.GIF File Extension

Graphical Interchange Format File

Developer CompuServe
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What is a GIF file?

A GIF file is an image saved in the Graphical Interchange Format (GIF). It may contain up to 256 indexed colors, with a color palette that may be a predefined set of colors or adapted to the colors in the image. GIF files are saved in a lossless format, meaning that the GIF compression does not degrade the image's clarity.

More Information

Screenshot of a .gif file in Microsoft Photos 2021
GIF file open in Microsoft Photos 2021

GIFs are a common format for web graphics, especially small images and images that contain text, such as navigation buttons. However, JPEG (.JPG) images are better for showing photos because they are not as limited in the number of colors they can display.

GIF images can also be animated and saved as "animated GIFs," which are often used to display basic animations on websites. They may also include transparent pixels, allowing them to blend with different color backgrounds. However, pixels in a GIF image must be either fully transparent or fully opaque, so the transparency cannot be faded like a .PNG image.

NOTE: View more information about the GIF format.

How to open a GIF file

You can open a GIF file in a variety of image viewing and editing applications, including Microsoft Photos (Windows), Apple Preview (macOS), Adobe Photoshop (Windows, Mac), and GIMP (cross-platform).

If your GIF file contains an animated GIF, some applications may show the file as a series of still images (which correspond to the animation's frames). For example, Apple Preview shows animated GIFs as a series of images, and Adobe Photoshop shows animated GIFs as a collection of layers.

How to convert a GIF file

Many image viewers and editors, including Microsoft Photos, Apple Preview, and Corel PaintShop Pro, can convert GIF files to other image formats.

For example, Microsoft Photos can convert GIF files to the following formats:

  • .JPG - JPEG Image
  • .PNG - Portable Network Graphic
  • .TIF - Tagged Image File Format
  • .BMP - Bitmap Image
  • .JXR - JPEG XR Image

Programs that open GIF files

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the Graphical Interchange Format file format and Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS 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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