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File Extension TIF

What is a Tagged Image File?

The TIF file extension identifies bitmap images typically used for converting pictures to computer form. TIF stands for Tagged Image File describing how to store information in blocks commonly known as tags. With tags, a TIF image can span multiple images in a single file with the .tif file extension.

Files with the .tif file extension can be compressed with LZW lossless compression, which means there is no loss of quality due to compression. This type of compression guarantees that these files can be read back exactly the way they were before they were compressed, identically the same without data corruption.

Files with the .tif file extension are designed for raster data interchange. This is because they are highly flexible and supported by almost all image processing applications. They are also the most universally accepted and most widely supported files across all platforms. These files can support most color spaces such as RGB, CMYK, pseudocolor, YCbCr, CIELab, and grayscale.

When used for photo images, files with the .tif file extension are generally large in size. They are about the same size in memory as the image size in bytes. This means a lot of detail and could be an advantage when viewed because the larger the image data is, the bigger is the chance that it can be saved with good quality.

Another useful feature of the file with the .tif file extension is its ability to be decomposed by tiles rather than by scans lines. This allows a much more efficient access to a large imagery when compressed. Theoretically, this file can handle imagery with multiple bands, multiple images per file, data cubes, and arbitrary number of bits per pixel.

Files with the .tif file extension allow flexible set of information fields ranging from the most fundamental to the most luxurious copyright information to the so-called custom tags. They define a framework for the image header, which is the Image File Directory (IFD). IFD is a flexible set of tags that is mostly specified by TIF software writers.

Each file with the .tif file extension starts with the file header that contains a word for byte order indication, followed by a word for version number that is always valued at 42, and ends with an unsigned long offset to the first IFD. It uses 32bit offsets, thus it is limited to 4GB in size.


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