TIFF - Tagged Image File Format

What is a TIFF file

TIFF is a computer file format used for storing raster graphics and images as well as vector images. It can also be used for storing photographs and line art. The TIFF file format has been developed because of the increasing popularity of scanning soft and hardware, and it was even contemplated to turn this file format into the standard format for scanned images. It is a very popular format because it supports color depths from 1 to 24 bit and supports lossy and lossless compression.

The LZW compressed body of a TIFF file as well as it's palette data is defined by different chunks of information. Depending on the first word of the byte order for a TIFF image file, it can either be induced by Intel or Motorola. If the first word is II then it's Intel byte ordering, if it is MM then it's Motorola. At the beginning of every TIFF file there has to be a header. This header serves the purpose of pointing to the directory of image files where all the data and information of the image can be found.

Here's a small, but not exhaustive list of programs that can open TIFF documents:

  • Microsoft Windows Photos (Windows)
  • Microsoft Windows Photo Viewer (Windows)
  • Apple Preview (Mac)
  • CorelDRAW Graphics Suite (Windows)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Windows & Mac)
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements (Windows & Mac)
  • Adobe Illustrator (Windows & Mac)
  • ACD Systems ACDSee (Windows)
  • MacPhun ColorStrokes (Mac)
  • Nuance PaperPort (Windows)
  • Nuance OmniPage Ultimate (Windows)
  • Roxio Toast (Mac)
  • Other image viewers