.DDS File Extension

.DDS File Extension

File Type

DirectDraw Surface Image

Developer Microsoft
4.1  |  357 Votes
Category Raster Image Files
Format Binary

What is a DDS file?

A DDS file is a raster image saved in the DirectDraw Surface (DDS) container format. It can store compressed and uncompressed pixel formats DDS files are often used for texturing video game unit models, but may also be used to store digital photos and Windows desktop backgrounds.

More Information
Screenshot of a .dds file in XnViewMP 0.98
DDS file open in XnViewMP 0.98

The DDS format was developed by Microsoft to be used with the DirectX SDK for the development of real-time rendering applications, particularly 3D games. The format is primarily used to store model textures, mipmap levels, and cubemaps in 3D video games.

DDS was introduced in Microsoft DirectX 7.0 in March 2000, and subsequent versions introduced various improvements. Some of these improvements include support for volume textures in DirectX 8.0, arrays of textures in DirectX 10, new Direct3D texture formats in DirectX 11, and variable rate shading (VRS) in DirectX 12.

Since DDS is a container format, it can store various types of data. However, the format is primarily used to store texture data compressed with an S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) algorithm, which may be referred to as a DXTn texture.

The compression is a lossy compression, which means some quality is lost during the compression. However, the format provides fast load times since most computer video cards natively support the S3TC/DXTn compression method.

How do I open a DDS file?

You can open DDS files with various image editors, including XnViewMP (multiplatform), Windows Texture Viewer (Windows), dotPDN paint.net (Windows), and Apple Preview (included with macOS). You can also view DDS images with GIMP (multiplatform), IrfanView (Windows), and Adobe Photoshop with specific plugins.

You can convert and manipulate DDS images with ImageMagick via its command line interface. For example, to convert a DDS image to a .PNG image, utilize this command:

magick convert [filename].dds [filename].png

Or to convert a PNG file to a DDS file, utilize this command:

magick convert [filename].png [filename].dds

Open and view .DDS files with File Viewer Plus.Free Download

Programs that open or reference DDS files

Updated February 25, 2021

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the DirectDraw Surface Image file format and Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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