.PNG File Extension

.PNG File Extension

File Type

Portable Network Graphic

Developer PNG Development Group
4.2  |  1330 Votes
Category Raster Image Files
Format Binary

What is a PNG file?

A PNG file is an image saved in the Portable Network Graphic (PNG) format. It contains a bitmap 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.

More Information
Screenshot of a .png file in Microsoft Windows Photos
PNG file open in Microsoft Windows Photos

The PNG format is widely used, especially on the web, for saving images. It supports indexed (palette-based) 24-bit RGB or 32-bit RGBA (RGB with a fourth alpha channel) color images. The format also supports full-color, non-indexed RGB or RGBA images and grayscale 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 on a computer. Graphics professionals commonly save graphics as PNG files for use on the web. They also use PNG files to save logo or icon mockups with transparent backgrounds that can be placed over other images.

How do I open a PNG file?

You 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, such as Microsoft Photos and Apple Preview.

How do I convert a PNG file?

Many of the image editors that can open PNG files can also convert the images to other formats. If you would like to use a program bundled with Windows, you can use Paint or Paint 3D. If you are a macOS user, you can use Apple Preview. These programs can all convert PNG images to various formats, including JPEG and TIFF.

Why was PNG format created?

PNG was created in 1995 to be a free alternative to the GIF format for transferring images on the web. It improved upon 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.

While the PNG format became more widely used than GIF, PNG is a single-image format, whereas GIF supports multiple images. The GIF format allowed users to save simple animations as GIF files and led to the resurgence of format online. In response to this limitation, the PNG Development Group created the Multiple-image Network Graphics (.MNG) format in 2001 but was not widely adopted like the GIF format.

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.

Common PNG Filenames

Screen Shot YYYY-MM-DD at HH.MM.SS PM.png - The name given to screenshots taken in macOS, where a timestamp is included in the filename.

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Programs that open or reference PNG files

Updated March 20, 2020

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the Portable Network Graphic 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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