, writer, and artist who writes about and teaches print and web design. our editorial process Jacci Howard Bear Updated October 11, 2019 Logorilla / Getty Images Design Graphic Design Photoshop Animation & Video 3D Design Tweet Share Email Graphics come in many file formats but not all file formats are suitable for all purposes. How do you know which is best? In general, there are graphics formats suitable for printing and those for on-screen viewing or online publishing. Within each group, there are also formats that are better than others for the same task. What Publishing Format Saves Images? As a general rule: Use GIF, PNG, and JPG for online publishing.Use EPS and TIFF for print publishing. If all your printing is sent to a desktop printer, use JPG and other formats including CGM and PCX with acceptable results. For high-resolution output, EPS and TIFF provide the least problems and the best quality. EPS and TIFF are the standards for high-resolution printing. In addition to the formats in the chart shown below, there are proprietary graphics file formats. These are bitmap or vector formats used by specific graphics programs. Although some desktop publishing software recognizes the common formats such as PSD from Adobe Photoshop (bitmap) or CDR from CorelDRAW (vector), it's generally best to convert these images to TIF or EPS or other common graphics file formats. If you send files out for commercial printing, your service provider may charge extra (and add time to your print job) to convert graphics to a print-friendly format. Save time and money by using the right format for the job. The chart below outlines the best use of several common formats. Match the format to your job either by starting with graphics in that format or by converting other artwork to the desired format. Format Designed For Top Choice For BMP Screen display under Windows Windows wallpaper EPS Printing to PostScript printers and Imagesetters High-resolution printing of illustrations PDF Screen display, especially the web Online publishing of non-photographic images JPEG, JPG Screen display, especially the web Online publishing of photographic images PNG Replacement for GIF and, to a lesser extent, JPG and TIF Online publishing of illustrations with many colors and transparency, intermediate image-editing stages for JPG or TIF images PICT Screen display on Macintosh or printing to non-PostScript printer Exchanging graphics between various Macintosh applications. TIFF, TIF Printing to PostScript printers High-resolution printing of images SVG Screen display under Windows or printing to non-PostScript printer Transfer vector images via the clipboard More from Lifewire Graphic File Formats Supported by GIMP Vector vs. Bitmap Graphics: What's the Difference? GIF, JPEG, TIFF: What Image Format Should You Use and When? Desktop Publishing vs. Graphic Design: What's the Difference? 9 Great Programs to Convert Images to Other Formats Why Graphic Designers Need Portfolios and What Goes In Them The 4 Types of Software Used in Desktop Publishing What's Involved in Desktop Publishing? TIF and TIFF Files: What They Are & How to Open and Convert Them Desktop Publishing Changed an Industry What's an NEF File and How Do You Open One? What's an EPS File and How Do You Open One? How to Open PUB Files Without Microsoft Publisher What's a CVX File and How Do You Open One? What's a CDR File and How Do You Open One? What's an SVG File and How Do You Open One?