What is TIFF File Format? How to Open TIFF Files ?

👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 Jun 7 2021    📁 Fix    📜 0 comment

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What is TIFF File Format?

TIFF(Tagged Image File Format) is an old image file format developed by Aldus and Microsoft Corporations with initial released in 1986. Later merged with Adobe Systems.It is popular in internet media with .tiff or .tif file extension.It follows lossless file compression which preserved all original details and color of the image.TIFF format is one of the highest quality, stable, well-documented, feature-rich uncompressed formats for saving raster images so it is popularly used in photography and desktop publishing, scanning, faxing, word processing, optical character recognition, Geographic Information systems like GeoTiff.

For several years, TIFF has been the standard file format for many scanners and digital imaging software. As scanners became more powerful and desktop computer storage became larger, TIFF evolved to be able to capture both grayscale and color images. TIFF, along with JPEG and PNG, is the most prevalent format for low-color images today.

TIFF is a flexible and customizable file format that stores all image data in one file, including headers, tags, size specifications, image data layout, image compression, and picture geometry specification.

Actually, the Image is edited by creating various tags, layers, and transparency. If you save those images in a tiff file then when you open it later you can edit each and every layer of the image that we cannot do with jpeg, BMP, and png images.

Raster Images uses a grid of pixels(small rectangular color ), arranged in a grid to form an image.

source: arcgis page

If we zoom out the image, we will see a grid of color as shown above.

Characteristics of TIFF Image Format

  • Supports Lossless Compression
  • Device and processor independent file format

What is the TIFF file Used For?

Actually, beginners and normal people even do not know about the TIFF file. And if they have it in their system then will be nervous to open it thinking it is a virus. In the general world, we are not using TIFF files. We are only working with jpg, png, gif, BMP images. It's popular among artistic people like Photographers, graphics designers, geoengineers, medical experts, Desktop publishers, Scientists, etc.

Printing Media like newspapers, magazines need to print out accurate and high-quality news in large format, without any drop in image quality so they prefer.

Photographers take landscapes images of hills and cities, valleys and store them as tiff files or raw files.

Scientists used it to save scientific images so that all data are preserved wisely. Like good for storing 3-D Time Series as series of Tiffs. It is also used as a master file in Digital Image Processing.

In the medical industry, radiographs are usually saved as .tiffs or DICONDE when acquiring a CT study.

Advantage of TIFF File

Some of the application of the TIFF File is as follows:
1 TIFF supports lossless compression.

2 TIFF format preserves the quality of images without any loss.

3 Major OS supports TIFF format and has inbuilt software to open it.

4 TIFF Files allow MultiPage Document Saving so that if you have multiple page documents then that can be saved into a single .tiff file.

5 TIFF file is device and processor independent file format and can be transferred between devices.

6 TIFF support variable resolution image.

Variable Resolution image has different resolutions for a different portion of images.

7 TIFF is expandable, so new improving specifications can be added without compromising download compatibility.

8 TIFF uses Tags so searching text inside TIFF images is easier. This facility is not provided by JPG, PNG image format.

Disadvantage of TIFF File

1 TIFF file size is big than the general available JPEG, PNG, and WEBP images.

 Here, for a demo, I have taken a small size image generated by MSPaint with tiff and png extension. Comparing those two we found out tiff file of larger size than png file.

fig. Just a simple demonstration showing tiff file has large size than png file for same image content

2 Takes time for transferring TIFF files on slow internet because of the large file size.

3 If you have any TIFF file reader then readers must read all the tags to interpret and assemble the information for processing the image data. So, if a large number of tags are used then reading may take time.

4 Also TIFF files are not used in Web and Websites. Firebox, Chrome cannot open those file correctly and do not open it.

Application Open TIFF Files 

So, Most graphics applications like Photoshop, MSPaint, Adobe InDesign, etc, desktop publishing applications, and word processing applications understand them.

Inbuilt application to Open TIFF Files

Operating System Application
Windows OS Ms. Paint, Microsoft Photos, Microsoft Windows Photo Viewer
Mac OS Apple Preview App, Apple Photos
Linus OS Image Viewer

Application opening .TIFF files in Windows OS.

This application has to be downloaded to Windows OS to open it. Applications are as follows:

Adobe InDesign
Adobe Illustrator
Ms Word
Corel Draw Graphics Suite
File Viewer Plus

Application opening .TIFF files  in MAC OS

This application has to be downloaded in MAC OS to open it. Applications are as follows:

Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Illustrator
MacPhun ColorStrokes

Application opening .TIFF files in Linux OS

This application has to be downloaded in MAC OS to open tiff file extensions. Applications are as follows:

Document Viewer
LibreOffice Draw
LibreOffice Impress

Applications opening .tiff files in Web

Edge Browsers and Safari are able to open the .tiff file. In Chrome and Firefox, Opera these features are dropped.

Applications opening .tiff files in iOS

Apple Photos

Applications opening .tiff files in Android

File Viewer for Android

Applications opening .tiff files in Cloud Storage

Google Drive
One Drive

Opening .tiff file in Windows Viewer

The steps are as follows.

1 Right click on tiff image.

2 Click on Open With

3 Click on 'Windows Photo Viewer'


What is a dip measurement?

Print Media image resolution is measured in dots per inch(DPI). Print media graphics images will be of high-resolution range from around 300 to 1200 dpi and upwards. When these graphics are saved in a tiff file then each and every detail and texture can be captured. If you save this image in png, jpeg format then it can not save each and every detail and layer of images.

Note: 1200 dpi means printed images have a maximum of 1200 tiny dots of ink per inch.

How to send .tiff file over the internet?

If you have a large .tiff file then first of all compress it using Winzip,7-zip, or using any compression software and then send a compressed version of the file.