A PNG file is an image file stored in the Portable Network Graphic (PNG) format. It contains a bitmap of indexed colors and is compressed with lossless compression similar to a .GIF file. PNG files are commonly used to store web graphics, digital photographs, and images with transparent backgrounds.
PNG file open in Microsoft Windows Photos
The PNG format is widely used for saving images. Many types of computer users may encounter PNG files, whether it be downloading an image from a website, receiving a digital photo attached to an email, or taking a screenshot. Graphics professionals may also save web graphics as PNG files or icon mockups with transparent backgrounds as PNG files.
Users can open PNG images with a large number of free and commercial programs, including most image editors, video editors, and web browsers. Windows and macOS also come bundled with programs that support PNG images, which include Microsoft Photos and Apple Preview.
The PNG format was created in 1994 as a response to the limitations of the GIF format, which supported a limited number of colors and included a patent license.
Additionally, while GIF images only support fully opaque or fully transparent pixels, PNG images may include an 8-bit transparency channel, which allows the image colors to fade from opaque to transparent. PNG images cannot be animated like GIF images, but the related .MNG format can be animated.
NOTE: Microsoft Windows can save screenshots as PNG files, along with Mac OS X (macOS) 10.4 and later. Ubuntu Linux also stores print screen screenshots in the PNG format.