There can be a lot of confusion when speaking about image file formats. Especially for people outside the design world. JPEG may be known to most people, just like PDF, but then you hear acronyms and words like PSD, vector, EPS, PPT and so on, and then you ask yourself What the heck is that and how am I supposed to recognize which format is used for what?
So I created this guideline to help you to differentiate these file formats:
Here goes …
- PowerPoint files are used to create presentations.
- You can input a lot of writing and matching illustrations in a PPT presentation. A presentation can include as little as 1 slide (as the files in PPT are called) or as many as you want. But you don’t want to include too many slides as a presentation serves as a visual and written – well, presentation of your business or product. The slides can be blank, but of course they should be branded with your business design and logo, which is repeated on each slide.
- You can control images and text really well here
- You can convert the PPT file to a .pdf, jpeg, TIFF… the list goes on, there are endless savings options. Businesses usually create presentations on PPT and then send them saved as a PDF so that no changes or even tampering are possible.
- Also great to use for webinars, create a presentation and record your screen
- It is very suitable for creating eBooks as you can design edge to edge designs and convert to a .pdf file, this is an excellent choice for freebies and lead magnets
- You can also create logos in PowerPoint and save them with transparent backgrounds
In Google Docs you can find the equivalent of PowerPoint as well, and they are also called Slides, and this is even better because you can generate a code to embed your presentation in your website, like this
- EPS graphics file format are used in vector-based images in Adobe Illustrator
- EPS format images have a high visual quality
- They are best used for printed materials such as product packaging, large billboards, brochures, flyers, business cards, and even merchandise like t-shirts or coffee mugs
- Used mainly by designers to transfer artwork
- Scalable to any size – think billboard size!
- They are also known as a vector
- They are preferred by printing and signage companies
- This file format is recommended for illustration creation and printing
- They can be opened and edited in graphics software such as Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and CorelDraw
- SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphic, which is based on XML language. It is used to create graphics that unlike raster images like JPGs can be scaled to any size and never lose clarity and preserve the shape and sharpness of the image
- This file type is similar to .eps files
- You can open them in free web-based software like InkScape and then edit them
- Traditionally they are opened and edited with graphics software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign
- Vector files cannot be opened in Canva, Word, PowerPoint
- You can open them in Internet Explorer, but you won’t be able to edit the image
- PSD file is a layered image file used in Adobe PhotoShop
- PSD, which stands for Photoshop Document, is the default format that Photoshop uses for saving data
- PSD is a proprietary file that allows the user to work with the images’ individual layers even after the file has been saved
- PSD files can only be created, opened and edited in Adobe Photoshop
- PNG files have a transparent background which means that the design elements remain and hence you can overlay them on any background
- They are typically used for web graphics
- Fast loading without any quality loss
- PNG is an excellent format choice for exporting logos to have a transparent background, which is great for your website
- Can be imported into Canva, Picmonkey, Word and PowerPoint – In Canva and PicMonkey you can select with or without a transparent background
- They are perfect to be used on social media banners
- For use online and offline (print) and they have lots of colors
- Tagged Image File Format is a computer file format used for storing raster graphics images, and is popular among graphic artists, the publishing industry, and photographers.
- For use for print purposes
- No data or quality is lost when saved
- Not used as often as it used to due to the advancement in technology (see SVG and EPS formats) and since they are very large in size, they lost on popularity
- Used more within the photography industry for professional photographs
- A raw file is a collection of unprocessed data
- This means the file has not been altered, compressed, or manipulated in any way by the computer
- Raw files are often used as data files by software programs that load and process the data, such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
- A popular type of raw file is “Camera RAW,” which is generated by digital cameras
To summarize, there are many different file formats used in the design and photography industry, and hopefully with the help of this guide, you will be able to choose the one that best fits your purposes without experiencing loss of quality, slow loading time due to the file type, and most of all, to avoid disappointment when you choose a format that looks good in digital, and you send it to the printer and then get low quality blurry images back