How To Software Choosing the Right Graphic File Type for a Publishing Task Choose Graphics File Formats Based On Task Share Pin Email Print Logorilla / Getty Images Software Desktop Publishing Documents Spreadsheets Presentations Graphic Design Databases Animation & Video by Jacci Howard Bear A graphic designer, writer, and artist who writes about and teaches print and web design. Updated June 17, 2019 Graphics come in many flavors 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 your desktop printer, you may be able to use JPG and other formats including CGM and PCX with acceptable results; however, for high-resolution output EPS and TIFF will provide the least hassles and the best quality. They are the standards for high-resolution printing. In addition to the formats in the chart, below, there are proprietary graphics file formats. These are bitmap or vector formats used by specific graphics programs. Although some desktop publishing software will recognize the more common formats such as PSD from Adobe Photoshop (bitmap) or CDR from CorelDRAW (vector) it is generally best to convert these images to TIF or EPS or other common graphics file formats. If you are sending files out for commercial printing, your service provider may not tell you this but it's likely they are charging extra (and adding time to your print job) to convert your graphics to a print-friendly format. Save time and money by using the right format for the job. The simple 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: Screen display under Windows Windows wallpaper EPS Printing to PostScript printers/Imagesetters High-resolution printing of illustrations 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 lots of colors and transparencyIntermediate image-editing stages for JPG or TIF images PICT Screen display on Macintosh or printing to non-PostScript printer TIFF, TIF Printing to PostScript printers High-resolution printing of images Screen display under Windows or printing to non-PostScript printer Transfer vector images via the clipboard Continue Reading GIF, JPEG, TIFF: What Image Format Should You Use and When? How to Open PUB Files Without Microsoft Publisher Graphic File Formats Supported by GIMP 9 Great Programs to Convert Images to Other Formats TIF and TIFF Files: What They Are & How to Open and Convert Them The 4 Types of Software Used in Desktop Publishing What's Involved in Desktop Publishing? How to Change the Location and Format Used for Mac Screenshots Learn How to Save Your Work in GIMP by Exporting It What Is Desktop Publishing Software? Learn the Differences Between Bitmap and Vector Graphics Why Graphic Designers Need Portfolios and What Goes In Them 28 Lessons for Learning Desktop Publishing Learn about using open-source software for desktop publishing from Dan Fink. Best Free Desktop Publishing Software for Mac What's a CVX File and How Do You Open One?