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 on October 11, 2019 Logorilla / Getty Images Tweet Share Email Design Graphic Design Photoshop Animation & Video 3D Design 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 Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Get the Latest Tech News Delivered Every Day Email Address Sign up There was an error. Please try again. You're in! Thanks for signing up. There was an error. Please try again. Thank you for signing up. Tell us why! Other Not enough details Hard to understand Submit More from Lifewire 9 Best Free Image Converter Software Programs What Is a DJVU File? What Is an SVG File? 5 Free File Converter Software and Online Services What Is an EPS File? What Is a JPG (JPEG) File? What Is an NEF File? What Is an AI File? What Is Desktop Publishing Software? How to Convert a Picture to PDF Open Source Desktop Publishing What Is an ARW File? What Is a TGA File? What Is a WEBP File? What Is a CDR File? What Are TIF and TIFF Files?